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The Crown is the state in all its aspects within the
jurisprudence Jurisprudence, or legal theory, is the theoretical study of the propriety of law. Scholars of jurisprudence seek to explain the nature of law in its most general form and they also seek to achieve a deeper understanding of legal reasoning ...
of the
Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state in the Commonwealth of Nations whose monarch and head of state is shared among the other realms. Each realm functions as an independent state, equal with the other realms and nations of the Commonwealt ...
s and their subdivisions (such as the Crown Dependencies, overseas territories, provinces, or states). Legally ill-defined, the term has different meanings depending on context. It is used to designate the monarch in either a personal capacity, as
Head of the Commonwealth The head of the Commonwealth is the ceremonial leader who symbolises "the free association of independent member nations" of the Commonwealth of Nations, an intergovernmental organisation that currently comprises 56 sovereign states. There ...
, or as the king or queen of their realms (whereas the
monarchy of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy, constitutional form of government by which a hereditary monarchy, hereditary sovereign reigns as the head of state of the United ...
and the
monarchy of Canada The monarchy of Canada is Canada's form of government embodied by the Canadian sovereign and head of state. It is at the core of Canada's constitutional Canadian federalism, federal structure and Westminster system, Westminster-style Parliamentar ...
, for example, are distinct although they are in
personal union A personal union is the combination of two or more states that have the same monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, for life or until abdication ...
). It can also refer to the
rule of law The rule of law is the political philosophy that all citizens and institutions within a country, state, or community are accountable to the same laws, including lawmakers and leaders. The rule of law is defined in the ''Encyclopedia Britannica ...
; however, in common parlance 'The Crown' refers to the functions of
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, executive, and judiciary. Government ...
and the
civil service The civil service is a collective term for a sector of government composed mainly of career civil servants hired on professional merit rather than appointed or elected, whose institutional tenure typically survives transitions of political leaders ...
. Thus, in the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotlan ...
(one of the Commonwealth realms), the
government of the United Kingdom ga, Rialtas a Shoilse gd, Riaghaltas a Mhòrachd , image = HM Government logo.svg , image_size = 220px , image2 = Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg , image_size2 = 180px , caption = Royal coat of arms of t ...
can be distinguished from the Crown and the state, in precise usage, although the distinction is not always relevant in broad or casual usage. A
corporation sole A corporation sole is a Legal person, legal entity consisting of a single ("sole") incorporated office, occupied by a single ("sole") natural person.
, the Crown is the legal embodiment of executive, legislative, and judicial governance in the
monarchy A monarchy is a government#Forms, form of government in which a person, the monarch, is head of state for life or until abdication. The legitimacy (political)#monarchy, political legitimacy and authority of the monarch may vary from restric ...
of each commonwealth realm. These monarchies are united by the
personal union A personal union is the combination of two or more states that have the same monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, for life or until abdication ...
of their
monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, for life or until abdication, and therefore the head of state of a monarchy. A monarch may exercise the highest authority ...
, but they are independent states. The concept of the Crown developed first in
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. It is separa ...
as a separation of the literal crown and property of the kingdom from the person and personal property of the monarch. It spread through English and later British colonisation and is now rooted in the legal lexicon of the United Kingdom, its Crown dependencies, and the other 14 independent realms. It is not to be confused with any physical crown, such as those of the British regalia. The term is also found in various expressions such as "
Crown land Crown land (sometimes spelled crownland), also known as royal domain, is a territorial area belonging to the monarch, who personifies the Crown. It is the equivalent of an Fee tail, entailed Estate (land), estate and passes with the monarchy, be ...
", which some countries refer to as "public land" or "state land"; as well as in some offices, such as
minister of the Crown Minister of the Crown is a formal constitutional term used in Commonwealth realms to describe a Minister (government), minister of the reigning sovereign or viceroy. The term indicates that the minister serves At His Majesty's pleasure, at His ...
, Crown attorney, and Crown prosecutor.


Concept

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, 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. When such lands become owner-less they are said to escheat; i.e., return to direct ownership of the Crown (Crown lands). '' Bona vacantia'' is the royal prerogative by which unowned property, primarily unclaimed inheritances, becomes the property of the Crown. The monarch is the living embodiment of the Crown and, as such, is regarded as the
personification Personification occurs when a thing or abstraction is represented as a person, in literature or art, as a type of anthropomorphism, anthropomorphic metaphor. The type of personification discussed here excludes passing literary effects such as "Sh ...
of the state. The body of the reigning sovereign thus holds two distinct personas in constant coexistence: that of a natural-born human being and that of the state as accorded to him or her through law; the Crown and the monarch are "conceptually divisible but legally indivisible ... e office cannot exist without the office-holder". The terms ''the state'', ''the Crown'', ''the Crown in Right of urisdiction', ''His Majesty the King in Right of urisdiction', and similar are all synonymous and the monarch's
legal personality Legal capacity is a quality denoting either the legal aptitude of a person to have rights and liabilities (in this sense also called transaction capacity), or altogether the personhood itself in regard to an entity other than a natural pers ...
is sometimes referred to simply as the relevant jurisdiction's name. (In countries using systems of government derived from Roman civil law, the State is the equivalent concept to the Crown.) As a consequence, the king or queen is the employer of all government officials and staff (including the viceroys, judges, members of the armed forces, police officers, and parliamentarians), the guardian of foster children ('' Crown wards''), as well as the owner of all state lands (''
Crown land Crown land (sometimes spelled crownland), also known as royal domain, is a territorial area belonging to the monarch, who personifies the Crown. It is the equivalent of an Fee tail, entailed Estate (land), estate and passes with the monarchy, be ...
''), buildings and equipment (''Crown-held property''), state-owned companies ('' Crown corporations''), and the
copyright A copyright is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the exclusive right to copy, distribute, adapt, display, and perform a creative work, usually for a limited time. The creative work may be in a literary, artistic, education ...
for government publications ('' Crown copyright''). This is all in his or her position as sovereign, not as an individual; all such property is held by the Crown in perpetuity and cannot be sold by the sovereign without the proper advice and consent of his or her relevant ministers. The Crown also represents the legal embodiment of executive, legislative, and judicial governance. While the Crown's legal personality is usually regarded as a
corporation sole A corporation sole is a Legal person, legal entity consisting of a single ("sole") incorporated office, occupied by a single ("sole") natural person.
, it can, at least for some purposes, be described as a corporation aggregate headed by the monarch.


Divisibility of the Crown

Historically, the Crown was considered to be indivisible. Two judgments — '' Ex parte Indian Association of Alberta'' ( EWCA, 1982) and '' Ex parte Quark'' (
House of Lords The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers, is the Bicameralism, upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is by Life peer, appointment, Hereditary peer, heredity or Lords Spiritual, official function. Like the ...
, 2005) — challenged that view. Today, the Crown is considered separate in every country, province, state, or territory, regardless of its degree of independence, that has the shared monarch as part of the respective country's government, though limitations on the power of the monarch in right of each territory vary according to relevant laws, thus making the difference between full sovereignty, semi-sovereignty, dependency, etc. The Lords of Appeal wrote: "The Queen is as much the Queen of New South Wales and Mauritius and other territories acknowledging her as head of state as she is of England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland or the United Kingdom."


Commonwealth realms

The Crown in each of the
Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state in the Commonwealth of Nations whose monarch and head of state is shared among the other realms. Each realm functions as an independent state, equal with the other realms and nations of the Commonwealt ...
s 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
lace Lace is a delicate fabric made of yarn or thread (yarn), thread in an open weblike pattern, made by machine or by hand. Generally, lace is divided into two main categories, needlelace and bobbin lace, although there are other types of lace, suc ...
'; for example, 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. The Crown's powers are exercised either by the monarch personally or by his or her representative in each jurisdiction, 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.


New Zealand

In New Zealand, the term "The Crown" is used to mostly mean the authority of government; its meaning changes in different contexts. In the context of people considering Treaty of Waitangi claims, professor of history Alan Ward defines the Crown as "the people of New Zealand – including Maori themselves – acted through elected parliament and government."


Crown Dependencies

In the Bailiwick of Guernsey, legislation refers to ''the Crown in right of the Bailiwick'', and the Law Officers of the Crown of Guernsey submitted that " e 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 Bailiwick of Jersey, statements by the Law Officers of the Crown define the Crown's operation in that jurisdiction 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. The Succession to the Crown (Jersey) Law 2013 defined the Crown, for the purposes of implementing the
Perth Agreement The Perth Agreement was made in Australia in 2011 by the prime ministers of the sixteen states known as Commonwealth realms, which at the time all recognised Elizabeth II as their head of state. The document agreed that the governments of the re ...
in Jersey law, as the ''Crown in right of the Bailiwick of Jersey''. Legislation in the
Isle of Man ) , anthem = "O Land of Our Birth" , image = Isle of Man by Sentinel-2.jpg , image_map = Europe-Isle_of_Man.svg , mapsize = , map_alt = Location of the Isle of Man in Europe , map_caption = Location of the Isle of Man (green) in Europe ...
also defines the Crown in right of the Isle of Man as being separate from the Crown in right of the United Kingdom.


British Overseas Territories

Following the Lords' decision in '' Ex parte Quark'', 2005, it is held that the Queen in exercising her authority over
British Overseas Territories The British Overseas Territories (BOTs), also known as the United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs), are fourteen territories with a constitutional and historical link with the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain ...
does not act on the advice of the government of the UK, but in her role as Queen of each territory, with the exception of fulfilling the UK's international responsibilities for its territories. The reserve powers of the Crown for each territory are no longer considered to be exercisable on the advice of the UK government. To comply with the court's decision, the territorial governors now act on the advice of each territory's executive and the UK government can no longer disallow legislation passed by territorial legislatures.


In the courts

In criminal proceedings, the state is the prosecuting party; the case is usually designated as ''R v efendant', where ''R'' can stand for either ''Rex'' (if the current monarch is male) or ''Regina'' (if the monarch is female) against the
defendant In court proceedings, a defendant is a Legal personality, person or object who is the Party (law), party either accused of committing a crime in Criminal procedure, criminal prosecution or against whom some type of civil relief is being sought in ...
. For example, a criminal case against Smith might be referred to as ''R v Smith'', and verbally read as "the Crown against Smith". On the indictment notice, it may state "The King (or The Queen) - v - ''Defendant''" as well as "R v ''Defendant''" (e.g. ''R v Tarrant'', which also stated ''The Queen v Tarrant'')". The Crown is in general immune to prosecution and civil lawsuits, so "R" is rarely (albeit sometimes) seen on the right hand side of the 'v' in the first instance. To pursue a case against alleged unlawful activity by the government, a case in judicial review is brought by the Crown against a minister on the application of a claimant. The titles of these cases now follow the pattern of "R (on the application of X) v Y", notated as "R (X) v Y" for short. Thus '' R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union'' is ''R (on the application of Miller and other) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union'', where "Miller" is Gina Miller, a citizen. Until the end of the twentieth century, such case titles used the pattern ''R v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, ex parte Miller''. Either form may be abbreviated ''R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union''. In Scotland, criminal prosecutions are undertaken by the Lord Advocate (or the relevant Procurator Fiscal) in the name of the Crown. Accordingly, the abbreviation 'HMA' is used in the High Court of Justiciary for "His/Her Majesty's Advocate" in place of ''Rex'' or ''Regina'', as in '' HMA v Al Megrahi and Fahima''. In Australia, each state uses ''R'' in the title of criminal cases and ''The King'' (or ''The Queen'') in criminal appeal cases (i.e., the case name at trial would be ''R v Smith''; if appealed, the case name would be ''Smith v The King''). Judges usually refer to the prosecuting party as simply "the prosecution" in the text of judgments (only rarely is ''The Crown'' used in the text, and never ''R''). In civil cases where the Crown is a party, it is a customary to list the appropriate government Minister as the party instead. When a case is announced in court, the Clerk or Bailiff refers to the crown orally as "Our Sovereign Lord the King" (or "Our Sovereign Lady the Queen"). In
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island () and the South Island ()—and over 700 List of islands of New Zealand, smaller islands. It is the ...
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 Sovereignty is the defining authority within individual consciousness, Social constructionism, social construct, or territory. Sovereignty entails hierarchy within the state, as well as external autonomy for states. In any state, sovereignty i ...
as the injured party is analogous with criminal cases in several countries: * The United States, where state criminal cases use the format of "the People", "the State" or 'the Commonwealth v. efendant (e.g., '' Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Brady'', ''State of Wisconsin v. Kyle Rittenhouse,'' or more famously '' The People of the State of California v. Orenthal James Simpson'') under the doctrine of popular sovereignty, and federal criminal cases use the format of "United States v. efendant, as in '' United States v. Nixon''. * The Philippines, due to the American colonial period in the Philippines. Court cases there also follow this format (e.g. '' People of the Philippines v. Rappler, et al.''). * India, where state criminal cases use the format of "The State of tatevs. efendant. 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, such as the enforcement of judgments against the Crown. '' Qui tam'' lawsuits on behalf of the Crown were once common but have been unusual since the Common Informers Act 1951 ended the practice of allowing such suits by common informers.


Crown forces

The term ''crown forces'' has been applied by militant Irish republicans to British-authorised security forces on the island of
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean, in Northwestern Europe, north-western Europe. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Grea ...
, including the
British Armed Forces The British Armed Forces, also known as His Majesty's Armed Forces, are the military, military forces responsible for the defence of the United Kingdom, its British Overseas Territories, Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies. They al ...
and armed police such as the Royal Ulster Constabulary, which are seen as enemy combatants or an occupation force. Irish nationalists may apply ''crown forces'' to earlier forces raised by the
Dublin Castle administration Dublin (; , or ) is the capital and largest city of Republic of Ireland, Ireland. On a bay at the mouth of the River Liffey, it is in the Provinces of Ireland, province of Leinster, bordered on the south by the Dublin Mountains, a part of th ...
at intervals since the Tudor conquest of Ireland to suppress various Irish uprisings.


See also

* Crown copyright * Crown corporation * Crown Court * Crown Estate *
Crown land Crown land (sometimes spelled crownland), also known as royal domain, is a territorial area belonging to the monarch, who personifies the Crown. It is the equivalent of an Fee tail, entailed Estate (land), estate and passes with the monarchy, be ...
*
Crown of the Kingdom of Poland The Crown of the Kingdom of Poland ( pl, Korona Królestwa Polskiego; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in ...
*
Lands of the Bohemian Crown The Lands of the Bohemian Crown were a number of incorporated states in Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between Western Europe and Eastern Europe, based on a common History, historical, Society, social and cultural identity ...
* Lands of the Crown of Saint Stephen *
Royal prerogative The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege and immunity, recognized in common law and, sometimes, in Civil law (legal system), civil law jurisdictions possessing a monarchy, as belonging to the monarch, sovereign and whic ...
* List of current viceregal representatives of The Crown


Notes


Further reading

*


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Crown (Commonwealth Realms) British Overseas Territories Commonwealth of Nations Commonwealth realms Common law Monarchy Legal fictions