Page last updated at 14:40 GMT, Thursday, 23 October 2008 15:40 UK

Barclays new Sark court challenge

Sir David (l) and Sir Frederick Barclay
The twins received a knighthood from the Queen in 2000

Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay have renewed their legal bid over Sark's constitutional reforms.

The feudal government, made up of 40 landowners and 12 deputies, will be replaced by 28 elected members after a general election in December.

The 73-year-old twins from Brecqhou want more radical changes, but a bid for a judicial review was refused by the High Court in June.

The billionaires have now taken the battle to London's Civil Appeal Court.

The tycoons, who bought the Telegraph Group in 2004, own land on Sark and the whole of the neighbouring island of Brecqhou, which the Sark government claims to have authority over.

'Alien discrimination'

They object to the two hereditary posts of seigneur and seneschal, which will still have an unelected role, claiming they amount to a violation of human rights.

Sark's system of government dates back to 1565, when Queen Elizabeth I granted "letters patent" to the first seigneur to hold the island as a "royal fief".

The seigneur is the head of the government, while the seneschal is Sark's chief judge and the president of the Chief Pleas.

The car-free island has a population of about 600.

The legal challenge to the constitutional reform is also being brought by Sark resident, Slovenian Tomaz Slivnik, who claims the new parliament discriminates against him as a foreign "alien".

Mr Slivnik is seeking election, but says he is unjustly barred because of his foreign status.

Presiding judge, Lord Justice Pill, said a key issue in the case was whether the three claimants were entitled to challenge a constitution created "under a separate jurisdiction although approved by Her Majesty".

The hearing continues.

Last meeting of feudal government
02 Oct 08 |  Guernsey
Appeal fails on Sark human rights
18 Jun 08 |  Guernsey
Rights laws 'don't apply' in Sark
22 May 08 |  Guernsey
Sark democracy plans challenged
21 May 08 |  Guernsey
Sark democracy plans are approved
09 Apr 08 |  Guernsey

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