The Crown

… a core term in Governance and Institutions and Atlas100


Michael Jackson (reference below) defines the Crown as follows:

“In its simplest terms, the Crown is the democratic institution of constitutional monarchy. It incarnates Canada’s Westminster-style parliamentary democracy, symbolized by the Queen, the governor general, and the lieutenant governors.” (p19-20)

Jackson goes on to say:

“This institution is subtle, complex, and perhaps even nebulous. But that does not mean that it is not important – far from it. The Crown pervades Canada’s constitutional order and political culture.”

New Zealand scholar Noel Cox (reference below) writes:

“As a general rule, in those countries which acknowledge Elizabeth II as Queen, the legal and political entity known as the Crown is legally important because it holds the conceptual place held by the State in those legal systems derived from or influenced by the Roman civil law. Not only does the Crown provide a legal basis for governmental action, but it provides much of the legal and some of the political legitimacy for such action.  At the most abstract level, the absence of an accepted concept of the State in England required the Crown to assume the function of source of governmental authority. This might be called the conceptual or symbolic role of the Crown. This tradition has been followed in New Zealand, as it has everywhere the Crown has been established. The physical absence of the person of the monarch prevented an undue emphasis upon personality, and encouraged the development a more conceptual – if not principled – view of the Crown.”

Atlas topic, subject, and course

Constitutional Framework (core topic) in Governance and Institutions and Atlas100 Governance and Institutions.


D. Michael Jackson (2013), The Crown and Canadian Federalism, Dundurn Press, Toronto.

Noel Cox (last updated 2010), “The Theory of Sovereignty and the Importance of the Crown in the Realms of The Queen” [2002] ALRS 6; (2002) 2(2) Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal, 237-255, at, accessed 15 August 2016.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 15 August 2016.