The enactment of the Statute of Westminster in 1931 represents one of the most significant events in the history of the British Empire. The very name of this historic piece of legislation, with its medieval antecedents, epitomizes a sense of enduring grandeur and dignity. The Statute of Westminster recognized significant advances in the evolution of the self-governing Dominions into fully sovereign states. The term “Dominion” was initially adopted in relation to Canada, but was extended in 1907 to refer to all self-governing colonies of white settlement that had been evolving in the direction of greater autonomy since the middle of the nineteenth century. By the early 1930s, the Dominions included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Newfoundland, and the Irish Free State.
Thomas Mohr, B.A., L.L.B., M.A., Ph.D. is a lecturer at the School of Law, University College Dublin <[email protected]>. He is also secretary of the Irish Legal History Society and book review editor with the Irish Jurist.