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Government of Ireland Act, 1920 Essay

Government of Ireland Act, 1920 Essay Sample 

In the following essay sample, we shall focus upon the “Government of Ireland Act, 1920” broadly. We shall cover the two home rules in Ireland, powers under this Act, the Anglo Irish treaty, liabilities under this Act, and courts and judges.

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The whole of Ireland was under the rule of the British until the 1920s as many nationalists started their protest against the British and wanted independence from their rule. There was an Irish Republic Army that started guerilla warfare against the British which was known as the Anglo Irish war.

As a result of this conflict, Britain formed new legislation called as “Government of Ireland Act, 1920” in December. This Act stated that Ireland would remain as part of Britain with limited freedom of controlling their own affairs. This initiated the Home Rule in Ireland.

Two Home Rule in Ireland 

The Government of Ireland Act, 1920 was introduced basically for doing partition of Ireland into two islands of Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland (which later was an Irish free state). It was decided that six counties will go with Northern Ireland and the rest twenty-six counties will be going with Southern Ireland.

Each region having a home rule parliament which deals with the local issues and Britain would exercise its power on foreign policy and international affairs and subjects like military and external affairs. The local parliaments were responsible for the collection of the local taxes and Westminster controlled the major taxes.

A Council of Ireland was set up and established as representative of both Northern and Southern Ireland to discuss the issues of mutual interest and to establish a single body as a parliament for complete Ireland. These systems of parliament were based on the Westminster bicameral system.

The lower house located in Belfast had 52 members and 128 members in Dublin. There were restrictions on the parliaments who were the law-making body.

Powers Under the Government of Ireland Act, 1920 

The Government of Ireland Act, 1920 has in total 76 sections that are for addressing various issues of the two parliaments, the council of Ireland, legislative power, powers of court and judges, executive power, power to establish a single parliament, and transfer provision, etc.

The executive powers are being vested in the Lord Lieutenant from both Northern and Southern Ireland. Lord Lieutenant exercises his powers which are delegated to him by the Crown. He has the power to appoint a cabinet to deal with the executive matters and the cabinet is not accountable to either of the parliaments in Ireland. Few matters of the executive lie with the Crown in council.

Section 20 of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920 have created a separate consolidated fund for both Northern and Southern Ireland. It also conferred powers to the parliaments to make laws on the collection of taxes by also exercising their jurisdiction and it does not extend to any excise, custom duties or corporation, and income tax.

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Liabilities Under the Government of Ireland Act, 1920

Section 23 of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920 states that there must be a contribution made towards the imperial liabilities and expenditure of the United Kingdom. The liabilities could either be funded or nonfunded debts of the UK and for the land purchase in Ireland.

Section 32 of this Act made the provision for an appointment of the Joint Exchequer Board were the five members each appointed by a Treasury. The Board is meant for resolving the issues of the Irish expenditure or revenue and any overlapping of the taxes by British and Irish parliaments.

Council of Ireland 

Section 2 of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920 established the Council of Ireland which aimed to unify the whole of Ireland. It had around twenty members from Northern and Southern Ireland both the parliaments.

The two parliaments hold the delegation powers to the Council so that it can administer the issue arising in the railway department, illnesses, and fisheries in Ireland. It had the power to vote to create a single body of rule or parliament that can replace the council.

The Anglo Irish Treaty

The Anglo-Irish treaty was first established in the year 1921 as an independent body in Ireland and this independent dominion in Ireland would apply to the entire island of Ireland under section 12 of the treaty where North was given an option to opt-out from it.

The Irish Free State Act 1922 was the Act that amended the provisions of this particular Act which can be only applied to the north and finally the provisions of the Act were repealed in the north under the Northern Ireland Act, 1988 and in the south under Statute Law Revision Act, 2007.

Courts and Judges

Section 38 of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920 established the two separate supreme courts in both southern and northern Ireland which was further divided into the High Court of Justice and Court of Appeal.

The high court located in southern Ireland had a sitting of seven judges and in northern Ireland had a sitting of three judges. The Court of Appeal had a Lord Chief Justice and other two judges as the Lord’s Justices of Appeal in both northern and southern Ireland.

An appeal can be made from the court of appeal to the high court of appeal under section 43 of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920. The high court of appeal had jurisdiction over the questions under the Crown Cases Act, 1848, and all the decisions made in the court of appeal in both southern and northern Ireland.

Section 49 of this Act states the provision for an appeal for the decision made by the High Court of Appeal to the House of Lords. It only takes up appeals from the person aggrieved due to the decision of the high court appeal for Ireland only in proceedings of the quo warranto, mandamus, certiorari or prohibition.

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The above-written essay sample is based on the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, and important provisions of this Act.

Legal Studies QQI Level 5, Law QQI Level 5, Legal Practice and Procedures QQI Level 5, Political Studies QQI Level 5 students can read and benefit from the above-written essay sample on the Legal Action of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920.

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