The Tynwald is the bicameral legislature of the Isle of Man. It consists of the directly elected House of Keys and the indirectly chosen Legislative Council. The Houses sit jointly on Tynwald Day in St. John's , and on other occasions in Douglas. Otherwise, the two Houses sit separately, with the House of Keys originating most legislation, and the Legislative Council acting as a revising chamber.
The name Tynwald, like the Icelandic Țingvellir, is derived from the old Old Norse word 'Ting-Vollr' meaning the meeting place of the assembly, the field of the ting. When the Tynwald meets annually in St. John's (normally on 5 July) at an open air ceremony on Tynwald Hill, the Lieutenant Governor of the Isle of Man presides, unless the Queen as Lord of Mann or a member of the Royal Family representing her is present. Here, all laws are promulgated and special Petitions are received. (If a law is not promulgated at St. John's within eighteen months of passage, it becomes null and void.)
While the Tynwald sits in Douglas, which occurs once a month from October to July, the President of the Tynwald, who is chosen by the other members, presides. In the joint session:
- Members of each house formally sign bills
- Notice of the Royal approval from the Lord of Mann is received
- Questions may be put to officers of Government
- Special Resolutions authorizing taxes are made
- Delegated Legislation made by Government officers may be approved or annulled
- Petitions may be presented
- The Chief Minister is appointed
- Other important public business is conducted.
When the Tynwald votes while meeting jointly, each House votes separately. If a majority of each House approves, the motion is carried. If the Council vote ties, then the President of the Tynwald casts the deciding vote. However, if the Keys approve a motion but the Council disapproves, then the question can be put again at a different sitting. In this case, the vote is determined by a majority of all the members of the Tynwald. If this occurs, the Keys, with their larger size, are likely to prevail.
Normally, both houses of the Tynwald must pass a bill, when it goes to the Monarch of the United Kingdom, in her capacity as Lord of Mann, for formal assent. But if the Council rejects a bill or amends it against the Keys' wishes, the Keys have the power to repass the same bill, when the Council's disapproval is ignored and the bill presented to the Queen for formal assent.
The Tynwald is often argued to be the oldest Parliament in continuous existence in the world, having first been established in 979, but several other parliaments make this claim. The Icelandic Alțingi was established in 930 but abolished in 1800 and not refounded until 1845.
Tynwald - The Parliament of the Isle of Man