Crown land

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Crown land (sometimes spelled crownland), also known as royal domain or demesne , is a territorial area belonging to the monarch, who personifies the Crown. It is the equivalent of an entailed estate and passes with the monarchy, being inseparable from it. Today, in Commonwealth realms such as Canada and Australia, crown land is considered public land and is apart from the monarch's private estate.

Demesne Type of property

In the feudal system, the demesne was all the land which was retained by a lord of the manor for his own use and occupation or support, under his own management, as distinguished from land sub-enfeoffed by him to others as sub-tenants. In England, royal demesne is the land held by the Crown, and ancient demesne is the legal term for the land held by the king at the time of the Domesday Book.

The Crown is the state in all its aspects within the jurisprudence of the Commonwealth realms and their sub-divisions. 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, or as the king or queen of his or her realms. It can also refer to the rule of law; however, in common parlance 'The Crown' refers to the functions of government and the civil service.

In English common law, fee tail or entail is a form of trust established by deed or settlement which restricts the sale or inheritance of an estate in real property and prevents the property from being sold, devised by will, or otherwise alienated by the tenant-in-possession, and instead causes it to pass automatically by operation of law to an heir determined by the settlement deed. The term fee tail is from Medieval Latin feodum talliatum, which means "cut(-short) fee" and is in contrast to "fee simple" where no such restriction exists and where the possessor has an absolute title in the property which he can bequeath or otherwise dispose of as he wishes. Equivalent legal concepts exist or formerly existed in many other European countries and elsewhere.

Contents

In Britain, the hereditary revenues of Crown lands provided income for the monarch until the start of the reign of George III, when the profits from the Crown Estate were surrendered to the Parliament of Great Britain in return for a fixed civil list payment. The monarch retains the income from the Duchy of Lancaster.

George III of the United Kingdom King of Great Britain and Ireland

George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of the two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death in 1820. He was concurrently Duke and prince-elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg ("Hanover") in the Holy Roman Empire before becoming King of Hanover on 12 October 1814. He was the third British monarch of the House of Hanover, but unlike his two predecessors, he was born in Great Britain, spoke English as his first language, and never visited Hanover.

Crown Estate statutory corporation; property portfolio owned by the Crown

The Crown Estate is a collection of lands and holdings in the United Kingdom belonging to the British monarch as a corporation sole, making it the "Sovereign's public estate", which is neither government property nor part of the monarch's private estate. As a result of this arrangement, the sovereign is not involved with the management or administration of the estate, and exercises only very limited control of its affairs. Instead, the estate's extensive portfolio is overseen by a semi-independent, incorporated public body headed by the Crown Estate Commissioners, who exercise "the powers of ownership" of the estate, although they are not "owners in their own right". The revenues from these hereditary possessions have been placed by the monarch at the disposition of Her Majesty's Government in exchange for relief from the responsibility to fund the Civil Government. These revenues thus proceed directly to Her Majesty's Treasury, for the benefit of the British nation. The Crown Estate is formally accountable to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, where it is legally mandated to make an annual report to the sovereign, a copy of which is forwarded to the House of Commons.

Parliament of Great Britain parliament from 1714 to 1800

The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union by both the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland. The Acts created a new unified Kingdom of Great Britain and dissolved the separate English and Scottish parliaments in favour of a single parliament, located in the former home of the English parliament in the Palace of Westminster, near the City of London. This lasted nearly a century, until the Acts of Union 1800 merged the separate British and Irish Parliaments into a single Parliament of the United Kingdom with effect from 1 January 1801.

Australia

In Australia, public lands are referred to as Crown land, which is described as being held in the 'right of the Crown' of either an individual State or the Commonwealth of Australia; there is not a single 'Crown' (as a legal governmental entity) in Australia (see The Crown). Most Crown lands in Australia are held by the Crown in the right of a State. The only Crown land held by the Commonwealth consists of land in the Northern Territory (surrendered by South Australia), the Australian Capital Territory, Jervis Bay Territory, and small areas acquired for airports, defence and other government purposes.

Each jurisdiction has its own policies towards the sale and use of Crown lands within the State. For example, New South Wales, where over half of all land is Crown land, [1] passed a controversial reform in 2005 requiring Crown lands to be rated at market value. [2] Crown lands include land set aside for nature conservation and various government or public purposes, as well as vacant land. Crown lands comprise around 23% of Australian land, of which the largest single category is vacant land, comprising 12.5% of the land. [3]

New South Wales State of Australia

New South Wales is a state on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Tasman Sea to the east. The Australian Capital Territory is an enclave within the state. New South Wales' state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia's most populous city. In March 2018, the population of New South Wales was over 7.9 million, making it Australia's most populous state. Just under two-thirds of the state's population, 5.1 million, live in the Greater Sydney area. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.

Habitat conservation

Habitat conservation is a management practice that seeks to conserve, protect and restore habitat areas for wild plants and animals, especially conservation reliant species, and prevent their extinction, fragmentation or reduction in range. It is a priority of many groups that cannot be easily characterized in terms of any one ideology.

Crown land is used for such things as airports, military grounds (Commonwealth) and public utilities (usually State).

In Tasmania, Crown land is managed under the Crown Lands Act 1976. In South Australia, the relevant Act is the Crown Land Management Act 2009. In Victoria, [4] it is the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978 and the Land Act 1958.

Tasmania island state of Australia

Tasmania is an island state of Australia. It is located 240 km (150 mi) to the south of the Australian mainland, separated by Bass Strait. The state encompasses the main island of Tasmania, the 26th-largest island in the world, and the surrounding 334 islands. The state has a population of around 526,700 as of March 2018. Just over forty percent of the population resides in the Greater Hobart precinct, which forms the metropolitan area of the state capital and largest city, Hobart.

South Australia State of Australia

South Australia is a state in the southern central part of Australia. It covers some of the most arid parts of the country. With a total land area of 983,482 square kilometres (379,725 sq mi), it is the fourth-largest of Australia's states and territories by area, and fifth largest by population. It has a total of 1.7 million people, and its population is the second most highly centralised in Australia, after Western Australia, with more than 77 percent of South Australians living in the capital, Adelaide, or its environs. Other population centres in the state are relatively small; Mount Gambier, the second largest centre, has a population of 28,684.

Victoria (Australia) State in Australia

Victoria is a state in south-eastern Australia. Victoria is Australia's smallest mainland state and its second-most populous state overall, thus making it the most densely populated state overall. Most of its population lives concentrated in the area surrounding Port Phillip Bay, which includes the metropolitan area of its state capital and largest city, Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city. Victoria is bordered by Bass Strait and Tasmania to the south, New South Wales to the north, the Tasman Sea to the east, and South Australia to the west.

Austria

From the late 18th century onwards, the territories acquired by the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy were called crown lands (German : Kronländer). Initially ruled in personal union by the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, they played a vital role as constituent lands of the Habsburg nation-building and were ultimately reorganised as administrative divisions of the centralised Austrian Empire established in 1804. During the restoration period after the Revolutions of 1848, the Austrian crown lands were ruled by Statthalter governors directly subordinate to the Emperor according to the 1849 March Constitution.

Habsburg Monarchy former Central European empire (1526–1804)

The Habsburg Monarchy – also Habsburg Empire, Austrian Monarchy or Danube Monarchy – is an unofficial umbrella term among historians for the countries and provinces that were ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg between 1526 and 1780 and then by the successor branch of Habsburg-Lorraine until 1918. The Monarchy was a typical composite state composed of territories within and outside the Holy Roman Empire, united only in the person of the monarch. The dynastic capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague. From 1804 to 1867 the Habsburg Monarchy was formally unified as the Austrian Empire, and from 1867 to 1918 as the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

A personal union is the combination of two or more states that have the same monarch while their boundaries, laws, and interests remain distinct. A real union, by contrast, would involve the constituent states being to some extent interlinked, such as by sharing some limited governmental institutions. In a federation and a unitary state, a central (federal) government spanning all member states exists, with the degree of self-governance distinguishing the two. The ruler in a personal union does not need to be a hereditary monarch.

By the 1861 February Patent, proclaimed by Emperor Franz Joseph I, the Austrian crown lands received a certain autonomy. The traditional Landstände (estates) assemblies were elevated to Landtage legislatures, partly elected according to the principle of census suffrage.

After the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, the Kingdom of Hungary (with the Principality of Transylvania), the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia and Fiume became constituent parts of the Lands of the Crown of Saint Stephen (Transleithania); ruled in real union with the remaining Austrian crown lands (officially: "The Kingdoms and Lands represented in the Imperial Council") of Cisleithania until the disintegration of the dual monarchy in 1918.

Bohemia

The medieval European state of the Crown of Bohemia, which was an electorate of the Holy Roman Empire, consisted of crown lands: Kingdom of Bohemia, Margraviate of Moravia, Duchies of Silesia, Upper and Lower Lusatia.

Barbados

In Barbados, the term crown land, extends to all land that is under the control or ownership of The Crown (a.k.a. the Government). [5] This can pertain to land seized by the government, (either through eminent domain or due to criminal activity), or toward lands with backed taxes. The term Crown lands has been used in relation to government owned farms, beaches, and other land areas also maintained by the National Housing Corporation. [6] The Government does not allow private ownership of Barbados' 97 km of coastal beaches in the country, and all areas below the high-tide watermark in the country are considered specifically as "Crown land".

Canada

Within Canada, Crown Land is a designated territorial area belonging to the Canadian Crown. [7] [8] Though the monarch owns all Crown Land in the country, it is divided in parallel with the "division" of the Crown among the federal and provincial jurisdictions, so that some lands within the provinces are administered by the relevant provincial Crown, whereas others are under the federal Crown. About 89% of Canada's land area (8,886,356 km²) is Crown Land: 41% is federal crown land and 48% is provincial crown land. The remaining 11% is privately owned. [9] Most federal Crown Land is in the territories (Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon) and is administered by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. Only 4% of land in the provinces is federally controlled, largely in the form of National Parks, Indian reserves, or Canadian Forces bases. In contrast, provinces hold much of their territory as provincial Crown Land, which may be held as Provincial Parks or wilderness.

Crown Land is the equivalent of an entailed estate that passes with the monarchy and cannot be alienated from it; thus, per constitutional convention, these lands cannot be unilaterally sold by the monarch, instead passing on to the next king or queen unless the sovereign is advised otherwise by the relevant ministers of the Crown. Crown Land provides the country and the provinces with the majority of their profits from natural resources, largely but not exclusively provincial, rented for logging and mineral exploration rights; revenues flow to the relevant government and may constitute a major income stream, such as in Alberta. Crown Land may also be rented by individuals wishing to build homes or cottages.

Alberta

In the province of Alberta, Crown Land, also called public land, [8] is territory registered in the name of "Her Majesty the Queen in right of Alberta as Represented by [specific Minister of the Crown]" and remains under the administration of the mentioned minister until the land is sold or transferred via legislation, [10] such as an Order in Council. [11] Crown Land is governed by the Public Lands Act, originally passed as the Provincial Lands Act in 1931 and renamed in 1949. [8]

British Columbia

94% of the land in British Columbia is provincial Crown Land, 2% of which is covered by fresh water. Federal Crown Land make up a further 1% of the province, including Indian reserves, defence lands and federal harbours, while 5% is privately owned. The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations issues Crown Land tenures and sells Crown Land on behalf of the Crown in Right of British Columbia. [12]

Newfoundland and Labrador

95% of Newfoundland and Labrador is provincial Crown Land. [9]

New Brunswick

Currently, 48% of New Brunswick's territory is Crown Land, [13] used for such things as for conservation projects, resource exploitation, and recreation activities. However, through treaties between First Nations and the Crown in Right of Canada, the provincial Crown grants or denies long term use of Crown Lands by aboriginals, as per the treaties.

Nova Scotia

As of October 2013, of the 5.3 million hectares of land in Nova Scotia, approximately 1.53 million hectares (3.8 million acres or about 29% of the province) is designated as Crown land. [14] Crown land is owned by the Province and managed by the Department of Natural Resources on behalf of the citizens of Nova Scotia. It is a collective asset which belongs to all Nova Scotians. [14] Many acres of Crown land are licensed for a variety of economic purposes to help build and maintain the prosperity of the Province. These purposes range from licenses and leases for cranberry bogs, forestry operations, peat bogs, power lines, wind energy, to broadband towers, and tidal energy. In addition, most of the submerged lands (the sea bed) along the Province's 9,000 km of coastline are also considered Crown land. Exceptions would include federally and privately owned waterlots. The Province owns other land across Nova Scotia, including wilderness areas, protected areas, highways, roads, and provincial buildings. These parcels and structures are managed and administered by other departments and are not considered Crown land. [14]

Manitoba

By the Crown Lands Act, [15] the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council alone has the ability to augment or disperse Crown Land and to determine the price of any Crown Land being bought or leased. Crown Land is used for varying purposes, including agriculture, wind farming, [16] [17] and cottages, while other areas are set aside for research, environmental protection, public recreation, and resource management. [17] Approximately 95% of the province's forests sit within provincial Crown Land. [18]

Québec

More than 92% of Québec's territory is Crown land. This heritage and the natural resources that it contains are developed to contribute to the socioeconomic development of all regions of Québec. Public land is used for a variety of purposes: forestry, mineral, energy, and wildlife resources; developing natural spaces, including parks for recreation and conservation, ecological preserves, and wildlife refuges and habitats; developing infrastructure for industrial and public utilities purposes as well as for leisure and vacation purposes. [19]

France

The crown lands, crown estate, royal domain or (in French) domaine royal of France refers to the lands and fiefs directly possessed by the kings of France. Before the reign of Henry IV, the domaine royal did not encompass the entirety of the territory of the kingdom of France and for much of the Middle Ages significant portions of the kingdom were direct possessions of other feudal lords.

In the 10th and 11th centuries, the first Capetians—while being rulers of France—were among the least powerful of the great feudal lords of France in terms of territory possessed. Patiently, through the use of feudal law (and, in particular, the confiscation of fiefs from rebellious vassals), skillful marriages with female inheritors of large fiefs, and even by purchase, the kings of France were able to increase the royal domain, which, by the 16th century, began to coincide with the entire kingdom. However the medieval system of appanage (a concession of a fief by the sovereign to his younger sons and their sons after them, although they could be reincorporated if the last lord had no male heirs) alienated large territories from the royal domain and created dangerous rival territories (especially the Duchy of Burgundy in the 14th and 15th centuries).

Poland and Lithuania

Similar use: this section is about the "public, state properties" of Polish and "Polish-Lithuanian" Kings, for unit of administrative division inter alia in Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth see: Crown (not to be mistaken with "Crown lands").

The Crown lands were known there as królewszczyzny (sing. królewszczyzna) which translates to regality or royal land.

In the Kingdom of Poland under the rules of Piast then Jagiellonian dynasties the institution of crown lands was similar to those in Great Britain or Austria-Hungary, the lands were the property of the monarch or dynasty.

Since 15th century the properties have often been leased, gifted or hocked to the members of nobility. Those nobles who had received the privilege of administering the Crown lands (and thus keeping most of its profits) had the title of Starosta. Once given a Crown land, one had the right to keep it 'for life'.

Families of Starostas often wanted to unlawfully keep the royal properties, and that led to common abuses of law (see following sections).

After the end of Kingdom in Poland the era of new political system called "Republic of szlachta (nobility)" started in late 16th century already in Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

In the late 16th century, because of reform and the introduction of the royal election of Polish kings, the royal lands became public property or state property .

Formally (compare with the following sections) "royal lands" could form about 15–20% of Poland (later, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth), and were divided into two parts:

Among the largest Crown lands in the 16th and 17th centuries were the territories of Malbork and Wielkorządy with Niepołomice, Sambor in the Crown of the Polish Kingdom.

Monarch's economies in, as it was called, "Republic" of Lithuania (Grand Duchy of Lithuania) were: biggest Šiauliai economy, Alytus economy, also economies in Grodno and Mohylew.

The legal conditions of peasants were better in the Crown lands than on the hereditary estates of the nobility, as there were fewer serfdom obligations.

Factual condition in the Crown (here: administrative unit)

Mostly due to lack of constant dynasty in Poland (see: Royal elections in Poland), royal lands were under notorious, often illegal, control of powerful local magnates, sometimes even semi-independent from the state.

Ruch egzekucyjny (execution movement) of the late 16th century, led by Lord Grand Chancellor of the Crown Jan Zamoyski (against the interests of his own family), put as one of its goals the 'execution of lands', i.e. return of all Crown lands, which were often illegally held by next generations of Starostine families. In 1562–1563 they forced most of the Crown land in the Crown of the Polish Kingdom to be returned to the monarch, however later the whole cycle repeated. In the following centuries Ruch egzekucyjny (lit. execution movement) and subsequently elected Kings were gradually weakened because szlachta achieved more and more privileges – the "Golden" Liberty.

Eventually the nobility controlled most of the Crown lands. People without a formal title of nobility inherited or granted were not allowed to be infeudated with regalities.

After the First Partition of Poland, which was a tremendous experience for most Polish nobility, crown lands were reformed in 1775, lessening the abuses of the nobility, and the Great Sejm of 1788–1792 decided to put them on sale, to raise funds for reforms and modernising the army.

After the following partitions of Poland in 1795 the "royal lands" were directly annexed by the partitioning powers.

Factual condition in Lithuania

In the Great Duchy of Lithuania political nation did not follow experience of neighbouring Poland. Lithuanian magnates retained such lands in their hands.

Spain

Historically, the kings of Spain have possessed vast lands, palaces, castles and other buildings, however, at present all those properties are owned by the State. The Crownlands are administered by an independent institution called Patrimonio Nacional, which is responsible for the maintenance of these properties that are always available to the King or Queen of Spain.

Hawaii

Prior to the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, the Hawaiian monarchs had access to 1.8 million acres (7,300 km²), the private lands of Kamehameha III which he set aside for the dignity of the royal office for the ruler of the Hawaiian Monarchy on 8 March 1848 during the Great Mahele. Kamehameha III and his successors made these lands their private property, selling, leasing or mortgaging at their enjoyment. At the death of Kamehameha IV, it was decided by the Kingdom's Supreme Court that under the above-mentioned instrument executed by Kamehameha III, reserving the Crown Lands, and under the confirmatory Act of 7 June 1848, "the inheritance is limited to the successors to the throne", "the wearers of the crown which the conqueror had won," and that at the same time "each successive possessor may regulate and dispose of the same according to his will and pleasure as private property, in like manner as was done by Kamehameha III." Afterwards an Act was passed 3 January 1865, "relieve the Royal Domain from encumbrances and to render the same inalienable." This Act provided for the redemption of the mortgages on the estate, and enacted that the remaining lands are to be "henceforth inalienable and shall descend to the heirs and successors of the Hawaiian Crown forever," and that "it shall not be lawful hereafter to lease said lands for any terms of years to exceed thirty." The Board of Commissioners of Crown Lands shall consist of three persons to be appointed by His Majesty the King, two of whom shall be appointed from among the members of His Cabinet Council, and serve without remuneration, and the other shall act as Land Agent, and shall be paid out of the revenues of the said lands, such sum as may be agreed to by the King." [20]

The lands were held by Queen Lili'uokalani before 17 January 1893. On this date, the monarchy was overthrown. The crown lands were taken in charge by the provisional and republican governments. When the Republic of Hawaii joined the United States in 1898, the territorial government took ownership. In 1910, Liliuokalani, the former Queen, unsuccessfully attempted to sue the United States for the loss of the Hawaiian Crown Lands.

In March 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion in Hawaii v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs, reversing the Hawaii Supreme Court's holding that the federally enacted Apology Resolution bars the State of Hawaii from selling to third parties any land held in public trust until the claims of native Hawaiians to the lands have been resolved. The Court first held that it had jurisdiction to review the Hawaii Supreme Court's opinion because it rested on the Apology Resolution. It then found the Hawaii Supreme Court's interpretation of the Apology Resolution to be erroneous, and held that federal law does not bar the State from selling land held in public trust. Accordingly, it remanded the case to the Hawaii Supreme Court to determine if Hawaiian law alone supports the same outcome.

Hong Kong

All "crown leases" in the former British crown colony became "government leases" on 1 July 1997 upon the change of status of the territory. [21] [22]

United Kingdom and its predecessor states

Historically, the properties now known as the Crown Estate were administered as possessions of the reigning monarch to help fund the business of governing the country. By the Civil List Act 1760, George III surrendered control over the Estate's revenues to the treasury, in order to relieve him from paying for the costs of the civil service, defence costs, the national debt, and his own personal debts, and, in return, to receive an annual grant known as the Civil list. [23]

See also

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Land ownership in Canada is held by governments, Indigenous groups, corporations, and individuals. Canada is the second-largest country in the world by area; at 9,093,507 km² or 3,511,085 mi² of land it occupies more than 6% of the Earth's surface. Since Canada uses primarily English-derived common law, the holders of the land actually have land tenure rather than absolute ownership.

Kingdom of Hawaii Established during the years 1795 to 1810, overthrown in 1893–1894

The Kingdom of Hawaiʻi originated in 1795 with the unification of the independent islands of Hawaiʻi, Oʻahu, Maui, Molokaʻi, and Lānaʻi under one government. In 1810, the whole Hawaiian Islands became unified when Kauaʻi and Niʻihau joined the Kingdom of Hawai‘i voluntarily and without bloodshed or war. Two major dynastic families ruled the kingdom: the House of Kamehameha and the House of Kalākaua.

Union of Lublin political union agreement sixteenth century

The Union of Lublin was signed on 1 July 1569, in Lublin, Poland, and created a single state, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. It replaced the personal union of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania with a real union and an elective monarchy, since Sigismund II Augustus, the last of the Jagiellons, remained childless after three marriages. In addition, the autonomy of Royal Prussia was largely abandoned. The Duchy of Livonia, tied to Lithuania in real union since the Union of Grodno (1566), became a Polish–Lithuanian condominium.

References

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