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Encyclopedia > Statute of Westminster 1931
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This article is about the Statute of Westminster relating to the British Empire and its dominions. There were also Statutes of Westminster of 1275, 1285 and 1290 (known as 'First', 'Second' and 'Third'), relating to the government of the Kingdom of England.

The Statute of Westminster 1931 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (22 & 23 Geo. V c. 4, December 11, 1931) which established a status of legislative equality between the self-governing dominions of the British Empire and the United Kingdom, with a few residual exceptions. The Statute became domestic law within each of the other Commonwealth Realms after the patriation of the particular Realm's constitution, to the extent that it was not rendered obsolete by that process. This is a list of Acts of the Scottish Parliament. ... This is a list of Acts passed by the Parliament of Northern Ireland. ... This is a list of Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly passed by that body during its existence between 2000 and 2002 when it was suspended. ... This is a list of Measures of the National Assembly for Wales. ... The is a list of Orders in Council for Northern Ireland which are primary legislation for the province when the it is being directly ruled from London and also for those powers not devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly. ... Statutory Instruments (SIs) are parts of United Kingdom law separate from Acts of Parliament which do not require full Parliamentary approval before becoming law. ... This article deals with the Statutes of Westminster passed in thirteenth century. ... An Act of Parliament or Act is law enacted by the parliament (see legislation). ... The Houses of Parliament, as seen over Westminster Bridge The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom and British overseas territories. ... December 11 is the 345th day of the year (346th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1931 (MCMXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full 1931 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... A dominion, often Dominion, is the territory or the authority of a dominus (a lord or master). ... The British Empire in 1897, marked in pink, the traditional colour for Imperial British dominions on maps. ... The Commonwealth Realms, shown in pink A Commonwealth Realm is any one of the sixteen sovereign states within the Commonwealth of Nations that recognise Elizabeth II as their respective monarch. ...


The Statute is of historical importance because it marked the effective legislative independence of these countries, either immediately or upon ratification. The residual constitutional powers retained by the Westminster parliament have now largely been superseded by subsequent legislation. Its current relevance is that it sets the basis for the continuing relationship between the Commonwealth Realms and the Crown. The Commonwealth Realms, shown in pink A Commonwealth Realm is any one of the sixteen sovereign states within the Commonwealth of Nations that recognise Elizabeth II as their respective monarch. ... Throughout the Commonwealth Realms The Crown is an abstract concept which represents the legal authority for the existence of any government. ...

Contents

Parties

The Statute applied to the dominions which existed in 1931: the Commonwealth of Australia, the Dominion of Canada, the Irish Free State, the Dominion of Newfoundland, the Dominion of New Zealand, and the Union of South Africa. It excluded revisions of the Acts of Parliament upon which the constitutions of Canada and Australia were founded (New Zealand's constitution is unwritten). A dominion, often Dominion, is the territory or the authority of a dominus (a lord or master). ... Canada is the second largest and the northern-most country in the world, occupying most of the North American land mass. ... Territory of the Irish Free State Capital Dublin Language(s) Irish, English Government Constitutional monarchy Monarch  - 1922–1936 George V  - 1936–1936 George VI President of the Executive Council  - 1922–1932 W.T. Cosgrave  - 1932–1937 Eamon de Valera Legislature Oireachtas  - Upper house Seanad Éireann  - Lower house Dáil Éireann... Motto: Quaerite Prime Regnum Dei (Latin: Seek ye first the kingdom of God) Anthem: Ode to Newfoundland Capital St. ... For alternative meanings, see New Zealand (disambiguation). ... Motto Ex Unitate Vires (Latin: From Unity, strength} Anthem Die Stem van Suid-Afrika Capital Cape Town (legislative) Pretoria (administrative) Bloemfontein (judicial) Language(s) Afrikaans, Dutch, English Government Constitutional monarchy Monarch  - 1952-1961 Queen Elizabeth II Governor-General  - 1959-1961 Charles Robberts Swart Prime Minister  - 1958-1961 Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd... The Treaty of Waitangi is an increasingly important source of constitutional law in New Zealand The constitution of New Zealand consists of a collection of statutes (Acts of Parliament), Treaties, Orders-in-Council, Letters patent, decisions of the Courts and unwritten constitutional conventions. ...


Further, it did not apply to Australia, New Zealand or Newfoundland unless and until ratified by their respective Parliaments. Australia ratified the Statute in 1942 to clarify government war powers; the adoption was backdated to the start of World War II on September 3, 1939. New Zealand adopted the Statute on November 25, 1947 by its own Statute of Westminster Adoption Act. Newfoundland never adopted the Statute; by request of its government, the United Kingdom resumed direct rule in 1934 and maintained it until Newfoundland became a province of Canada in 1949. The Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942 was an Act of the Parliament of Australia which formally accepted the Statute of Westminster 1931, an Act of the British Imperial Parliament which established the legislative independence of the various self-governing Dominions of the British Empire, allowing their parliaments and governments... 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link is to a full 1942 calendar). ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... September 3 is the 246th day of the year (247th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 329th day of the year (330th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1947 (MCMXLVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1947 calendar). ... The Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1947 was a constitutional Act of the New Zealand New Zealand Parliament that formally granted New Zealand full external autonomy. ... Year 1934 (MCMXXXIV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display full 1934 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... See also: 1948 in Canada, 1950 in Canada and the Timeline of Canadian history. ...


Equality provisions

The Statute gave effect to certain political resolutions passed by the Imperial Conferences of 1926 and 1930, in particular the Balfour Declaration of 1926. One of the effects was removing the last imperial bond of power of British Parliament over dominions. The Colonial Laws Validity Act 1865 was repealed in its applications to the dominions. After the Statute was passed, the British government could no longer make ordinary law for the dominions, other than at the request and with the consent of that dominion. Imperial Conferences were gatherings of British Empire government leaders in London in 1887, 1897, 1902, 1907, 1911, 1921, 1923, 1926, 1930 and 1937. ... Year 1926 (MCMXXVI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1930 (MCMXXX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display 1930 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Balfour Declaration of 1926 is a statement of the October-November 1926 Imperial Conference of British Empire leaders in London. ... The Colonial Laws Validity Act, 1865 was a statute enacted by the United Kingdom Parliament, in order to remove inconsistency between colonial and imperial legislation. ... 1865 (MDCCCLXV) is a common year starting on Sunday. ...


It did not, however, immediately provide for any changes to the legislation establishing the constitutions of Australia, Canada and New Zealand. This meant, for example, that many constitutional changes continued to require the intervention of the British Parliament, although only at the request and with the consent of the Dominions as described above. These residual powers were finally removed by the Canada Act 1982, the Australia Act 1986, and the New Zealand Constitution Act 1986. Wikisource has original text related to this article: Canada Act 1982 The Canada Act 1982 (1982 c. ... Australia Act 1986 (United Kingdom) document, located in Parliament House, Canberra The Australia Act 1986 is an act of the Parliament of Australia (No. ... The Constitution Act of 1986 is the principal formal statement of New Zealands Constitution. ...


The key passage of the Statute provides that:

No Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom passed after the commencement of this Act shall extend or be deemed to extend, to a Dominion as part of the law of that Dominion, unless it is expressly declared in that Act that that Dominion has requested, and consented to, the enactment thereof.

It was also enacted that:

No law and no provision of any law made after the commencement of this Act by the Parliament of a Dominion shall be void or inoperative on the ground that it is repugnant to the law of England, or to the provisions of any existing or future Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom, or to any order, rule, or regulation made under any such Act, and the powers of the Parliament of a Dominion shall include the power to repeal or amend any such Act, order, rule or regulation in so far as the same is part of the law of the Dominion.

Under the provisions of section 9 of the statute, the British Parliament still had the power to pass legislation regarding the Australian states, although "in accordance with the [existing] constitutional practice". In practice, these powers were not exercised. For example, in a referendum held in Western Australia in April 1933, 68% of voters voted for the state to leave the Commonwealth of Australia with the aim of becoming a separate Dominion within the British Empire. The state government sent a delegation to Westminster to cause the result to be enacted, but the British Parliament refused to intervene on the grounds that it was a matter for the Commonwealth of Australia. As a result no action was taken. These residual powers were removed by the Australia Act 1986. The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative institution in the United Kingdom and British overseas territories (it alone has parliamentary sovereignty). ... The states and territories of Australia make up the Commonwealth of Australia under a federal system of government. ... Capital Perth Government Constitutional monarchy Governor Ken Michael Premier Alan Carpenter (ALP) Federal representation  - House seats 15  - Senate seats 12 Gross State Product (2004-05)  - Product ($m)  $100,900 (4th)  - Product per capita  $50,355/person (3rd) Population (December 2006)  - Population  2,050,900 (4th)  - Density  0. ... 1933 (MCMXXXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ... Australia Act 1986 (United Kingdom) document, located in Parliament House, Canberra The Australia Act 1986 is an act of the Parliament of Australia (No. ...


Implications for succession to the throne

The preamble to the Statute of Westminster sets out conventions which affect attempts to change the rules of succession to the Crown. The second paragraph of the preamble to the Statute reads: HRH The Prince of Wales, the Heir Apparent. ... Throughout the Commonwealth Realms The Crown is an abstract concept which represents the legal authority for the existence of any government. ...

And whereas it is meet and proper to set out by way of preamble to this Act that, inasmuch as the Crown is the symbol of the free association of the members of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and as they are united by a common allegiance to the Crown, it would be in accord with the established constitutional position of all the members of the Commonwealth in relation to one another that any alteration in the law touching the Succession to the Throne or the Royal Style and Titles shall hereafter require the assent as well of the Parliaments of all the Dominions as of the Parliament of the United Kingdom:

This means, for example, that any change to the Act of Settlement's provisions barring Roman Catholics from the throne or giving male heirs precedence over females would require the unanimous consent of the parliaments of all the other Commonwealth realms if the unity of the Crown is to be retained. The preamble does not itself contain enforceable provisions, so the preamble merely expresses a constitutional convention, albeit one fundamental to the basis of the relationship between the Commonwealth Realms. (Of course, as sovereign nations, each is free to withdraw from the arrangement, using their respective process for constitutional amendment, and no longer be united through common allegiance to the Crown.) The Electress Sophia The Act of Settlement (12 & 13 Wm 3 c. ... The Roman Catholic Church, most often spoken of simply as the Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with over one billion members. ... A Commonwealth Realm is any one of the 16 sovereign states that recognize Queen Elizabeth II as their Queen and head of state. ... A Commonwealth Realm is any one of the 16 sovereign states that recognize Queen Elizabeth II as their Queen and head of state. ...


Before King Edward VIII abdicated in 1936, British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin consulted the Commonwealth Prime Ministers, at the King's request. The King had wanted to marry Wallis Simpson who, being a divorcée, was considered by British politicians an unacceptable person to become Queen. Edward VIII (Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David; later The Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor; 23 June 1894 – 28 May 1972) was King of Great Britain, Ireland, the British Dominions beyond the Seas, and Emperor of India from the death of his father, George V (1910–36), on 20... Abdication (from the Latin abdicatio disowning, renouncing, from ab, from, and dicare, to declare, to proclaim as not belonging to one), the act whereby a person in office renounces and gives up the same before the expiry of the time for which it is held. ... 1936 (MCMXXXVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, KG, PC (3 August 1867 – 14 December 1947) was a British statesman and thrice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. ... Wallis, Duchess of Windsor and the Duke of Windsor on their wedding day Bessie Wallis Warfield, more widely known as Wallis Simpson and later The Duchess of Windsor (June 19, 1896–April 24, 1986) was the wife of Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor, the former King Edward VIII of the...


Baldwin was able to get the four Dominion Prime Ministers to agree with this consensus, and thus register their official disapproval over the King's planned marriage. The King later requested the Commonwealth Prime Ministers be consulted on a compromise plan, in which he would wed Simpson under a morganatic marriage and thus not have her become Queen. Under Baldwin's pressure, this plan was also rejected by the Dominions. All of these negotiations occurred at a strictly diplomatic level and never went to the Commonwealth parliaments. However, the enabling legislation that allowed for the actual abdication did require the consent of the Commonwealth parliaments. A morganatic marriage is a type of marriage which can be contracted in certain countries, usually between persons of unequal social rank (unebenbürtig in German), which prevents the passage of the husbands titles and privileges to the wife and any children born of the marriage. ...


When Edward abdicated, the South African Parliament formally voted to "approve" the King's decision. The move was largely done for symbolic purposes, in an attempt by Prime Minister J.B.M. Hertzog to assert South Africa's "independence" from Britain. South Africa would eventually become a republic in 1961. James Barry Munnik Hertzog, better known as Barry Hertzog, (1866-1942) was Prime Minister of South Africa from 1924 to 1939. ... in particular, for the archaizing senses of republic, as a translation of politeia or res publica Forms of government Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      A republic is a form of government maintained by a state or country whose sovereignty is based on popular consent and whose... See also: 1960 in South Africa, other events of 1961, 1962 in South Africa and the Timeline of South African history. ...


In other Realms the effects of Edward's abdication were more direct. In Canada, it was this abdication that first demonstrated that the Canadian parliament now had control over the line of succession within its jurisdiction; with Canada passing the Succession to the Throne Act (1 Geo. VI, c.16) to effect changes to the rules of succession in Canada to assure consistency with the changes in the rules then in place in Great Britain.[1] In Ireland, the laws allowing for the abdication of Edward as King of Ireland were not passed until the day following each of the other Realms, which hypothetically meant that Ireland had a different monarch for twenty-four hours. Further, Prime Minister Eamon de Valera used the departure of the Monarch as an opportunity to remove all monarchical language from the Constitution of the Irish Free State. A new "native" constitution, Bunreacht na hÉireann was approved by Irish voters in 1937, with the Irish Free State becoming simply "Ireland", or Éire. Ireland became a republic in 1949 (taking the "official description" Republic of Ireland). The Parliament of Canada (French: Parlement du Canada) is Canadas legislative branch, seated at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario. ... The President of the Executive Council (Irish: Uachtaráin na hArd-Chomhairle) was the head of government or prime minister of the 1922-1937 Irish Free State, and the leader of the Executive Council (cabinet). ... Eamon de Valera (born Edward George de Valera, sometimes Gaelicised Éamon de Bhailéara; October 14, 1882 – August 29, 1975), was an Irish politician, best known as a leader of Irelands struggle for independence from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in the early 20th century, and... The Constitution of the Irish Free State was the constitution of the independent Irish state established in December 1922. ... The Constitution of Ireland is the founding legal document of the state known today as the Republic of Ireland. ... See also: 1936 in Ireland, 1938 in Ireland and the list of years in Ireland. Events January 22 - The National Council of Women of Ireland is agitating to form a womens police force. ... Map of Éire Éire (pronounced ) is the Irish name for Ireland. ... See also: 1948 in Ireland, other events of 1949, 1950 in Ireland and the list of years in Ireland. // Events March 22 - The Irish Government leases a residence in the Phoenix Park to the United States government for a period of 99 years. ...


The convention about altering the "Royal Style and Titles" was altered by the Commonwealth Prime Ministers in 1953, when they agreed to pass individual Royal Styles and Titles Acts to enact different royal styles in each Realm. 1953 (MCMLIII) was a common year starting on Thursday. ...


Since 1931, over a dozen new "Commonwealth Realms" have been created, all of which now hold the same powers as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand over matters of change to the Monarchy (Ireland and South Africa are now republics, and Newfoundland is part of Canada). This has raised some logistical concerns, as it would mean sixteen parliaments would all have to vote to approve any future changes, such as the abolition of male-preference primogeniture. The Commonwealth Realms, shown in pink A Commonwealth Realm is any one of the sixteen sovereign states within the Commonwealth of Nations that recognise Elizabeth II as their respective monarch. ... This does not cite its references or sources. ...


See also

The Houses of Parliament in London The Westminster system is a democratic, parliamentary system of government modeled after that of the United Kingdom system, as used in the Palace of Westminster, the location of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. ... The Chanak Crisis (also called the Chanak Affair) occurred in September 1922, when British and French troops stationed near Çanakkale (also called Chanak) to guard the neutral zone of the Dardanelles were threatened with attack by Turkish troops after the recapture of İzmir (Smyrna) following the Greek defeat. ...

External links

Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Statute of Westminster 1931

Image File history File links Wikisource-logo. ... The original Wikisource logo. ...

Footnotes

  1. ^ O'Donohue v. Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Canada


Constitution of Canada
v  d  e
Constitution Act, 1867
Division of powers | Peace, order and good government | Criminal law power | Trade and Commerce clause | Works and Undertakings | Property and civil rights | Disallowance and reservation

Canada Act 1982
Constitution Act, 1982
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms | Aboriginal Rights clause | Amending formula

List of Canadian constitutional documents

History of the Constitution
Royal Proclamation of 1763 | Quebec Act | Constitutional Act of 1791 | Act of Union 1840 | British North America Acts | Statute of Westminster 1931
Constitutional debate
Fulton-Favreau formula | Victoria Charter | Meech Lake Accord | Charlottetown Accord | Calgary Declaration | Other unsuccessful amendments
Interpretation of the Constitution
Pith and substance | Double aspect | Paramountcy | Living tree | Implied Bill of Rights | Dialogue principle | Interjurisdictional immunity

  Results from FactBites:
 
Statute of Westminster 1931 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1222 words)
The Statute of Westminster 1931 was the enactment of the United Kingdom Parliament (December 11, 1931) which established a status of legislative equality between the self-governing dominions of the British Empire and the United Kingdom.
The Statute is sometimes referred to, especially in the former dominions, as the Treaty of Westminster, although it was not in the form of a treaty.
The Statute gave effect to certain political resolutions passed by the Imperial Conferences of 1926 and 1930, in particular the Balfour Declaration of 1926.
Statute of Westminster (533 words)
The Statute of Westminster 1931 was the enactment of the United Kingdom Parliament (December 11, 1931) which established the legislative sovereignty of the self-governing Dominions of the British Empire.
The 1931 Statute of Westminster formalised the independence of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Irish Free State, South Africa and Newfoundland except in relation to revision of the acts of parliament upon which the constitutions of Canada, Australia and New Zealand were founded.
Adoption of the Statute was strongly opposed by conservatives in Australia, and it was not until 1942 that it was finally adopted to clarify Government war powers (the adoption was backdated to the start of World War II in September 1939).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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