1. On 22nd June 2011, George Eustice M.P., passed our request for information to his Parliamentary Researcher who replied on 14th September 2011.

The question was:-  “Should the second and third Duchy of Cornwall Charters of 1337/8 be recognised as “directly contrary to the known laws, statutes and freedoms of this realm” and declared incompatible with the Bill of Rights 1688?    (This was followed with notes on Crown Estate exclusion from Cornwall, etc., para.8 above).

The Parliamentary Researcher concludes:-   “Ultimately, it seems that there is no need for any action to be taken.  Cornwall is and always has been unique, but in terms of the legal position of Duchy estates in comparison to those of the Crown there would seem to be no basis for quite substantial legal and constitutional reform”.

There is no reference to the Bill of Rights.   Silence may indicate a confession that Duchy of Cornwall charters are incompatible with the Bill of Rights.

2. Magna Charta   (Article 29, 1297), (25 Ed.1). (For England only)

“No freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his freehold, liberties or free customs……..We will not condemn him but by lawful judgement of his peers. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either justice or right”.

Note:- The Mappa Mundi c.1300 shows Cornwall as a separate country.

3. The Bill of Rights 1688.     (For England only).

“Suspending power  –  That the pretending power of suspending of laws or the exercise of laws by regal authority without consent of Parliament is illegal”.

“Levying money –  That levying money for or to the use of the Crown by pretence of prerogative without grant of Parliament………is illegal”.

“That all and singular rights and liberties shall be strictly observed”.

4. The Royal Prerogative 2003 –  House of Commons. (PASC, Report 19, 2003).

(Public Administration Select Committee).

“It remains impossible to define the exact limits of the prerogative”. (para.17)

“The conduct of foreign affairs remains very reliant on the exercise of prerogative powers” . (para.5).

Note:- House of Lords, re; Chagos Islands, 2008, Order in Council, legal.

Note:- The unlimited prerogative was granted to the Duke in 1338 to rule Cornwall because Cornwall (Kernow) was accepted as a separate country.

5. The third Duchy of Cornwall Charter 1338.  (For the land of the Cornish only)

“…………dukes of the same place and heirs apparent to the said kingdom of England, do for ever have the returns of all writs of Us and Our heirs, and of summonses of the Exchequer of Us and Our heirs, and attachments, as well in pleas of the Crown as in all others, as well in the same fees, as also in other fees which are held of the same in the said county of Cornwall; so that no sheriff, or other bailiff or minister of Us or Our heirs enter those fees to execute the said writs and summonses or to make attachments, as well in pleas of the Crown as in the others aforesaid, or do any other official act (officium) there, except in default of the said Duke and other Dukes of the said place, and his and their bailiff and minister……..”

“Given by Our hand at the Tower of London, in the 11th year of Our reign”.

(From the appendix to Rowe v Brenton 1828, (8B @ C737) Manning edition, 1830).

Note:- These special provisions for a country claimed as an English county or an English Duchy are incompatible with Magna Charta.   The suppression of the Cornish Celtic identity and culture has to be considered as a motive.

Note:- “Do any other official act there”.   (Charter No.3 above).   In 1337 it was historically considered an achievement by the English to exploit another country with a foreign language like Cornwall, where Duchy privileges could be authorised by the unlimited royal prerogative unrestrained by Magna Charta.   Today, there appears to be a denial of international democratic principles to avoid modernisation.

5. Statement by the Duchy of Cornwall, 1855.

“It is submitted that the three Duchy charters are sufficient in themselves to vest in the Dukes of Cornwall, not only the government of Cornwall, but the entire territorial dominion in and over the county which had previously been vested in the Crown with all such royal prerogatives”.    (The Foreshore of Cornwall dispute, Crown v. Duchy,  Statement by the Duchy, page 9, Duchy of Cornwall,  London 1855).

Note:-  First charter granted 17th March 1337 and second charter of 18th March 1337 were deemed to be Acts of Parliament by  “The Prince’s Case” 1606 (8 Co.Rep.14b), but not so for the third charter, authorised almost one year later by the unlimited royal prerogative, 3rd January 1338.   By agreement, the royal prerogative could obviously be brought into action where the government could disclaim responsibility.

Note:- In English law Duchy of Cornwall powers have been exercised on the strength of an unlimited royal prerogative by the Duke or when no Duke, by the Crown.  It is contended that the object of the third Duchy of Cornwall charter grants of Summons of Exchequer etc., was effectively extending the powers of Duchy charters one and two without requiring the authority of Parliament.   At a time when the indigenous Cornish were actually classified as “foreign”, i.e., Celtic not Anglo-Saxon, by the English authorities, who considered the ‘levying money” by royal prerogative valid authority for non-English Cornwall just as the royal prerogative was centuries later considered valid authority for the dismissal of an Australian Prime Minister in 1975.

7. Duchy of Cornwall Management Act 1863.

Possessions of the Duke of Cornwall shall include “regalities”, section 37.

(With the authority of the powers granted by the third Duchy of Cornwall Charter).

Note:- Regalities = “Attribute of kingly power”  per Oxford English Dictionary.

Note:- Regalities as a prerogative enabled the income from the double tax on Cornish tin, plus bona vacantia and intestate estates, etc., to be invested outside Cornwall.

8. Crown Estate Act 1961

The Crown Estate is required, under the Crown Estate Act 1961 sections 3 & 4, to implement:  “Grants for public purposes” and “excluding any element of

Monopoly”.   The Crown Estate, in its response to a Freedom of Information

request in a letter to the undersigned of 7th January 2005, gave this information: “The

Crown Estate has no holdings within the boundaries of Cornwall. The analogous

landowner in Cornwall is the Duchy of Cornwall”.   Since the public spirited

provisions of the Crown Estate do not apply to Cornwall in any Act of Parliament

they are, therefore, incompatible with Magna Charta and the Bill of Rights.

Note:- The end result is that the English Crown Estate does not invest in

Cornwall while the English Duchy of Cornwall invests outside Cornwall.

9.  The failure of Magna Charta and the Bill of Rights

Royal Land  –  “The seeds sown by Victoria (1837 – 1901) in seeking to break free of the shackles imposed on British monarchs since the Glorious Revolution in 1688 have grown into seriously big plants.     If the aristocratic fathers of British freedom from the barons of Runnymede 1215 through to the signatories of the Bill of Rights 1688 were trying to design a powerless, nominal monarchy, then they have failed.   The richest family in Britain may lack formal or coercive powers, but they more than make up for this in influence, which, practically speaking is how power functions in a democracy in the intervals between elections”. (Who Owns Britain, Kevin Cahill, Canongate, Edinburgh, 2001, page 59).

10. English constitutional law

It would appear that in terms of English law the “regalities” in the 1863-1982 Duchy of Cornwall Management Act is undemocratic.   This form of the prerogative appears intended to free the Duke from the law and effective public control of the ‘legally detached’ English Duchy of Cornwall in Cornwall, home of the indigenous Cornish Celtic national minority.  The historical facts suggest a continuation of the collective punishment plan of English feudalism in order to hide the extent of the methods still being employed to secure an income for the heir to the throne from the Duchy, an income, that is, which also serves to relieve the English national majority of their constitutional duty to provide that income through taxation.

In the Port Navas oysters case an Information Tribunal of 4th November 2011, (Case No: EA/2010/0182) ruled that the Duchy of Cornwall is to be classified as a public body on the grounds that: “the provision of an income for the Duke is a function of public administration”. (para.110), and: “an extremely important constitutional role for the UK”. (para.109).

“The legal background to the Duchy (of Cornwall) makes it clear that it belongs to the Crown.   What is invidious about the position of the Duchy is its compromising of the original principle of English constitutional law, that the Monarch should be dependent on Parliament for finance”. (Who Owns Britain, Kevin Cahill, Canongate, Edinburgh, 2002, page 91).

These statements expose the otherwise unrecognised exploitation of Cornwall.

11. Conclusion

Consequently, if English people believe in justice and their constitution, they will accept their constitutional duty and start providing an income for the heir to the throne through general taxation with no exemptions.  They would also repeal all three of the dictatorial English Duchy of Cornwall Charters of 1337/8 as well as the “regalities” etc., of the Duchy of Cornwall Management Act 1863-1982.    This would, at last, be in recognition of the fact that these policies are so obviously incompatible with the English Magna Charta 1297, (We will not deny any man justice),  the Bill of Rights 1688 (Pretence of prerogative illegal) and the international  basic democratic principle of justice that: “All humans are equal before the law”.

Note:- Equality before the law is not part of the British constitution.   It is intended to be a guaranteed individual right and the basic principle to be applied in the legislative process.  It is included in the constitutions of all the other forty-six members states of the Council of Europe at Strasbourg.  (para.6 above).

At the centre of the unlimited inequalities before the law is the unlimited prerogative powers and exemptions for the Duchy of Cornwall in Cornwall, as well as the protection given for its: “rights property and profits” under the Crown Proceedings Act 1947, s.40g.  Across the Tamar it is quite different.  There are legal limitations imposed on the Crown Estate to: “Exclude monopoly” and guarantee: “Grants for public purposes” (para.8 above) in the remainder of the UK.   This comparison reveals a secret policy to impose a state monopoly on the Cornish national minority in order to maximise income for the Duke of Cornwall, heir to the throne.

“Compliance – Member states shall take the necessary measures to ensure that: (a) any laws, regulations and administrative provisions contrary to the principle of equal treatment are abolished”. (Article 14, Directive 2000/43/EC, The Race Directive).

Colin Murley

©Save Cornwall – 7th December 2011

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