The Crown and Constitutional Reform is an innovative, interdisciplinary exchange between experts in law, anthropology and politics about the Crown, constitutional monarchy and the potential for constitutional reform in Commonwealth common law countries.
The constitutional foundation of many Commonwealth countries is the Crown, an icon of ultimate authority, at once familiar yet curiously enigmatic. Is it a conceptual placeholder for the state, a symbol of sovereignty or does its ambiguity make it a shapeshifter, a legal fiction that can be deployed as an expedient mask for executive power and convenient instrument for undermining democratic accountability? This volume offers a novel, interdisciplinary exchange: the contributors analyse how the Crown operates in the United Kingdom and the postcolonial settler societies of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. In doing so, they examine fundamental theoretical questions about statehood, sovereignty, constitutionalism and postcolonial reconciliation. As Queen Elizabeth II’s long reign approaches its end, questions about the Crown’s future, its changing forms and meanings, the continuing value of constitutional monarchy and its potential for reform, gain fresh urgency.
The chapters in this book were originally published in a special issue of The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs.