The Channel Islands

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The Channel Islands are a group of small islands which are situated in the English Channel. As you can see on the map, they are much closer to France than to England.

They consist of two separate Bailiwicks, the Bailiwick of Jersey and the Bailiwick of Guernsey. The latter consists of Guernsey, Herm, Jethou, Alderney and Sark. There are no formal links between the two Bailiwicks.

Before the Norman Conquest the Channel Islands were part of the Duchy of Normandy, but when continental Normandy was freed from English rule in 1204 the Islands retained their allegiance to the English Crown.

Afterwards successive English monarchs have ruled the Islands through their claim to the title of the Duke of Normandy, and they have observed the established laws, customs and liberties. The latter have been confirmed through Royal Charters which have secured the independence of the Islands?

judicial systems from the English courts, and have granted important privileges, including the right to tariff free trade with England and freedom from English taxes. The Islands have never been involved with, or subjected to the administrative systems of the Government of the United Kingdom.

Constitutionally, the Channel Islands are dependencies of the Crown, owing allegiance to the Sovereign, but without incorporation into the United Kingdom.

Effectively, they are self-governing in internal matters, but the United Kingdom Government is responsible for defence, overseas representation and international affairs generally.

So once again, the Channel Islands have their own government, their own systems of local administration, their own fiscal and legal systems and their own courts of law. They are neither part of the United Kingdom nor colonies. They just have allegiance to the British Crown.

They are not represented in the United Kingdom Parliament, whose Acts extend to the Channel Islands only if those expressly agree that they should do so. By convention, Parliament does not legislate for the Islands without their consents in matters of taxation or issues of local concern.

As to taxation, the Channel Islands are politically and fiscally secure low tax areas and therefore lots of banks and firms come there.

RELATIONSHIP WITH THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES: At the time of the accession of the United Kingdom to the Treaty of Rome special terms applying to the Islands were defined. Under these terms the Islands are included within the European Communities for the purpose of free movement of manufactured and agricultural goods. Yet, they are neither separate Member States nor Associate Members of the European Communities.

For the provisions of the EC Treaty relating to free trade in goods, the Islands and the United Kingdom are treated as one Member State.

Other provisions of the Treaty of Rome, including those relating to the free movement of Community citizens, capital movements, and the harmonisation of taxation and social policies, are not applicable ...

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