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Albert Venn Dicey
Born February 4, 1835 (1835-02-04)
Died April 7, 1922 (1922-04-08)
Occupation Jurist, professor
Known for Authority on the Constitution of the United Kingdom

Albert Venn Dicey (February 4, 1835 – April 7, 1922) was a British jurist and constitutional theorist who wrote An Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution (1885). The principles it expounds are considered part of the uncodified British constitution. He was a graduate of Balliol College, Oxford and became Vinerian Professor of English Law at Oxford and a leading constitutional scholar of his day.



He became a lawyer in 1863 and was appointed to the Vinerian Chair of English Law at Oxford in 1882. In his first major work, the seminal An Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution he outlined the principles of Parliamentary supremacy for which he is most known. He understood that the freedom British subjects enjoyed was dependent on the sovereignty of Parliament, the impartiality of the courts free from governmental interference and the supremacy of Common Law.

He later left Oxford and went on to become one of the first Professors of Law at the then new London School of Economics. There he published in 1896 his Conflict of Laws.

Dicey was a vigorous opponent of Irish Home Rule and published and spoke against it extensively from 1886 until shortly before his death [1] advocating that no concessions be made to Irish nationalism in relation to the government of any part of Ireland as an integral part of the United Kingdom. He was thus bitterly disillusioned by the agreement in 1921 that Southern Ireland should become a self-governing dominion (the Irish Free State), separate from the United Kingdom. As extensively shown in the work of Professor Matt Qvortrup, A.V. Dicey was also one of the first supporters of the use of referenda in the United Kingdom despite his views on parliamentary supremacy.

He was the younger brother of Edward Dicey.


  • Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution (8th Edition with new Introduction) (1915)
  • A Leap in the Dark, or Our New Constitution (an examination of the leading principles of the Home Rule Bill of 1893) (1893)
  • England's Case against Home Rule (1887)
  • The Privy Council: The Arnold Prize Essay (1887)
  • A Digest of the Law of England with reference to the Conflict of Laws (2nd Edition) (1908)
  • A Fool's Paradise: Being a Constitutionalist's Criticism of the Home Rule Bill of 1912 (1913)
  • Lectures on the relation between law and public opinion in England during the nineteenth century (2nd Edition) (1914).
  • Thoughts on the Union between England and Scotland (1920)


  • Cosgrove, Richard A. (1980). The Rule of Law: Albert Venn Dicey, Victorian jurist. London: Macmillan. pp. xv, 319p. 
  • Ford, Trowbridge H. (1985). Albert Venn Dicey: The Man and His Times. Chichester: Rose. pp. 354p. 


  1. ^ Example
Academic offices
Preceded by
John Robert Kenyon
Vinerian Professor of English Law
Succeeded by
William Martin Geldart


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