Foster 29Throughout August and September 2014 the Supreme Court will be holding an exhibition on its second floor before the start of the new court year.

The exhibition is being prepared by a team of academics led by Dr Charlotte L. Smith, Dr Nandini Chatterjee and Dr Stacey Hynd, who will be focusing on the role of Judicial Committee of Privy Council (JCPC) from its modern formation in 1933 to the emergence of the Commonwealth in the 1950s. The exhibition will explore how the JCPC served as an evolving hub of the British Empire and how its judges applied the common law to both translate and mediate at the crossroads of Britain’s colonial interests.

The exhibition will include a variety of the most intriguing past cases from across the British Empire and will also explore questions between the relationship of governments, national courts and the international legal order.

Cases have been specifically chosen to allude to the personal stories behind interesting legal issues, such as:

A British doctor working in Ghana in 1920s who was charged with the murder of his wife. His case drew to the harsh nature of criminal procedures for African defendants and sparked an outcry in Britain due to his subsequent conviction and death sentence.

The ‘famous five’ Canadian women who successfully challenged the Canadian Supreme Court’s decision that women were ineligible to hold seats in the Canadian senate under British North America Act 1867.

An African protestor in (what was then) Southern Rhodesia who was imprisoned under regulations passed by the colony’s legislation council after its unilateral declaration of independence in Britain and should have been freed after the JCPC held that regulations were invalid but in fact remained a prisoner for a further 9 years.

A series of educational days for school students and two public lectures will also accompany the exhibition throughout August and September. These have been supported by the Supreme Court, the University of Exeter, the University of Reading, the Journal of Legal History and Hart Publishing.