SYNOPSIS:

New Dominion constitutionalism represents a crucial but understudied critical juncture for decolonizing nations at the twilight of the British Empire – and a key institutional antecedent to later, better known constitutional transitions. Drawing from the ideas and practices of the Old Settler Dominions and the ‘Bridge Dominion’ of Ireland, the New Dominion constitutionalism offered an interim frame of government for political transitions in India (1947-1950), Pakistan (1947-1956), and Sri Lanka (1948-1972). Both transitional and transnational, New Dominionhood was a modality of decolonisation by constitutional means and a template for establishing the legal basis for constituting the fully independent states. This paper focuses on the litigation over the dissolution of Pakistan’s first Constituent Assembly to illustrate the critical long-term impact of Dominion status on Pakistan’s rise and configuration of authoritarian constitutionalism. FULL DETAILS