Foreign act of state and empire
Keywords:foreign act of State, non-justiciability, British Empire
The judicial restraint limb of the foreign act of state doctrine is presented as a time-worn doctrine dating back to the seventeenth century. Its legitimacy is indelibly wedded to its historical roots. This article demonstrates that this view is misguided. It shows that the cases which are said to form the foundation of the judicial restraint limb primarily concern the Crown in the context of the British Empire and are of dubious legal reasoning, resulting in a concept trammelled by the irrelevant and the obfuscating. It has also unnecessarily complicated important questions relating to the relationship between English law and public international law. This article suggests that the judicial restraint limb of the foreign act of state doctrine ought to be understood on the basis of the principle of the sovereign equality of states and conceptualised accordingly.