Document Type

Book Review

Comments

28 Yale Law Journal 297 (1919)

Abstract

Mr. Edward Jenks is well known from his many contributions to the history of medieval and English law. The present is a work of somewhat different kind. It is an account of the institutions and practical operation of the British government intended for general reading and study: for "those who have not yet the leisure, or who have not yet arrived at the age, to appreciate" the larger and more technical works, as the preface says. It must be said that Mr. Jenks has succeeded admirably in his purpose, and has made a book which ought to be of great value to the public. It is written in an attractive style; the presentation, though full enough and accurate, is not technical; and the subjects to be emphasized are so well selected that the account is clear and easily retained. The understanding of the various institutions and their operation is made easier by brief historical accounts of their origin and development, going often to remote beginnings, which explain how their especially important features came to be what they are. The book begins with an account of the king's position and of the limited monarchy. Then the position in the Empire of the Dominions and other colonies and possessions is described. There follow chapters on the Cabinet, Parliament, the army and navy, and the Treasury and the other Departments. Particularly interesting to Americans should be the last four chapters dealing with institutions which are essentially the same as ours but rather differently organized: the courts of justice, the established churches, and the two last on local government, allusions to which are often a puzzle to us. While constitutional legislation during the war period is adequately dealt with, there is no attempt to estimate the possible changes which have taken place in the unwritten law of the constitution, as for instance in the responsibility of the Cabinet to Parliament, of which no one can yet predict the permanent effect.

Date of Authorship for this Version

1919

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