British Imperial Statutes and Irish Law: Statutes Passed Before the Creation of the Irish Free State

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Title: British Imperial Statutes and Irish Law: Statutes Passed Before the Creation of the Irish Free State
Authors: Mohr, Thomas
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Date: 15-Nov-2010
Abstract: This is the first of two articles examining the relationship between British Imperial statutes and Irish law in the early years of the self-governing Irish state. British Imperial statutes represent a potential source of Irish law that has been rejected or ignored by Irish lawyers for over seven decades. This source of law is still perceived to constitute a threat to cherished ideals as to the nature and origins of the self-governing Irish state. The acceptance of Imperial legislation is perceived as being inconsistent with the autochthony of the Irish state. British Imperial legislation also represents a challenge to the assertion that the Irish state came into existence with a position of full legislative sovereignty. This article argues that, although Irish lawyers in the early twentieth century had real difficulties with this potential source of Irish law, they could not reject it with the same confidence as their counterparts in the early twenty-first century. This article focuses on the assertion made by successive British governments that the birth of the Irish Free State in 1922 necessarily entailed the incorporation of a considerable body of existing Imperial legislation into Irish law. It will also examine the contention that this Imperial legislation enjoyed a superior status over Irish law under the provisions of the Colonial Laws Validity Act 1865. This article confines its analysis to Imperial legislation passed before the emergence of the Irish Free State in 1922. A subsequent article will examine the significance of Imperial statutes passed after the creation of the Irish Free State that were intended to apply to that self-governing entity. Both articles raise wider questions as to how concepts of national identity influence the acceptance or rejection of particular sources of law.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Journal: Journal of Legal History
Volume: 31
Issue: 3
Start page: 299
End page: 321
Copyright (published version): 2010 Taylor and Francis
Keywords: Legal historyConstitution of the Irish Free State
DOI: 10.1080/01440365.2010.525930
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Law Research Collection

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