Guardian of the Treaty

Guardian of the Treaty

Guardian of the Treaty: The Privy Council Appeal and Irish Sovereignty (Four Courts Press 2016) ISBN: 978-1-84682-587-3

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council was the final appellate court of the British Empire. In 1935 the Irish Free State was recognized as the first part of the Empire to abolish the appeal to the Privy Council. This book examines the controversial Irish appeal to the Privy Council in the wider context of the history of the British Empire in the early 20th century. In particular, it analyses Irish resistance to the imposition of the appeal in 1922 and the attempts to abolish it at the Imperial conferences of the 1920s and 1930s.

This book also outlines the means by which Irish governments attempted to block Privy Council appeals.  It examines the reality of claims that the Privy Council appeal offered a means of safeguarding the rights of the Protestant minority within the Irish Free State. Finally, it reveals British intentions that the Privy Council act as the guardian and enforcer of the settlement embodied in the 1921 Anglo Irish Treaty. The conclusion to this work explains why the Privy Council was unsuccessful in protecting this settlement.

Thomas Mohr is a lecturer at the School of Law, University College Dublin. He is honorary secretary of the Irish Legal History Society.

Reviews of ‘The Irish Stage’

One of our recent publications has been attracting widespread positive reviews on both sides of the Irish Sea. W.N. Osborough’s The Irish Stage: a Legal History (Four Courts Press, 2015) has been favourably reviewed in the Dublin Review of Books  (November 2015) and the Times Literary Supplement (March 2016) [subscription required]

Philip Astley was awarded the second Dublin theatre patent in 1788. His circus extravaganza, left, as aficionados may be aware, comes in for attention in Jane Austen’s Emma and Charles Dickens’ The Old Curiosity Shop

The book has been described as ‘meticulously researched…highly original’ (TLS), and Professor Osborough described as ‘the doyen of Irish legal academics’ (DRB). Further details about the book are available on our Publications page.

Comparative Legal History

The latest issue of Comparative Legal History is a special edition on Lay Participation in Legal Comparative Legal HistorySystems:

Markus Dubber & Heikki Pihlajamäki: ‘Lay participation in modern law: a comparative historical analysis’

David Mirhady: ‘Knowing the law and deciding justice: lay expertise in the democratic Athenian courts’

Anthony Musson: ‘Lay participation: the paradox of the jury’

Niamh Howlin:  ‘The politics of jury trials in nineteenth-century Ireland’ (limited free access here)

Simon Stern: ‘Forensic oratory and the jury trial in nineteenth-century America’

Markus Dubber: ‘The schizophrenic jury and other palladia of liberty: a critical historical analysis’