Guernsey is a dependency of the British Crown (being neither part of the United Kingdom nor Great Britain) and enjoys full independence, except for international relations and defence which are the responsibility of the United Kingdom Government. It has its own parliament called the States of Deliberation.
The Crown retains ultimate responsibility for the good government of the Bailiwick acting through the Privy Council. The United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs is the member of the Privy Council primarily concerned with the affairs of the Island and is the channel of communication between the Bailiwick, the Crown and the United Kingdom Government.
The Island is not represented in the U. K. Parliament and Acts of Parliament do not apply to it automatically.
Guernsey’s special relationship with the European Union is set out in Protocol 3 to the U. K. ’s Treaty of Accession. The effect of this Protocol is that the Island is within the Common Customs Area and the Common External Tariff of the European Community. The Island consequently enjoys access to member States of physical exports of agricultural and industrial products without tariff barriers. However, the remaining clauses of the E. U. Treaties do not apply to Guernsey and therefore for all purposes other than Customs it is effectively a “third country”.
The States of Deliberation is Guernsey’s legislative assembly and has powers to set taxation, determine expenditure and to pass legislation. It comprises the Bailiff as ex‑officio Presiding Officer, forty five People’s Deputies, two Representatives of the States of Alderney, and the two Law Officers of the Crown. The functions of Government are carried out by ten Departments each led by a Minister who is elected by the States.