‘Something like the principles of British liberalism’: Ivor Jennings and the international and domestic, 1920–1960
Keywords:international law, domestic law, public law, imperial constitution, interwar period, W Ivor Jennings
While the relationship between domestic and international law provoked constant debate among European jurists in the interwar years, British thinking is remembered as orthodoxly dualist and practice-focused. Complicating this narrative, this article revisits W Ivor Jennings’ work, arguing that the domestic and international were central to his understandings of interwar legal change in the imperial and international communities. Part 1 examines Jennings’ seemingly forgotten 1920s works, which analysed constitutional and international interactions within the rapidly changing imperial system. Part 2 explores Jennings’ turn to international and domestic forms of the rule of law in the lead-up to war, emphasising their British liberal heritage. Part 3 shows how these conceptions, and their imperial connections, echoed in Jennings’ post-war projects: a European federation modelled on the empire; and lectures to decolonising states. This reveals both new angles to Jennings’ work and the importance of the domestic and international for constitutional legacies of empire.