Parliamentary Sovereignty and the Commonwealth

Parliamentary Sovereignty and the Commonwealth

Parliamentary Sovereignty and the Commonwealth

Parliamentary Sovereignty and the Commonwealth

Excerpt

It would be interesting to know what precise accidents or experiences provoke the writing of books and the choice of topics for academic study. Often the student himself cannot say. I suspect that the origin of a long-standing fascination by the idea of sovereignty might, in the present case, be traced to a first undergraduate reading of the passage in which Sir Ivor Jennings explains that De Lolme was mistaken in thinking that Parliament could do anything except make a man into a woman and a woman into a man; since if Parliament enacted that all men should be women, they would be women as far as the law is concerned. The intellectual neatness of this arrangement impressed and convinced me at the time, but I have wondered ever since why there is (so far as I know) no full-length study of so curious a constitutional principle.

The present work can hardly make any such pretension. It is rather an attempt to look at some of the traditional implications of the sovereignty doctrine in the light of certain ideas about the function and description of legal rules in theoretical writing about law, and also of recent constitutional developments outside the United Kingdom.

My obligations in respect of encouragement, criticism, and advice are many. I am deeply indebted on all three counts to Professor W. J. M. Mackenzie of Manchester, and Howard Warrender of Glasgow. I also have much kindness and assistance to acknowledge in Oxford. To Professor H. L. A. Hart and to Mr. K. C. Wheare, the Rector of Exeter, I owe a debt which is both personal and one which is shared with all students of legal theory and constitutional practice.

Many people have helped me to secure important material. I must acknowledge with gratitude the permission of Professor E. C. S. Wade and the Government of the Union of South Africa to reprint and to quote from the legal opinion drafted by Professor Wade in 1952. In that year a summary of the opinion was published in the South African daily press, but Professor Wade has very generously allowed me to see and to make use of . . .

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