Q. WHY IS CORNWALL DIFFERENT FROM THE REST OF THE UK?
A. BECAUSE IT IS SUBJECT TO DIFFERENT LAWS.
(by courtesy of John Kirkhope, BA (Hons), LL.B(Hons), Dip.N.P., TEP, Notary Public and non-practising solicitor, Weston-super-Mare).
1. It is the only region of the UK where the soil is owned by someone other than the Crown, and this is important. Generally speaking, most people own property in "Freehold", or what used to be called "Fee Simple Absolute". This dates back to feudal times and Freehold indicates that we own land from the Crown in exchange for feudal duties (this is now largely academic). Only the Monarch is absolute owner of the soil EXCEPT in Cornwall, where the absolute owner of the soil is the Duke of Cornwall. The Duchy has used this right of the Crown to avoid planning laws, for example.
2. Does 1 above matter? Yes - in the rest of the UK "ownerless land" reverts back to the Crown EXCEPT in Cornwall where it reverts to the Duke of Cornwall. In Cornwall, the property f people who die without lawfully named heirs passes to the Duke of Cornwall. In the rest of the UK, it reverts to the Monarch as monarch or as Duke of Lancaster.
3. Cornwall is the only region of the UK in which the foreshore and rivers belong to someone other than the Monarch. The owner is, again, the Duke of Cornwall.
4. Cornwall is the only "county"(sic) in which the Sheriff is appointed by somone other than the Monarch, and swears allegiance both to the Monarch and his appointer, the Duke of Cornwall.
5. Cornwall is the only region of the UK which is home to an extant legal institution with a right of veto of Westminster legislation.
6. Cornwall is the only region of the UK in which someone other than the Monarch has right of wreck and royal fish.
7. Cornwall is the only "county" (sic) which can claim to be properly referred to as Duchy (Royal Commission on the Constitution 1972).”
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