'A British Empire Court' - A Brief Appraisal of the History of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council

28 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2010  

Thomas Mohr

Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin

Date Written: July 12, 2010

Abstract

In the early twentieth century the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council acted as the final appellate court for most of the territories of the British Empire. Its area of jurisdiction has gradually declined since the conclusion of the Second World War. This paper offers a brief and accessible appraisal of a number of general themes within the history of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. It assesses the claim that this court acted as a safeguard for minority communities within the constituent parts of the British Empire and Commonwealth. This article also examines many of the practical objections raised against the Privy Council appeal by its opponents, including the issues of expense and delay. It also examines the assertion that the Privy Council was not suited to act as a final court of appeal on the grounds that it was an out-dated institution that was out of touch with local values and conditions in the various parts of the British Empire and Commonwealth. This article questions the validity of many of these grounds for criticism and argues that they were often used to conceal other reasons for desiring the abolition of the appeal to the Privy Council. The conclusion assesses the future prospects of this most unusual court.

Suggested Citation

Mohr, Thomas, 'A British Empire Court' - A Brief Appraisal of the History of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (July 12, 2010). UCD Working Papers in Law, Criminology & Socio-Legal Studies Research Paper No. 30/2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1638897 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1638897

Thomas Mohr (Contact Author)

Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin ( email )

Belfield
Dublin 4
Ireland

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