With regard to appeals under the Clergy Discipline Act 1892 (dealing with morals), there is an alternate right of appeal from the consistory court of bishops either to the court of the arch bishop or to the king in council direct. If the appellant elects the former there is no further appeal to the king in council. On the hearing of ecclesiastical appeals under the rules made under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876, five bishops have to be sum moned as ecclesiastical assessors, of whom three at least have to be present. Under the Endowed Schools Act, 36 and 37 Vic. chap.
87, appeals lie to his majesty in council from schemes prepared by the Board of Education affecting schools subject to the En dowed Schools Acts. Under the Union of Benefices Measure 1923 of the national assembly of the Church of England, an appeal lies to the king in council against a scheme of the ecclesiastical com missioners uniting two or more benefices.
It is provided by the third section : "That all appeals or complaints in the nature of appeals whatever, which, either by virtue of this Act, or of any law, statute, or custom, may be brought before his majesty or his majesty in council from or in respect of the determination, sentence, rule, or order of any court, judge, or judicial officer, and all such appeals as are now pending and unheard, shall from and after the passing of this Act be referred by his majesty to the said judicial committee of his privy council, and that such appeals, causes, and matters shall be heard by the said judicial committee, and a report or recommendation thereon shall be made to his majesty in council for his decision thereon as heretofore, in the same manner and form as has been heretofore the custom with respect to matters referred by his majesty to the whole of his privy council or a committee thereof (the nature of such report or recommendation being always stated in open court)." The British Dominions.---In 1867 the famous British North America Act was passed. It disclosed within its constitution ques tions of a high and delicate order. The principal of these ques tions was contained in the enumeration by s. 91 of the powers of the Dominion parliament and by s. 92 of the exclusive powers of provincial legislatures. It became at once evident that the task of clearing the boundary lines not only inter-provincially but between Dominion and province would be a task of severe strain. The authority of the judicial committee of the privy council was clear from the Act of 1833, but the Canadian parliament thought fit to emphasize that situation by the 47th section of their Supreme and Exchequer Courts Act (38 Vic. chap. t 1). That section is in the following terms : "The judgment of the Supreme Court shall in all cases be final and conclusive, and no appeal shall be brought from any judgment or order of the Supreme Court to any court of appeal established by the parliament of Great Britain and Ireland, by which appeals or petitions to her majesty may be ordered to be heard: saving any right which her majesty may be graciously pleased to exercise by virtue of her royal prerogative." Under the powers vested in it, the judicial committee has pro nounced a series of judgments the constitutional importance of which is recognized throughout the world. Every year appears to bring a fresh crop of questions to be solved, arising out of the construction of the British North America Act.
The settlement of the constitutional relations of the various States of Australia with each other, their federation into one commonwealth, and the adjustment of their relations judicially with the imperial authority and royal prerogative were settled by the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, 63 and 64 Vic. chap. 12. It has to be noted that in ordinary cases by force of the royal prerogative an appeal may be admitted to the judicial committee; but in constitutional cases such an appeal is only allowed on a certification of the High Court of Australia. Section 74 of the Act is in these terms : "No appeal shall be permitted to the queen in council from a decision of the High Court upon any question, howsoever arising, as to the limits inter se of the constitutional powers of the common wealth and those of any State or States, or as to the limits inter se of the constitutional powers of any two or more States, unless the High Court shall certify that the question is one which ought to be determined by her majesty in council. The High Court may so certify
if satisfied that for any special reason the certificate should be granted, and thereupon an appeal shall lie to her majesty in council on the question without further leave. Except as provided in this section, this constitution shall not impair any right which the queen may be pleased to exercise by virtue of her royal prerogative to grant special leave of appeal from the High Court to her majesty in council. The parliament may make laws limiting the matters in which such leave may be asked, but proposed laws containing any such limitation shall be reserved by the governor-general for her majesty's pleasure." In 1909 there was passed on Sept. 20 an Act to constitute the Union of South Africa. This Act was the result of severe parlia mentary and constitutional struggles following the South African War. Judicial affairs were regulated substantially on the Cana dian model. By s. 106 of the statute it was provided: "There shall be no appeal from the Supreme Court of South Africa or from any division thereof to the king in council, but nothing herein contained shall be construed to impair any right which the king in council may be pleased to exercise to grant special leave to appeal from the appellate division to the king in council. Parliament may make laws limiting the matters in respect of which such special leave may be asked, but bills containing any such limitation shall be reserved by the governor-general for the signification of his majesty's pleasure: provided that nothing in this section shall affect any right of appeal to his majesty in council from any judgment given by the appellate division of the Supreme Court under or in virtue of the Colonial Courts of Admiralty Act 1899." The effect of these provisions came prominently into view in the adjusting of the relations between the judicial committee and the Government of Ireland during the negotiations under which the constitution of the Irish Free State was framed. By the Act of Dec. 5, 1922, the Irish Free State Constitution Act, the various articles of the constitution were set forth in schedule I. The 66th article is as follows : "The Supreme Court of the Irish Free State (Saorstat Eireann) shall, with such exceptions (not including cases which involve questions as to the validity of any law) and subject to such regulations as may be prescribed by law, have appellate jurisdiction from all decisions of the High Court. The decision of the Supreme Court shall in all cases be final and conclusive, and shall not be reviewed or capable of being reviewed by any other court, tribunal or authority whatsoever: provided that nothing in this constitution shall impair the right of any person to petition his majesty for special leave to appeal from the Supreme Court to his majesty in council or the right of his majesty to grant such leave.'' It will be seen that the main lines of this judicial settlement fol lowed almost precisely those applicable to the Dominion of Canada. And it will be further and particularly observed that there has not been granted to the legislature of Ireland the power granted to the parliaments of Australia and South Africa respec tively, as just quoted, namely, to "make laws limiting the matters in which such special leave may be asked" with reservations by the General one considering this brief sketch of the widening of the scope of such a jurisdiction can fail to be impressed by several cardinal facts. in the first place, this jurisdiction has marked and kept pace with the development of the empire itself. Secondly, and in a singular degree, the judicial committee has formed a central and cohesive power attaching not Crown colonies alone, but the self-governing portions of the em pire in homage to a jurisprudence which, developing from year to year and from precedent to precedent, has proved the adaptability of law under enlightened administration to circumstances and to peoples and even to stages of civilization, of infinite variety The next consideration is of great import. It explains why the variety alluded to has been found compatible with the maintenance of law under conditions at once local and yet central and imperial. The reason is found in the genius of the British people, and the remarkable grasp within the sphere of law of the principle of self government. The difference between British jurisprudence and the jurisprudence of Rome or, say, in modern times, of Germany, is that to the world Rome gave Roman law, and to the modern world Germany desired to give German law; but the British empire gives to its component parts their own law. This imposes a task of great complexity. Systems of jurisprudence totally different in outward seeming, but respectively in entire accord with the historical and tribal traditions of the various populations and parts of empire, have to be administered in such a fashion as to accept and respect not only established local traditions, customs and laws but also the hereditary and prized rules of succession, rights of property and even of religion prevailing in various quarters of the To take India for an example, the application of Hindu law to the Mohammedans, or of Buddhist law to Hindus, instead of uniting the empire might break it to pieces.