5 N. Ir. Legal Q. 76 (1942-1943)
British Nationality and Irish Citizenship

handle is hein.journals/nilq5 and id is 78 raw text is: NORTHERN       IRELAND      LEGAL     QUARTERLY
British Nationality and Irish Citizenship.
A faint heart as ill becomes a judge as a knight errant.
In Murray v. Parkes (1942. 58 T.L.R. 231) the King's Bench
Division in England considered an important point of con-
stitutional law with a manifest diffidence in its competence
to tackle the job, and eventually, to its great relief, was
able to shirk the main task by giving judgment on one uf
the lesser points which emerged. The case was reported
in the daily press as if it were a clear decision that the
inhabitants of Eire were British subjects, but a reading
of. the full judgments shows that the decision does not by
any means conclude the point.
The facts of the case were simple. Michael Murray
was born in Roscommon in 1908. He went to England
in 1934 and had remained there since, though he ultimately
intended to return to Eire. He was charged with failing
to submit to a medical examination under the National
Service (Armed Forces) Act, 1939. That Act applies to
British subjects, and it was Murray's contention that he
was not a British subject. On the hearing of the summons
the justices. convicted, and the reported decision is on
appeal by way of case stated to the King's Bench Divisional
Are inhabitants of Eire to be reckoned British subjects?
This was the simple question which faced the court, and
which to the mind of Caldecote, L.C.J. raised questions
of far-reaching importance worthy of consideration by the
highest tribunal. Unfortunately there was no process by
which the case could get to the highest tribunal and the
King's Bench Division was in the position of saying the
final word. This ought not to have perturbed a court which
is the successor of that Court of King's Bench which
Blackstone had described as of very high and transcend-
ent Jurisdiction , but in fact the onerous responsibility
weiehed heavily on the judges present, who made the ratio
decidendi the narrowest possible and gave their obiter with
cons*derable reluctance.
It was clear that Murray started life as a natural born
British subiect under the British Nationality and -Status
of Aliens Act. 1914, and we have therefore to see what
grounds are put forward for suggesting a change of nation-
ality. His counsel's argument may be stated thus:-

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