Dating back over 1,000 years to the time of the Vikings, the High Court of Tynwald is the oldest parliament in the world in continuous existence and the only tricameral parliament in the Commonwealth.Tynwald has two branches: the lower 24-member House of Keys, directly elected by the people of the Island; and the upper Legislative Council, of which 8 members are indirectly elected and 3 sit ex officio. These two branches sit separately each Tuesday (except when Tynwald sits as a body) to consider primary legislation for the Island. Questions are also tabled to Government members and ministers, and answered in either oral or written form.Once a month, the House of Keys and the Legislative Council come together to sit as Tynwald Court, in Douglas, where members approve secondary legislation, and keep a check on Government activity, through oral and written questioning and policy debate. Sittings can continue for up to three days, including evenings, and the proceedings are broadcast live on local radio. On 5th July, Tynwald Day, members and the public meet in the open air at St John’s. As a legal requirement, Acts passed during the parliamentary year are promulgated to the people from Tynwald Hill in both English and Manx Gaelic. There is also an ancient right to petition Tynwald on this special day for redress of individual grievances: such petitions are presented at the foot of the Hill, to be taken on, as appropriate, by select committees.
There are several standing committees for the three chambers and select committees are regularly set up to investigate specific issues.
The Hansard team within the Clerk of Tynwald’s Office provides verbatim reports for all three chambers and also for sessions of oral evidence taken in the committees. The team currently consists of six members of staff, whose work focuses mainly on recording and editing sittings, using a unique system of automatic parliamentary voice recognition technology.Further information on Tynwald and its Hansard services, including all Hansard reports dating back to 1887, can be found on the Tynwald website, www.tynwald.org.im.
MacDonald Flag(Tynwald Flag)
The official flag of Tynwald is normally flown on Tynwald Day and outside the Legislative Buildings in Douglas. The idea for the flag came from the ancient arms of the Lords of Man, which depicted a ship with sails furled. This emblem had also been used on notes and coins. In 1971, the flag was adopted by the Tynwald Arrangements Committee to represent the parliament and its Viking past.
Head of Hansard
Office of the Clerk of Tynwald
Isle of Man
Tel: +44 (0)1624 685514
Fax: +44 (0)1624 685504