Irish Constitutional Law in Two New Volumes by Donal Coffey

7. August 2018

In two new volumes, recently published within the Palgrave Modern Legal History book series, Donal Coffey looks at the history of Irish constitutionalism. The work was part of his PhD project and was finished in the MPIeR. The first volume »Constitutionalism in Ireland, 1932–1938. National, Commonwealth, and International Perspectives« considers the history of Irish constitutionalism in the 1930s against the backdrop of the Irish Free State's push to disentangle itself from the British Commonwealth of Nations in order to pursue a more independent constitutional policy. It situates the Irish experience with constitutionalism within broader international trends. In the second volume »Drafting the Irish Constitution, 1935–1937. Transnational Influences in Interwar Europe«, he demonstrates the influences that contemporary constitutions had on the drafting of the new 1937 Constitution and charts the drafting process, based on a new draft chronology.

Open Access Article on Secession in the British Commonwealth of Nations

Coffey also recently published an article in the Journal of Legal History that is available open access, thanks to an agreement between the Max Planck Society and the publisher, Taylor and Francis.
»The Right to Shoot Himself« considers the legal and political means by which a country could leave the British Empire between 1920 and 1948, with specific reference to the cases of South Africa, Ireland, Burma, and India. While tracing the evolution of the arguments about the right to secede in the 1930s, Coffey analyses how the right came eventually to be exercised in the case of the new commonwealth countries in the 1940s. He concludes by examining how the doctrine of secession as developed in the 1930s was abandoned in order to retain Indian membership in the commonwealth.
The article forms part of Coffey's project at the MPIeR about the evolution of Commonwealth and Imperial constitutional law in the inter-War period, with specific reference to the views from the imperial periphery.

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