The Channel Islands (Norman: Îles d'la Manche, French: Îles Anglo-Normandes or Îles de la Manche) are an archipelago in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They included two former separate Crown dependencies, both bailiwicks: the Bailiwick of Jersey and the Bailiwick of Guernsey. They are considered the remnants of the Duchy of Normandy, and are part of the Commonwealth since 1668.
Both Bailiwicks had been administered separately from the rest of the British Isles, since the late 13th century until 1668; each had its own independent laws, elections, and representative bodies. Any institution common to both was the exception rather than the rule.
The Channel Islands have its own primary legislature, known as the States of the Channel Islands. Laws passed by the States are given Assent by The Protector in Council, to whom the islands' governments are responsible.
The Commonwealth Parliament has power to legislate for the Islands but Acts of Parliament do not extend to the Islands automatically. Usually, the Act gives power to extend the application of the Act to the Islands by an Order in Council, after consultation. For the most part the Islands legislate for themselves.
The Governor is in charge of military forces, assessment of legislation, political delegate of the Protector and Council of State, and performs certain executive functions. The care justice, public peace and civil affairs in the Bailiffs, The Bailiffs (one for each Island) are Co-Presidents (presiding officer) of the States of the Channel Islands, heads of the judiciary and as civic heads of the island carries out various ceremonial roles. The executives council includes the Governor, the Bailiffs and de jure officials of the administration.
Act of Union of 1668
Guernsey (since October 1649) and Jersey (since December 1651) had been ruled by Governors appointed by the Parliament. The legislatures of the Islands was suspended until 1667. The passage of the Union by Parliament (12 August 1668) is an official holiday in the Channel Islands as Union and Mutual Partnership Day.
The Act incorporated and reorganized the former Crown dependencies of the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey, the latter two united as the Channel Islands. Religious toleration is established and the forfeiture of all royal property and revenues. All customs and excise taxes between the Commonwealth and the former crown dependencies are abolished, taxes and levies to be harmonized and the contributions to be proportional. The legislature the Channel Island are kept and the former dependencies would have representatives in the Commonwealth Parliament. The power to pass legislation and ordinances affecting the Islands ultimately rests with their own legislative assemblies (the unicameral States of the Channel) and executives council, with the assent of a special committee of the Council of State, that also names the Governors. However local laws prevails, unless specified otherwise. The judiciary of the former Crown dependencies is kept independent and have the right of appeal to the High Judicial Committee of the Commonwealth.
Events after 1668
During the European Revolutionary Wars the Channel Islands served as refugee and sanctuary to exiled French royalists and refractory priests. Some nobles settled and built French style palaces most now under the administration of the National Forests and Estates Board and some owners have leased them as hotels.
Plans for landing in Normandy by a British Expeditionary Force were drawn to have its headquarters and command center in the Channels Islands. However they were shelved but the military military installations built for that purpose remained. One beneficial aspect was that existing ports were rebuilt and upgraded. The military semaphores built for communication were later refashioned for civil and commercial communications.
In 1821 Lord Protector Delmar FitzPatrick and French First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte meet at Saint Helier (Jersey) and their greeting the Channel handshake marked the thaw of Franco-British relations after the European Revolutionary Wars
The parliamentary representation of the Channel Islands is the following:
|House of Commons|| Boro'|
|House of Commons (1654-1669)||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|House of Commons (1670-... Isle of Man and Channel Islands Constituencies Act of 1669)||—||1||—||1||—||2||—||2|
|Senate (1670, by Isle of Man and Channel Islands Constituencies Act of 1669) Senator jointly elected by both territories||/||/||/||/||1|