The Empire's Sentinels: The Privy Council's Quest to Balance Idealism and Pragmatism

Jonas-Sébastien Beaudry, 'The Empire’s Sentinels: The Privy Council’s Quest to Balance Idealism And Pragmatism', Vol. 1 (1) Birkbeck Law Review 15 (April 2013)

Posted: 23 Oct 2013

See all articles by Jonas-Sébastien Beaudry

Jonas-Sébastien Beaudry

McGill University - Faculty of Law; McGill University - Institute for Health and Social Policy

Date Written: October 2012

Abstract

This article is a study of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council’s quest to balance Western ideals and pragmatic diplomacy. It surveys some critiques and praises of the Judicial Committee coming from Canada, Australia and India, in order to delineate the attitudes, strategies and beliefs adopted by the Law Lords when they sat on the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council during its most influential period, that is to say, from its creation in 1833 until the decline of the British Empire in the 1950s.

The text is divided into four sections. The first section analyses Lord Haldane’s insightful assessment of the role of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council within the Empire, and of the way the Lords perceived or should have perceived themselves when sitting on the Privy Council. The three following sections consists of external critiques of the Board’s interventions in three dependencies: one colony whose Constitution was drafted and negotiated by the overseas subjects and granted almost full independence (Australia), one colony whose Constitution was drafted in London and was not ratified by the overseas subjects (Canada), and one colony that did not have its own Constitution and whose foreign subjects did not initially partake in the legal system (India). The distinctive characteristics of each dependency will allow for a multi-levelled critique of the Lords’ conception of their institutional role, hopes and efforts.

Keywords: Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, British Empire, Judicial Colonialism, Judicial Political Role

Suggested Citation

Beaudry, Jonas-Sébastien, The Empire's Sentinels: The Privy Council's Quest to Balance Idealism and Pragmatism (October 2012). Jonas-Sébastien Beaudry, 'The Empire’s Sentinels: The Privy Council’s Quest to Balance Idealism And Pragmatism', Vol. 1 (1) Birkbeck Law Review 15 (April 2013), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2343294

Jonas-Sébastien Beaudry (Contact Author)

McGill University - Faculty of Law ( email )

3644 Peel Street
Montreal H3A 1W9, Quebec
Canada

McGill University - Institute for Health and Social Policy ( email )

Charles Meredith House
1130 Pine Avenue West
Montreal, Quebec H3A1A3
Canada

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