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Pitcairn Islands (British Overseas Territory)

Flag of Pitcairn Henderson Ducie & Oeno Islands
Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands

Map of the Pitcairn Islands Last reviewed: 13 November 2007

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Constitutional Status

Pitcairn is a British settlement under the British Settlements Act of 1887, although the Islanders usually date their recognition as a British territory to a constitution of 1838 devised with the help of a visiting Royal Navy officer. In 1893, 1898 and 1940, further changes were made in the Islands Government.

In 1952 responsibility for Pitcairn was transferred from the High Commissioner for the Western pacific to the Governor of Fiji. When Fiji became independent the Pitcairn Royal Instructions, both of 1970, were the instruments that embodied the modern constitution of Pitcairn, establishing the office of the Governor and regulating his powers and duties. In practice, the British High Commissioner to New Zealand is appointed concurrently as Governor (Non-Resident) of Pitcairn and is assisted by PIO in Auckland. Pitcairn Islanders manage their internal affairs through the Island Council, for which elections are held annually.

Law and Order

The Law of Pitcairn is covered by the Pitcairn Order 1970 together with the Pitcairn Royal Instructions 1970. Under these the Governor is the legislature for Pitcairn and is empowered to make laws on any subject. Prior approval of the Foreign Secretary must be sought for the enactment of certain classes of law.

PitcairnIslands (British Overseas Territory) today

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Travel Advice: Pitcairn Islands 

Overseas Territories Department

Foreign & Commonwealth Office
London SW1A 2AH
Tel: 020-7008 1500
Fax: 020-7008 2086

Pitcairn Islands Office
P.O. Box 105 696
New Zealand
Tel: 0064 9 366 0186
Fax: 0064 9 366 0187

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