No. 53 NAI DFA Unregistered Papers

Extracts from a Memorandum by the Irish Free State delegation to the 1926 Imperial Conference on appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council

London, 18 October 1926

1. RECENT cases which have come before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council have directed attention to the principles and practice upon which the Judicial Committee proceeds upon applications for special leave to appeal from judicial decisions in the States which constitute the British Commonwealth of Nations. In view of opinions expressed by the Judicial Committee in such cases, and having regard to the political and constitutional development of those States, it is felt that it would be desirable and opportune that consideration should be given at the present Imperial Conference to the question of such appeals.

[matter omitted]

4. It is an essential incident of the equality of status and the legislative, judicial and constitutional independence of each member of the British Commonwealth of Nations that the question of appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council should be dealt with upon 'principles of autonomy'. In accordance with such principles it is the right (which ought to be unquestioned and indisputable) of each individual State of that Commonwealth to decide, through its legislature, whether or to what degree and in what circumstances (if any) an appeal should lie from a decision of its own Courts to any tribunal outside the State. While it is in strict accordance with such principles that an appeal should lie to the Judicial Committee from the Courts of any State in the Commonwealth which desires the continuance of such an appeal, it would be a violation of such principles to deny the right of a State which desires that finality on judicial questions should be reached within its own area to determine that such shall be the case.

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