Antonin Gregory Scalia was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1986 until his death in 2016. Appointed to the Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, Scalia was described as the intellectual anchor for the originalist and textualist position in the Court's conservative wing. Scalia was born in New Jersey, he attended Xavier High School in Manhattan and college at Georgetown University in Washington, D. C, he obtained his law degree from Harvard Law School and spent six years in a Cleveland law firm before becoming a law school professor at the University of Virginia. In the early 1970s, he served in the Nixon and Ford administrations as an Assistant Attorney General, he spent most of the Carter years teaching at the University of Chicago, where he became one of the first faculty advisers of the fledgling Federalist Society. In 1982, Ronald Reagan appointed him as judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In 1986, Reagan appointed him to the Supreme Court.
Scalia was unanimously confirmed by the Senate. He served on the Court for nearly thirty years until his death on February 13, 2016. Scalia espoused a conservative jurisprudence and ideology, advocating textualism in statutory interpretation and originalism in constitutional interpretation, he was a strong defender of the powers of the executive branch, believing presidential power should be paramount in many areas. He believed that the Constitution permitted the death penalty and did not guarantee the right to abortion or same-sex marriage, that affirmative action and most other policies that afforded special protected status to minority groups were unconstitutional; these positions earned him a reputation as one of the most conservative justices on the Court. He filed separate opinions in many cases castigating the Court's majority using scathing language. Scalia's most significant opinions include his lone dissent in Morrison v. Olson, his majority opinion in Crawford v. Washington, his majority opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller.
Scalia was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2018. Antonin Scalia was an only child, his father, Salvatore Eugene Scalia, an Italian immigrant from Sommatino, graduated from Rutgers University and was a graduate student at Columbia University and clerk at the time of his son's birth. The elder Scalia would become a professor of Romance languages at Brooklyn College, where he was an adherent to the formalist New Criticism school of literary theory, his mother, Catherine Louise Scalia, was born in Trenton to Italian immigrant parents and worked as an elementary school teacher. In 1939, Scalia and his family moved to the Elmhurst section of Queens, New York, where he attended P. S. 13. After completing eighth grade in public school, he obtained an academic scholarship to Xavier High School, a Jesuit military school in Manhattan, where he graduated first in the class of 1953 and served as valedictorian, he stated that he spent much of his time on schoolwork and admitted, "I was never cool".
While a youth, he was active as a Boy Scout and was part of the Scouts' national honor society, the Order of the Arrow. Classmate and future New York State official William Stern remembered Scalia in his high school days: "This kid was a conservative when he was 17 years old. An archconservative Catholic, he could have been a member of the Curia. He was the top student in the class, he was brilliant, way above everybody else."In 1953, Scalia enrolled at Georgetown University, where he graduated valedictorian and summa cum laude in 1957 with a Bachelor of Arts in history. While in college, he was a champion collegiate debater in Georgetown's Philodemic Society and a critically praised thespian, he took his junior year abroad at the University of Switzerland. Scalia studied law at Harvard Law School, he graduated magna cum laude in 1960. The fellowship enabled him to travel in Europe during 1960 and 1961. Scalia began his legal career at the international law firm Jones, Day and Reavis in Cleveland, where he worked from 1961 to 1967.
He was regarded at the law firm and would most have been made a partner but said he had long intended to teach. He became a professor of law at the University of Virginia in 1967, moving his family to Charlottesville. After four years in Charlottesville, Scalia entered public service in 1971. President Richard Nixon appointed him general counsel for the Office of Telecommunications Policy, where one of his principal assignments was to formulate federal policy for the growth of cable television. From 1972 to 1974, he was chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States, a small independent agency that sought to improve the functioning of the federal bureaucracy. In mid-1974, Nixon nominated him as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel. After Nixon's resignation, the nomination was continued by President Gerald Ford, Scalia was confirmed by the Senate on August 22, 1974. In the aftermath of Watergate, the Ford administration was engaged in a number of conflicts with Congress.
Scalia testified before congressional committees, defending Ford administration assertions of executive privilege regarding its refusal to turn over documents. W
High Court of New Zealand
The High Court of New Zealand is the superior court of New Zealand. It has general jurisdiction and responsibility, under the Senior Courts Act 2016, as well as the High Court Rules 2016, for the administration of justice throughout New Zealand. There are 18 High Court locations throughout New Zealand, plus one stand-alone registry; the High Court was established in 1841. It was called the "Supreme Court of New Zealand", but the name was changed in 1980 to make way for the naming of an eventual new Supreme Court of New Zealand; the High Court hears cases in the first instance which exceed the jurisdiction of the District Court and other lower courts. This includes civil claims exceeding $350,000, serious criminal cases such as homicides. In its appellate function, the High Court hears appeals from the District Court, other lower courts and various tribunals; the High Court comprises the Chief Justice of up to 55 other Judges. The administrative head of the court is known as the Chief High Court Judge.
Associate Judges of the High Court supervise the Court's preliminary processes in most civil proceedings, have jurisdiction to deal with summary judgment applications, company liquidations, bankruptcy proceedings, some other types of civil proceedings. The High Court Judges and Associate Judges are based in Auckland and Christchurch, but travel on circuit to Whangarei, Rotorua, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Whanganui, Palmerston North, Blenheim, Timaru and Invercargill; the Court has a registry in Masterton. The High Court deals with the most serious types of criminal offences that exceed the District Court's jurisdiction, it deals with all category 4 offences, including murder and treason, as well as any other offence where the accused is to be sentenced to life imprisonment or preventive detention. A High Court Judge may direct that a serious category 2 and 3 "protocol" offence, such as aggravated wounding with intent, kidnapping or sexual violation of a child, be transferred from the District Court to the High Court for hearing.
Most cases may sometimes be heard before a judge alone. The Court deals only with those civil claims that exceed the jurisdiction of the District Court or other courts and tribunals, including cases where the amount in dispute exceeds $350,000 or where complex issues are involved; this jurisdiction includes matters concerning admiralty, company law, the administration of estates and trusts, property transfer, land valuation, many other areas. Rights of appeal to the High Court exist against the decisions of the District Court, the Family Court, the Youth Court and the Environment Court and numerous administrative tribunals and regulatory bodies; the following are the judges of the High Court as of April 2019: The Trans-Tasman Proceedings Act 2010, the Trans-Tasman Proceedings Act 2010 and the High Court Rules 2016 streamline the process for resolving civil proceedings with a trans-Tasman element. The Acts cover many matters including service, interim relief, hearing matters remotely and the enforcement of judgments of courts of the other country.
The High Court of New Zealand High Court Rules 2016 Judicial Decisions Online
In law, common law is that body of law derived from judicial decisions of courts and similar tribunals. The defining characteristic of "common law" is. In cases where the parties disagree on what the law is, a common law court looks to past precedential decisions of relevant courts, synthesizes the principles of those past cases as applicable to the current facts. If a similar dispute has been resolved in the past, the court is bound to follow the reasoning used in the prior decision. If, the court finds that the current dispute is fundamentally distinct from all previous cases, legislative statutes are either silent or ambiguous on the question, judges have the authority and duty to resolve the issue; the court states an opinion that gives reasons for the decision, those reasons agglomerate with past decisions as precedent to bind future judges and litigants. Common law, as the body of law made by judges, stands in contrast to and on equal footing with statutes which are adopted through the legislative process, regulations which are promulgated by the executive branch.
Stare decisis, the principle that cases should be decided according to consistent principled rules so that similar facts will yield similar results, lies at the heart of all common law systems. The common law—so named because it was "common" to all the king's courts across England—originated in the practices of the courts of the English kings in the centuries following the Norman Conquest in 1066; the British Empire spread the English legal system to its historical colonies, many of which retain the common law system today. These "common law systems" are legal systems that give great precedential weight to common law, to the style of reasoning inherited from the English legal system. Today, one-third of the world's population lives in common law jurisdictions or in systems mixed with civil law, including Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Botswana, Cameroon, Cyprus, Fiji, Grenada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jamaica, Liberia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Namibia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Tobago, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zimbabwe.
Some of these countries have variants on common law systems. The term common law has many connotations; the first three set out here are the most-common usages within the legal community. Other connotations from past centuries are sometimes seen and are sometimes heard in everyday speech; the first definition of "common law" given in Black's Law Dictionary, 10th edition, 2014, is "The body of law derived from judicial decisions, rather than from statutes or constitutions. This usage is given as the first definition in modern legal dictionaries, is characterized as the “most common” usage among legal professionals, is the usage seen in decisions of courts. In this connotation, "common law" distinguishes the authority. For example, the law in most Anglo-American jurisdictions includes "statutory law" enacted by a legislature, "regulatory law" or “delegated legislation” promulgated by executive branch agencies pursuant to delegation of rule-making authority from the legislature, common law or "case law", i.e. decisions issued by courts.
This first connotation can be further differentiated into pure common law arising from the traditional and inherent authority of courts to define what the law is in the absence of an underlying statute or regulation. Examples include most criminal law and procedural law before the 20th century, today, most contract law and the law of torts. Interstitial common law court decisions that analyze and determine the fine boundaries and distinctions in law promulgated by other bodies; this body of common law, sometimes called "interstitial common law", includes judicial interpretation of the Constitution, of legislative statutes, of agency regulations, the application of law to specific facts. Publication of decisions, indexing, is essential to the development of common law, thus governments and private publishers publish law reports. While all decisions in common law jurisdictions are precedent, some become "leading cases" or "landmark decisions" that are cited often. Black's Law Dictionary 10th Ed. definition 2, differentiates "common law" jurisdictions and legal systems from "civil law" or "code" jurisdictions.
Common law systems place great weight on court decisions, which are considered "law" with the same force of law as statutes—for nearly a millennium, common law courts have had the authority to make law where no legislative statute exists, statutes mean what courts interpret them to mean. By contrast, in civil law jurisdictions, courts lack authority to act. Civil law judges tend to give less weight to judicial precedent, which means that a
Australia the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area; the neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea and East Timor to the north. The population of 25 million is urbanised and concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, its largest city is Sydney; the country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians for about 60,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century, it is documented. After the European exploration of the continent by Dutch explorers in 1606, who named it New Holland, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788, a date which became Australia's national day; the population grew in subsequent decades, by the 1850s most of the continent had been explored and an additional five self-governing crown colonies established.
On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated. Australia has since maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy, comprising six states and ten territories. Being the oldest and driest inhabited continent, with the least fertile soils, Australia has a landmass of 7,617,930 square kilometres. A megadiverse country, its size gives it a wide variety of landscapes, with deserts in the centre, tropical rainforests in the north-east and mountain ranges in the south-east. A gold rush began in Australia in the early 1850s, its population density, 2.8 inhabitants per square kilometre, remains among the lowest in the world. Australia generates its income from various sources including mining-related exports, telecommunications and manufacturing. Indigenous Australian rock art is the oldest and richest in the world, dating as far back as 60,000 years and spread across hundreds of thousands of sites. Australia is a developed country, with the world's 14th-largest economy.
It has a high-income economy, with the world's tenth-highest per capita income. It is a regional power, has the world's 13th-highest military expenditure. Australia has the world's ninth-largest immigrant population, with immigrants accounting for 26% of the population. Having the third-highest human development index and the eighth-highest ranked democracy globally, the country ranks in quality of life, education, economic freedom, civil liberties and political rights, with all its major cities faring well in global comparative livability surveys. Australia is a member of the United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Pacific Islands Forum and the ASEAN Plus Six mechanism; the name Australia is derived from the Latin Terra Australis, a name used for a hypothetical continent in the Southern Hemisphere since ancient times. When Europeans first began visiting and mapping Australia in the 17th century, the name Terra Australis was applied to the new territories.
Until the early 19th century, Australia was best known as "New Holland", a name first applied by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in 1644 and subsequently anglicised. Terra Australis still saw occasional usage, such as in scientific texts; the name Australia was popularised by the explorer Matthew Flinders, who said it was "more agreeable to the ear, an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth". The first time that Australia appears to have been used was in April 1817, when Governor Lachlan Macquarie acknowledged the receipt of Flinders' charts of Australia from Lord Bathurst. In December 1817, Macquarie recommended to the Colonial Office. In 1824, the Admiralty agreed that the continent should be known by that name; the first official published use of the new name came with the publication in 1830 of The Australia Directory by the Hydrographic Office. Colloquial names for Australia include "Oz" and "the Land Down Under". Other epithets include "the Great Southern Land", "the Lucky Country", "the Sunburnt Country", "the Wide Brown Land".
The latter two both derive from Dorothea Mackellar's 1908 poem "My Country". Human habitation of the Australian continent is estimated to have begun around 65,000 to 70,000 years ago, with the migration of people by land bridges and short sea-crossings from what is now Southeast Asia; these first inhabitants were the ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal Australian culture is one of the oldest continual civilisations on earth. At the time of first European contact, most Indigenous Australians were hunter-gatherers with complex economies and societies. Recent archaeological finds suggest. Indigenous Australians have an oral culture with spiritual values based on reverence for the land and a belief in the Dreamtime; the Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, obtained their livelihood from seasonal horticulture and the resources of their reefs and seas. The northern coasts and waters of Australia were visited s
Law is a system of rules that are created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It has been defined both as "the Science of Justice" and "the Art of Justice". Law is a system that regulates and ensures that individuals or a community adhere to the will of the state. State-enforced laws can be made by a collective legislature or by a single legislator, resulting in statutes, by the executive through decrees and regulations, or established by judges through precedent in common law jurisdictions. Private individuals can create binding contracts, including arbitration agreements that may elect to accept alternative arbitration to the normal court process; the formation of laws themselves may be influenced by a constitution, written or tacit, the rights encoded therein. The law shapes politics, economics and society in various ways and serves as a mediator of relations between people. A general distinction can be made between civil law jurisdictions, in which a legislature or other central body codifies and consolidates their laws, common law systems, where judge-made precedent is accepted as binding law.
Religious laws played a significant role in settling of secular matters, is still used in some religious communities. Islamic Sharia law is the world's most used religious law, is used as the primary legal system in some countries, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia; the adjudication of the law is divided into two main areas. Criminal law deals with conduct, considered harmful to social order and in which the guilty party may be imprisoned or fined. Civil law deals with the resolution of lawsuits between individuals and/or organizations. Law provides a source of scholarly inquiry into legal history, economic analysis and sociology. Law raises important and complex issues concerning equality and justice. Numerous definitions of law have been put forward over the centuries; the Third New International Dictionary from Merriam-Webster defines law as: "Law is a binding custom or practice of a community. The Dictionary of the History of Ideas published by Scribner's in 1973 defined the concept of law accordingly as: "A legal system is the most explicit, institutionalized, complex mode of regulating human conduct.
At the same time, it plays only one part in the congeries of rules which influence behavior, for social and moral rules of a less institutionalized kind are of great importance." There have been several attempts to produce "a universally acceptable definition of law". In 1972, one source indicated. McCoubrey and White said that the question "what is law?" has no simple answer. Glanville Williams said that the meaning of the word "law" depends on the context in which that word is used, he said that, for example, "early customary law" and "municipal law" were contexts where the word "law" had two different and irreconcilable meanings. Thurman Arnold said that it is obvious that it is impossible to define the word "law" and that it is equally obvious that the struggle to define that word should not be abandoned, it is possible to take the view that there is no need to define the word "law". The history of law links to the development of civilization. Ancient Egyptian law, dating as far back as 3000 BC, contained a civil code, broken into twelve books.
It was based on the concept of Ma'at, characterised by tradition, rhetorical speech, social equality and impartiality. By the 22nd century BC, the ancient Sumerian ruler Ur-Nammu had formulated the first law code, which consisted of casuistic statements. Around 1760 BC, King Hammurabi further developed Babylonian law, by codifying and inscribing it in stone. Hammurabi placed several copies of his law code throughout the kingdom of Babylon as stelae, for the entire public to see; the most intact copy of these stelae was discovered in the 19th century by British Assyriologists, has since been transliterated and translated into various languages, including English, Italian and French. The Old Testament dates back to 1280 BC and takes the form of moral imperatives as recommendations for a good society; the small Greek city-state, ancient Athens, from about the 8th century BC was the first society to be based on broad inclusion of its citizenry, excluding women and the slave class. However, Athens had no legal science or single word for "law", relying instead on the three-way distinction between divine law, human decree and custom.
Yet Ancient Greek law contained major constitutional innovations in the development of democracy. Roman law was influenced by Greek philosophy, but its detailed rules were developed by professional jurists and were sophisticated. Over the centuries between the rise and decline of the Roman Empire, law was adapted to cope with the changing social situations and underwent major codification under Theodosius II and Justinian I. Although codes were replaced by custom and case law during the Dark Ages, Roman law was rediscovered around the 11th century when medieval legal scholars began to research Roman codes and adapt their concepts. Latin legal maxims were compiled for guidance. In medieval England, royal
Neil McGill Gorsuch is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was nominated by President Donald Trump to succeed Antonin Scalia and took the oath of office on April 10, 2017. Gorsuch is a proponent of textualism in statutory interpretation and originalism in interpreting the United States Constitution. Along with Justice Clarence Thomas, he is an advocate of natural law jurisprudence. Gorsuch clerked for Judge David B. Sentelle of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the D. C. Circuit from 1991 to 1992 and U. S. Supreme Court Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy from 1993 to 1994, he is the first Supreme Court Justice to serve alongside another Justice for whom he once had clerked. From 1995 to 2005, Gorsuch was in private practice with the law firm of Kellogg, Hansen, Evans & Figel. Gorsuch was Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General at the U. S. Department of Justice from 2005 to his appointment to the Tenth Circuit. Gorsuch was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit by President George W. Bush on May 10, 2006, to replace Judge David M. Ebel, who took senior status in 2006.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University, Juris Doctor from Harvard University, Doctor of Philosophy in Law from the University of Oxford, where he took courses and defended a doctoral thesis, concerning the morality of assisted suicide, under the supervision of philosopher John Finnis. Gorsuch is the son of David Ronald Gorsuch and Anne Gorsuch Burford, a Colorado House of Representatives member, appointed by President Ronald Reagan to be the first female Administrator of United States Environmental Protection Agency in 1981. A fourth-generation Coloradan, Gorsuch was born in Denver and attended Christ the King, a K-8 Catholic school. In 1985, he graduated from Georgetown Preparatory School, a Jesuit school in North Bethesda, Maryland. While attending Georgetown Prep, Gorsuch served as a United States Senate Page in the early 1980s, he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Columbia University in 1988, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.
As an undergraduate student, he wrote for the Columbia Daily Spectator student newspaper. In 1986, he co-founded the alternative Columbia student newspaper The Fed. Gorsuch attended Harvard Law School, he received a Harry S. Truman Scholarship to attend. While at Harvard, Gorsuch was an editor on the Harvard Journal of Public Policy, he was described as a committed conservative who supported the Gulf War and congressional term limits, on "a campus full of ardent liberals". Former President Barack Obama was one of Gorsuch's classmates at Harvard Law. In 2004 he was awarded a DPhil in law from the University of Oxford, where he completed research on assisted suicide and euthanasia as a postgraduate student of University College, Oxford. A Marshall Scholarship enabled him to study at Oxford in 1992-93, where he was supervised by the natural law philosopher John Finnis of University College, Oxford, his thesis was supervised by Professor Timothy Endicott of Balliol College, Oxford. In 1996, Gorsuch married his wife Louise, an English woman and champion equestrienne on Oxford's riding team whom he met during his stay at Oxford.
Gorsuch served as a judicial clerk for Judge David B. Sentelle of the United States Court of Appeals for the D. C. Circuit from 1991 to 1992, for Supreme Court of the United States Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy from 1993 to 1994. Gorsuch's work with White occurred right after White retired from the Supreme Court, Gorsuch assisted White with his work on the Tenth Circuit, where White sat by designation. Gorsuch was part of a group of five law clerks assigned that year which included Brett Kavanaugh who described Gorsuch at the time stating: "He fit into the place easily. He's just an easy guy to get along with, he doesn't have sharp elbows. We had a wide range of views, but we all got along well." Instead of joining an established law firm, Gorsuch decided to join the two-year-old boutique firm Kellogg, Hansen, Evans & Figel, where he focused on trial work. After winning his first trial as lead attorney, a jury member told Gorsuch, he was an associate in the Washington, D. C. law firm from 1995 to 1997 and a partner from 1998 to 2005.
Gorsuch's clients included Colorado billionaire Philip Anschutz. At Kellogg Huber, Gorsuch focused on commercial matters, including contracts, anititrust, RICO, securities fraud. In 2002, Gorsuch penned an op-ed criticizing the Senate for delaying the nominations of Merrick Garland and John Roberts to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, writing that "the most impressive judicial nominees are grossly mistreated" by the Senate. In 2005, at Kellogg Huber, Gorsuch wrote a brief denouncing class action lawsuits by shareholders. In the case of Dura Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Broudo, Gorsuch opined that "The free ride to fast riches enjoyed by securities class action attorneys in recent years appeared to hit a speed bump" and that "the problem is that securities fraud litigation imposes an enormous toll on the economy, affecting every public corporation in America at one time or another and costing businesses billions of dollars in settlements every year". Gorsuch served as Principal Deputy to the Associate Attorney General, Robert McCallum, at the United States Department of Justice from 2005 until 2006.
As McCallum's Principal Deputy, Gorsuch assisted in managing the Department of Justice's civil litigation components, which included antitrust, civil r
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations known as the Commonwealth, is a unique political association of 53 member states, nearly all of them former territories of the British Empire. The chief institutions of the organisation are the Commonwealth Secretariat, which focuses on intergovernmental aspects, the Commonwealth Foundation, which focuses on non-governmental relations between member states; the Commonwealth dates back to the first half of the 20th century with the decolonisation of the British Empire through increased self-governance of its territories. It was created as the British Commonwealth through the Balfour Declaration at the 1926 Imperial Conference, formalised by the United Kingdom through the Statute of Westminster in 1931; the current Commonwealth of Nations was formally constituted by the London Declaration in 1949, which modernised the community, established the member states as "free and equal". The human symbol of this free association is the Head of the Commonwealth Queen Elizabeth II, the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting appointed Charles, Prince of Wales to be her designated successor, although the position is not technically hereditary.
The Queen is the head of state of 16 member states, known as the Commonwealth realms, while 32 other members are republics and five others have different monarchs. Member states have no legal obligations to one another. Instead, they are united by English language, history and their shared values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law; these values are enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter and promoted by the quadrennial Commonwealth Games. The countries of the Commonwealth cover more than 29,958,050 km2, equivalent to 20% of the world's land area, span all six inhabited continents. Queen Elizabeth II, in her address to Canada on Dominion Day in 1959, pointed out that the confederation of Canada on 1 July 1867 had been the birth of the "first independent country within the British Empire", she declared: "So, it marks the beginning of that free association of independent states, now known as the Commonwealth of Nations." As long ago as 1884 Lord Rosebery, while visiting Australia, had described the changing British Empire, as some of its colonies became more independent, as a "Commonwealth of Nations".
Conferences of British and colonial prime ministers occurred periodically from the first one in 1887, leading to the creation of the Imperial Conferences in 1911. The Commonwealth developed from the imperial conferences. A specific proposal was presented by Jan Smuts in 1917 when he coined the term "the British Commonwealth of Nations" and envisioned the "future constitutional relations and readjustments in essence" at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, attended by delegates from the Dominions as well as Britain; the term first received imperial statutory recognition in the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, when the term British Commonwealth of Nations was substituted for British Empire in the wording of the oath taken by members of parliament of the Irish Free State. In the Balfour Declaration at the 1926 Imperial Conference and its dominions agreed they were "equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by common allegiance to the Crown, associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations".
The term "Commonwealth" was adopted to describe the community. These aspects to the relationship were formalised by the Statute of Westminster in 1931, which applied to Canada without the need for ratification, but Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland had to ratify the statute for it to take effect. Newfoundland never did, as on 16 February 1934, with the consent of its parliament, the government of Newfoundland voluntarily ended and governance reverted to direct control from London. Newfoundland joined Canada as its 10th province in 1949. Australia and New Zealand ratified the Statute in 1947 respectively. Although the Union of South Africa was not among the Dominions that needed to adopt the Statute of Westminster for it to take effect, two laws—the Status of the Union Act, 1934, the Royal Executive Functions and Seals Act of 1934—were passed to confirm South Africa's status as a sovereign state. After the Second World War ended, the British Empire was dismantled. Most of its components have become independent countries, whether Commonwealth realms or republics, members of the Commonwealth.
There remain the 14 self-governing British overseas territories which retain some political association with the United Kingdom. In April 1949, following the London Declaration, the word "British" was dropped from the title of the Commonwealth to reflect its changing nature. Burma and Aden are the only states that were British colonies at the time of the war not to have joined the Commonwealth upon independence. Former British protectorates and mandates that did not become members of the Commonwealth are Egypt, Transjordan, Sudan, British Somaliland, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates; the postwar Commonwealth was given a fresh mission by Queen Elizabeth in her Christmas Day 1953 broadcast, in which she envisioned the Commonwealth as "an new conception – built on the highest qualities of the Spirit of Man: friendship and the desire for freedom and peace". Hoped for success was reinforced by such achievements as climbing Mount Everest in 1953, breaking the four-minute mile in 1954