The Isle of Man

The Isle of Man

The Isle of Man is a self governing Crown Dependency in the Irish Sea, meaning that we do not belong to the United Kingdom or the European Union. Equidistant from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the Isle of Man is 33 miles long, 13 miles wide, covers 227 square miles and has a population of approximately 85,000. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, holding the title of Lord of Mann. She is represented by the Lieutenant Governor.

The law in the Isle of Man

As a self governing kingdom, the Isle of Man has its own parliament called Tynwald. Tynwald is of Norse origins as in the 9th century, Norsemen established the Kingdom of the Isles which included the Isle of Man. Magnus III, King of Norway, was also known as King of Mann and the Isles between 1099 and 1103. Tynwald, established in 979 AD (or earlier – the precise date is unclear as the first record of Tynwald is much later), is over 1,000 years old making it the oldest parliament in the world with unbroken existence. It is a tricameral parliament as it is split into two chambers, the directly elected House of Keys and the indirectly elected Legislative Council. Both chambers meet in one combined sitting once a month, which is known as Tynwald Court. They also meet once a year at Tynwald Hill in St John’s on 5 July. 5 July is Tynwald Day and a Manx national holiday.

Lawyers on the Isle of Man are called advocates and they are the equivalent of both solicitor and barrister in England and Wales as they undertake both functions. Judges are called Deemsters (a Viking word). The Isle of Man has several courts. The main criminal courts are the Court of General Goal, similar to the Crown Court in England, and the Summary Court, similar to the Magistrates. There are also a range of civil courts. In all but the most exceptional cases, you will be expected to either represent yourself in court or instruct an advocate to act on your behalf.