The Crown is a corporation sole that in the Commonwealth realms and any provincial or state sub-divisions thereof represents the legal embodiment of governance, whether executive, legislative, or judicial. It evolved first in the United Kingdom as a separation of the literal crown and property of the nation state from the person and personal property of the monarch, a concept which then spread via British colonisation and is now rooted in the legal lexicon of the other 15 independent realms. In this context it should not be confused with any physical crown, such as those of the British state regalia.
The concept of the Crown took form under the feudal system. Though not used this way in all countries that had this system, in England and (separately) Scotland, all rights and privileges were ultimately bestowed by the ruler. Land, for instance, was granted by the Crown to lords in exchange for feudal services and they, in turn, granted the land to lesser lords. One exception to this was common socage — owners of land held as socage held it subject only to the Crown. The Crown as ultimate owner of all property also owns any property which has become bona vacantia.
The Crown in each of the Commonwealth realms is a similar but separate legal concept. To distinguish the institution's role in one jurisdiction from its place in another, Commonwealth law employs the expression "the Crown in Right of [place]": e.g., the Crown in Right of the United Kingdom, the Crown in Right of Canada, the Crown in Right of the Commonwealth of Australia, etc. Because both Canada and Australia are federations, there are also Crowns in right of each Canadian province and each Australian state; for example, there is the Crown in Right of the Province of British Columbia and "Crown in Right of Western Australia".
The Crown's powers are exercised — whether by the monarch or by any of his or her representatives — on the advice of the appropriate local ministers, legislature, or judges, none of which may advise the Crown on any matter pertinent to another of the Crown's jurisdictions.
British Crown Dependencies
The Crown has a relationship with each of the Crown Dependencies, defined differently in each Crown Dependency.
In Jersey, statements in the 21st century of the constitutional position by the Law Officers of the Crown define it as the "Crown in right of Jersey", with all Crown land in the Bailiwick of Jersey belonging to the Crown in right of Jersey and not to the Crown Estate of the United Kingdom.
In Guernsey, legislation refers to the "Crown in right of the Bailiwick", and the Law Officers of the Crown of Guernsey submitted that "The Crown in this context ordinarily means the Crown in right of the république of the Bailiwick of Guernsey" and that this comprises "the collective governmental and civic institutions, established by and under the authority of the Monarch, for the governance of these Islands, including the States of Guernsey and legislatures in the other Islands, the Royal Court and other courts, the Lieutenant Governor, Parish authorities, and the Crown acting in and through the Privy Council." This constitutional concept is also worded as the "Crown in right of the Bailiwick of Guernsey".
In the courts
In criminal proceedings, the prosecuting party is the Crown; generally speaking, this is indicated by having Rex (for a male monarch) or Regina (for a female one) versus the defendant as the standard for naming criminal trials, typically abbreviated R, for example a criminal case against Smith might be R v. Smith, read "the Crown against Smith". In Australia particularly, on official transcripts of criminal trials the heading page reads [defendant] v. The Queen. In New Zealand court reporting, news reports will refer to the prosecuting lawyer (often called a Crown prosecutor, as in Canada and the United Kingdom) as representing the Crown, usages such as "For the Crown, Joe Bloggs argued..." being common.
This practice of using the seat of sovereignty as the injured party is analogous with criminal cases in the United States, where the format is "the People" or "the State v. [defendant]" (e.g. People of the State of New York v. LaValle) under the doctrine of popular sovereignty. In Federal criminal cases, it is "United States v. [defendant]," as in United States v. Nixon.
The Crown can also be a plaintiff or defendant in civil actions to which the government of the Commonwealth realm in question is a party. Such Crown proceedings are often subject to specific rules and limitations, for example about the way judgments against the Crown can be enforced.
- Crown land
- Crown copyright
- Crown corporation
- Crown Estate
- Royal Prerogative
- Imperial Crown > legal usage
- ^ Lauterpacht, E.; Greenwood, C. J. (1992). International Law Reports. 87. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 286, 713. ISBN 9780949009999. http://books.google.ca/books?id=cyEP1rc4P3UC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_v2_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false.
- ^ Royal Institute of International Affairs; British Institute of International Affairs (1983). The British year book of international law. 53. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 253, 257, 258. http://books.google.ca/books?id=yFgzAAAAIAAJ&q=%22crown+in+right+of+the+united+kingdom%22&dq=%22crown+in+right+of+the+united+kingdom%22&cd=2.
- ^ Bourne, C. B. (1986). Canadian Yearbook of International Law. 23. Vancouver: UBC Press. p. 58. ISBN 9780774802598. http://books.google.ca/books?id=KIoTqgSdDTwC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_navlinks_s#v=onepage&q&f=false.
- ^ The Australian law journal. 52. North Ryde: Law Book Co. of Australasia Ltd.. 1978. pp. 203, 207. 3910867. http://books.google.ca/books?id=KLYtAQAAIAAJ&q=%22crown+in+right+of+the+united+kingdom%22&dq=%22crown+in+right+of+the+united+kingdom%22&cd=6.
- ^ Angarrack, John (2009). "Parliamentary Questions: Absolute owner of land". The Dutchy of Cornwall. http://www.duchyofcornwall.eu/latest/?page_id=130. Retrieved 11 June 2010.
- ^ Ministry of Natural Resources (24 January 2006), Disposition of Public Land to Other Governments and Agencies, Toronto: Queen's Printer for Ontario, p. 2, http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/mnr_e000096.pdf, retrieved 25 April 2010, "When public land is required by the federal government or one of its departments, or any provincial ministry, the land itself is not transferred. What is transferred is the responsibility to manage the lands on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen (HMQ). This is accomplished by an Order-in-Council or a Minister's Order that transfers management of land either from HMQ in right of Ontario to HMQ in right of Canada as represented by a department or to HMQ in right of Ontario as represented by another ministry. The Crown does not transfer ownership to itself." [dead link]
- ^ "Review of the Roles of the Crown Officers". http://www5.gov.je/SiteCollectionDocuments/Government%20and%20administration/R%20Attorney%20General%20Transcript%2020100702%20WM.pdf. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
- ^ "WRITTEN QUESTION TO H.M. ATTORNEY GENERAL". http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/documents/questions/23532-33785-2262010.htm. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
- ^ "The Air Navigation (Isle of Man) Order 2007 (No. 1115)". http://www.statutelaw.gov.uk/content.aspx?LegType=All+Legislation&PageNumber=1&NavFrom=3&parentActiveTextDocId=3312343&ActiveTextDocId=3312364&filesize=13636. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
- ^ "The Unregistered Design Rights (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Ordinance, 2005". http://www.guernseylegalresources.gg/ccm/legal-resources/ordinances/intellectual-property/unregistered-design-rights-bailiwick-of-guernsey-ordinance-2005.en. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
- ^ "Review of the Roles of the Jersey Crown officers". http://www.gov.je/SiteCollectionDocuments/Government%20and%20administration/R%20Guernsey%20LOs%20Submission%2020100330%20HR%20v1.pdf. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
- ^ "It’s a power thing…". Guernsey Press. 21 June 2010. http://www.thisisguernsey.com/2010/06/21/its-a-power-thing/. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
- ^ "Review of the Roles of the Jersey Crown officers". http://www.guernsey-press.com/pdf/JsyCrownOfficers.pdf. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
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