McCawley v The King: PC 8 Mar 1920

The Board was asked whether a Queensland statute authorising the Governor in Council to appoint a judge of the Court of Industrial Arbitration to hold office for seven years, was in fatal conflict with a provision of the 1859 Order in Council and a section of the Constitution Act 1867.
Held: It was not, since the legislature of Queensland had power to enact the Queensland statute both under s.5 of the 1865 Act and under clause 22 of the Order in Council. Lord Birkenhead compared and contrasted controlled and uncontrolled constitutions: ‘ . . a constitution [is not] debarred from being reckoned as an uncontrolled constitution because it is not, like the British constitution, constituted by historic development, but finds its genesis in an originating document which may contain some conditions which cannot be altered except by the power which gave it birth. It is of the greatest importance to notice that where the constitution is uncontrolled the consequences of its freedom admit of no qualification whatever.’
A State Constitution can generally be amended as easily as any other Act. They occupy ‘precisely the same position as a Dog Act or any other Act, however humble its subject matter.’

Lord Birkenhead
[1920] AC 691, [1920] UKPC 22
Colonial Laws Validity Act 1865 5
Cited by:
CitedRegina on the Application of Jackson and others v HM Attorney General CA 16-Feb-2005
The applicant asserted that the 2004 Act was invalid having been passed under the procedure in the 1949 Act, reducing the period by which the House of Lords could delay legislation; the 1949 Act was invalid, being delegated legislation, had used the . .
CitedJackson and Others, Regina (on the Application of) v Her Majesty’s Attorney General Admn 28-Jan-2005
The 2004 Act had been passed without the approval of the House of Lords and under the provisions of the 1911 Act as amended by the 1949 Act. The 1949 Act had used the provisions of the 1911 Act to amend the 1911 Act. The claimant said this meant . .
CitedJackson and others v Attorney General HL 13-Oct-2005
The applicant sought to challenge the 2004 Hunting Act, saying that it had been passed under the provisions of the 1949 Parliament Act which was itself an unlawful extension of the powers given by the 1911 Parliament Act to allow the House of . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 07 January 2022; Ref: scu.222715