45°F / 7°C
Time: 8:49am BST
Sunset in 12¾ hours
Current Weather >>
You are here: Isle of Man > Information
The Isle of Man is not part of the United Kingdom. It is a crown dependency which has its own laws, courts, and government. The Government on the Isle of Man is a parliament called Tynwald. Tynwald is over a 1000 years old and believed to be the oldest continual parliament in the world. Started in Viking times, Tynwald was an open air meeting at midsummer. There islanders could come and hear the laws, seek justice, or speak their thoughts. This tradition continued throughout the viking rule, which lasted from 800 AD to 1266 AD, then passed on through Scottish rule, before ending up in British rule around 1405 AD. The island's first English King was Sir John Stanley of Lancashire. In the 16th century the title King was replaced by Lord and in 1765 the title Lord of Man was passed to the British Crown and hence it has been.
The Lieutenant Governor is the British Crown representative on the Isle of Man. The Governor is technically the executive head of the government, but in recent years this role has taken the form of vice-regal since most of his duties are now undertaken by Tynwald Government Departments or the Council of Ministers.
There are two branches to the Tynwald Parliament, the House of Keys and the Legislative Council. The House of Keys is the lower branch and is made up of 24 publicly elected members (every 5 years). The Legislative Council is the upper branch and contains the President of Tynwald, Attorney General, Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man, 3 ex officio, and 8 members elected by the House of Keys. Separately these branches will consider bills, which can be passed into law with a majority vote from each branch. When these two branches meet together in the Tynwald Chamber, they form the Tynwald Court. This court decides important things like government administration and funding. When Tynwald normally meets the President of Tynwald presides, keeping order throughout the sitting. The House of Keys elect a Speaker who will keep order at in house meetings and voice their views at Tynwald sittings.
Tynwald often takes the laws passed in the UK to be considered for the island. Not all the laws passed in the UK are relevant to the Isle of Man. This is why consideration is required, to work out what is best for the needs of the Island. One notable difference in the law between the UK and the Isle of Man is that you only need to be 16 to drive or vote. In recent years the UK has followed the island's lead in introducing 24 hour licensing and increasing the age to buy cigarettes from 16 to 18.
Related News Articles