Constitutional law and empire in interwar Britain: universities, liberty, nationality and parliamentary supremacy

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Donal K Coffey


imperial history, constitutional law, constitutional history, legal history, British history


This article examines the influence of imperial law, law outside the UK but within the British Empire, on the development of British constitutional law in the interwar period. It first looks at public law within the universities. Four foundational textbooks in British public law are then analysed to assess the extent to which the academic exposition of constitutional law was influenced by imperial law. The influence of imperial law on the areas of liberty/habeas corpus and citizenship is then considered. The article concludes by re-examining the doctrine of parliamentary supremacy and argues that Dicey accepted a variant of the ‘manner and form’ objection in the final edition of his textbook completed before his death.

Abstract 576 | NILQ 71.2.6 Coffey Downloads 528