The Anglican Communion has recently experienced a sea change in its understanding of and approach to canon law, hitherto a matter lacking worldwide attention amongst Anglicans. Whilst the worldwide Communion has no global system of canon law applicable to its member churches, each church (or Province) is autonomous, with its own system of law and government. These individual legal systems deal with such subjects as government, ministry, doctrine, liturgy and ritual, and church property. However, in recent years there have been key developments. The chapter describes, explains (particularly in the context of the juridical experiences of other international ecclesial communities which are ecumenical partners of Anglicans), and evaluates the process leading up to, and the terms of, the document the Principles of Canon Law Common to the Churches of the Anglican Communion, launched at the Lambeth Conference 2008, and the juridical aspects and issues which relate to the Anglican Communion Covenant.
Imperialism and colonialism have been key determinants for the geography of Anglicanism. This is evident in developments within the British Isles, in North America and North American expansion, in India, and in nineteenth- and twentieth-century British expansion worldwide. In much of this, the mission agencies, in particular SPCK, SPG, CMS, and UMCA, have played an important role. Characteristic impacts included settlement, slavery and indentured labour, displacement and segregation. The civility/barbarity dichotomy made for a persisting fault-line, reinforced by racism. Anglican developments, including the Lambeth Conferences, shaped and were shaped by globalization.