Quick political history
The Turks and Caicos Islands is located close to the Caribbean at the South Eastern end of the Bahamas chain. In around 1680 it was settled by Bermudans as uninhabited islands. The previous population had long since perished due to disease and mistreatment as a result of the influx of Europeans from 1492 onwards. From the time it was settled, it enjoyed varying degrees of autonomy from England until recently, in 2009, the elected government was suspended and the UK took direct control. In September 2012 new elections were held and a degree of autonomy was returned to the people of the Turks and Caicos.
The TCI currently has the status of a United Kingdom Overseas Territory in common with Gibraltar, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, Falkland Islands, Saint Helena, BIOT, Montserrat, Anguilla and a few others.
The population is around 30,000 people. It briefly peaked in 2007 and was thought to have been over 40,000. However, throughout it’s history the islands could always be classified as having a relatively small population.
A Governor is appointed (Royal Commission) by the UK and heads the a cabinet formed from the up to 6 elected members of the largest elected party, from which a Premier is appointed. Currently there is a legislature that is formed by 15 elected members, 2 members nominated by the Governor and 2 members one from the government and one from the opposition. The Governor also has the role of assenting to laws on behalf of Her Majesty subject to certain restrictions where the permission of the Secretary of State is required.
Common law forms the basis of law similar to England and Wales, but it is capable of being developed locally by the judiciary. Statutory law is broadly a mixture of English statutes, laws made by the UK executive (Orders in Council) and locally enacted laws (Ordinances). The power to make Orders in Council is as a result of an enabling Act of the UK parliament, the West Indies Act 1962. Common law and the Turks and Caicos Constitution Order 2011 (an Order in Council) are the basis of the TCI constitution. Statutory law in the UK does not apply to the TCI unless it is either explicitly or necessarily intended to apply to the islands.
Local statutory law is underpinned by the Colonial Laws Validity Act 1865. This UK Act gives rise to a kind of subordinate sovereignty that is only subordinate to an Act of the UK Parliament. Therefore colonial laws may not be challenged upon common law grounds, or grounds of natural justice, but only upon repugnancy to UK statute.