The case for debt recovery from the Duchy of Cornwall.


1. Background

In May 2000 the Lord Warden of the Stannaries, the Chief Officer of the Duchy of Cornwall, was sent an invoice by the Cornish Stannary Parliament in the sum of 20 billion. It is intended as the means of reclaiming a double-charge levied by the Dukes of Cornwall on Cornish tin production compared to the rate levied on tin produced in Devon over a period of five centuries. These taxes were known as "coinage".

In a previous exchange of letters, the Duchy of Cornwall informed the Cornish Stannary Parliament on 15th December 1976, that "Coinage dues, which were always paid to the Duke's officers for assaying and weighing tin, ceased to be paid in 1838 (according to) the Coinage Abolition Act". Coinage had been collected over the centuries on the strength of the first Duchy of Cornwall charter of 1337. The charter did not set the level of coinage neither is there any indication that "assaying and weighing tin" would cost twice as much to administer in Cornwall as in Devon.

There would appear to be an oversight in the HMSO 1978 publication of the Duchy of Cornwall Charter in that, although the coinage had been abolished in 1838 the charter is described as "Constitutional Law 10", "Statutes in Force", "Official Revised Edition, 1st February 1978" and makes no reference to a deletion or amendment indicating the abolition of "coinage." A further complication has arisen since 1978. The Table of Statutes reveals that "The Tin Duties Act of 1838, c.120" was repealed by the "Miscellaneous Financial Provisions Act 1983 (c.29) section 8, schedule 3".

The situation therefore in 2001 is, after an Act to repeal the abolition of "coinage", is, that the charter claim of the Duchy of Cornwall to impose "coinage" still officially stands as law until the Duchy of Cornwall charter is itself repealed.

If the Dukes of Cornwall exercised a prerogative right to double the "coinage" for Cornwall, then it would have been an act by "the rightful heir out of possession" which in constitutional law is regarded as void and illegal, in England. (3 Co Inst 7; from Halsbury's Laws of England, Forth Edition, Vol. 8, para.902) If it was not illegal then Cornwall was not part of England. The law indicates that the Dukes were exercising absolute power as rulers of Cornwall with freedom of action as the colonial government of Cornwall.

1. Background - continued:-

The information on tin production given in the invoice is taken from "The Stannaries" by G.R.Lewis of Harvard University U.S.A. in 1907, reprinted in 1965 by D. Bradford Barton Ltd., Truro, Cornwall.

The factor for the calculation of historical wealth is taken for "The Sunday Times" supplement, "Richest of the Rich in Britain since 1066" of March 2000. The authors are Professor Rubinstein of the University of Wales and Philip Beresford author of the annual "Times Rich List".

The authors of the "Richest of the Rich" affirm that "The methodology is increasingly employed by economists and historians". It is based on the percentage share of the contemporary wealth of the nation owned by each individual subject investigated.

2. Royal Tax Collectors

In an historical context Kings imposed taxes of various kinds. The bulk of the proceeds were solicited from Parliament for administration purposes while the rest was expended on household expenses and living the high life commensurate with the length and kudos of their respective titles. Consequently, it would be futile to attempt to reclaim feudal taxes as such at this point in history even though many were, even at the time, regarded as unconstitutional, that is, contrary to the provisions of the then written constitution, Magna Carta.

Despite Magna Carta, there was a medieval tradition that the King should secure the means to provide himself with a private income. G.R.Elton of Cambridge University, in his book, "England under the Tudors", (page 47) informs the reader, "The famous theory that the King 'should live of his own', that is, on his regular revenue and without recourse to special grants - (from Parliament) - found favour both with a people reluctant to part with its substance (money) and a King desirous of making himself independent". Elton then refers to "The king did not wish to surrender freedom of action in exchange for votes of money" (by parliament). and, "the English people could indulge their natural dislike of paying taxes".

Even today, it is not difficult to imagine that politicians would be reluctant to return to their constituents to ask for additional taxes to support the heir to the throne.

It therefore became accepted practice for the members of medieval parliaments at Westminster to turn a blind eye to the acquisition by the King of the land and property of intestate estates, and the assets of those branded by the King as "traitors". (The Duke of Cornwall still claims intestate estates in Cornwall) CLICK HERE FOR NEXT PAGE

In certain agreed areas, the King might levy private taxes to secure a "private" royal income which, with the incidental advantage of avoiding the imposition of a royal taxation upon English constituents.

What's Related

Document Options

copyright CSP 2006 ..... Designed and hosted by FTI