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Westminster, Statute of

Westminster, Statute of, 1931, in British imperial history, an act of the British Parliament that gave formal recognition to the autonomy of the dominions of the British Empire and was in effect the founding charter of the British Commonwealth of Nations. It declared that the Commonwealth was a free association of autonomous dominions and Great Britain, bound only by common allegiance to the throne, and specified that the British Parliament might not legislate for the dominions except at their request and subject to their assent and that the dominion legislatures were on an equal footing with that of Great Britain. The statute implemented the work of various meetings of the Imperial Conference, which had recognized the virtual independence of the dominions that came into being as a result of World War I and the peace settlements thereafter.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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