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HMRC internal manual

Residence, Domicile and Remittance Basis Manual

Domicile: Introduction and Background: Domicile and Law Territories

As explained at RDRM20070, domicile is the criterion adopted by the common law for connecting the individual, either directly or indirectly through dependence on another individual, to a system of municipal law.

For the purposes of the laws of the UK, domicile means something different from and is separate from other connecting factors such as nationality or residence. So, it is possible to be a national of the UK, presently resident in Spain but domiciled in Jersey.

The existence of a territory subject to a single legal system, a law territory, is central to the concept of domicile. A number of states are composed of several law territories. Most such states are federations, of which the USA, Canada, Australia and Switzerland are examples.

The UK is not a federation, but it comprises three law territories, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Likewise, the Bailiwick of Guernsey includes Guernsey, Alderney and Sark, which are all separate law territories.

Where an individual has links with a federal or composite state, ascertaining his or her domicile can become a more complicated issue than usual.

The last two centuries have seen many changes in national and political boundaries. Any new territories should be regarded as having existed for the purposes of ascertaining domicile prior to their creation. Authority for this approach is provided by cases in which the 1921 division of Ireland into its present parts was considered.