Ascension Island Government

How Ascension is Governed

The Governor exercises executive authority on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen and is supported in this by an Island Council. The Island Council is advisory, sits for a three year term and may consist of five or seven members. Its powers are set out in the Constitution and in the Island Government (Ascension) Ordinance 2008.

The Governor can only make laws after consulting the Island Council. Local laws are made under the authority of the Constitution of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha and can be found on the website of the St Helena Government Attorney General.

Formal meetings of the Council are held regularly, usually every six weeks, and are open to members of the public. On a day-to-day basis the running of the Government is delegated to the Administrator who is the head of the Ascension Island Government.

Judicial services are provided through the Magistrates’ Court, Supreme Court and Coroner’s Court on Ascension. The Constitution establishes the Supreme Court of St Helena and the Court of Appeal under section 80. Sections 153 and 218 establish that the Supreme Court of St Helena and the Court of Appeal of St Helena are the Courts of Ascension and Tristan da Cunha respectively.

The Attorney General of St Helena is also the Attorney General of Ascension and of Tristan da Cunha under sections 150 and 215 of the Constitution respectively. As such the St Helena Attorney General is the principal legal advisor to the Government. They are an ex-officio member of the Island Council and have overall responsibility for law reform, law revision and legislative drafting. The Attorney General is supported on Ascension by a Crown Counsel and a Clerk to Court.

Structure of the Government

The Ascension Island Government provides services to the public, ensures good governance through upholding the rule of law and supports the Island Council in their advisory role to the Governor. The Government is structured into three directorates; Resources, Operations and Facilities and Conservation and Fisheries.

The St Helena Police Ascension Island Detachment is responsible for ensuring the maintenance of law and order as well as the delivery of immigration services. The Policing Plan for 2019/20 focuses upon working with the community, partners and stakeholders to solve local issues, provide education to improve public safety and to also be creative about providing community projects and activities to keep Ascension one of the safest places to be.

The director of each directorate and the police inspector report directly to the Administrator.

Public appointments are made by the Governor and along with local laws, regulations, rules and orders are published in the St Helena Gazette.