The Crown

The Crown is the state in all its aspects within the jurisprudence of the Commonwealth realms and their subdivisions (such as the Crown Dependencies, overseas territories, provinces, or states).[1] The term can be used to refer to the office of the monarch or the monarchy as institutions, to the rule of law, or to the functions of executive (the crown-in-council), legislative (the crown-in-parliament), and judicial (the crown on the bench) governance and the civil service.[2]

The image of a crown is included in the coat of arms of New Zealand, and located atop the escutcheon, to symbolize the New Zealand Crown as the institution from which all state authority flows.

The concept of the crown as a corporation sole developed first in England as a separation of the physical crown and property of the kingdom from the person and personal property of the monarch. It spread through English and later British colonisation and is now rooted in the legal lexicon of all 15 Commonwealth realms, their various dependencies, and states in free association with them. It is not to be confused with any physical crown, such as those of the British regalia.[3]

The term is also found in various expressions such as crown land, which some countries refer to as public land or state land; as well as in some offices, such as minister of the crown, crown attorney, and crown prosecutor.


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