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A famous example of a legal fiction is that of the Balearic island of

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A famous example of a legal fiction is that of the Balearic island of [#permalink]

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A famous example of a legal fiction is that of the Balearic island of Minorca. Though Minorca is actually located in the Mediterranean, legal convention situated it within the city of London. The island changed hands frequently after the Romans first claimed it from pirates. Invaded by the Vandals, Moors, and the Kingdom of Aragon, it was attacked by the Turkish and captured by the British navy. Laid siege to by the French, it was then shuttled back and forth between Britain, France, and, in the end, Spain, to which it was permanently ceded in 1802 by the Treaty of Amiens.

The fiction that Minorca lies "in the parish of St. Mary-le-Bow, in the ward of Cheap" has become notorious. In Fabrigas v. Mostyn (1774), Fabrigas, a Minorcan native, challenged Governor Mostyn's right to summarily deport him from the island simply for being a nuisance. In finding for Fabrigas and in awarding him damages, the court affirmed the right to due process for citizens of British colonies. The court's decision depended on the legal fiction that Minorca was part of London.

A 1918 report on the case frames the decision as denying "the claim of the strong to dominate the weak for their own safety merely by virtue of their superior strength" and refusing Mostyn's assumption that "the people of the dependencies were to be considered not as ends in themselves but as a means to the ends of the dominant race." Guaranteeing a measure of civil rights in a colonized territory and protecting against abuses of power which had led to the arrest, imprisonment, and deportation of subjects, the landmark case was framed in "momentous words in which there was once for all secured to the native of a dependency the same access to the ordinary courts as a native of Britain."

The legal fiction that Minorca was located in London therefore went far toward increasing Minorcans' civil liberties,but it still did not go far enough. It liberated a set of people from a tyrannical local government by forcing government officials to be more just and humane, but it did little to challenge the British Empire's power to colonize in the first place. In restricting but not abolishing colonial power, the legal fiction of Minorcan jurisdiction both legitimated colonial dependency and protected dependent citizens. This was equally true of other legal fictions employed by the British Empire.
According to the passage, which of the following is true of Fabrigas v. Mostyn?

It had little effect on the lives of Minorcans.
It was one result of the Treaty of Amiens.
It did not actually occur.
It involved an inhabitant and an official of Minorca.
It was later modified in 1918.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
OA is D


Answer A is incorrect because the last paragraph states that the case went far but not far enough, a qualitative, not a quantitive assessment. Answer B is also incorrect. Though the paragraph that introduces Fabrigas v. Mostyn comes after a mention of the 1802 Treaty, there is no logical relationship between the two. Answer C misinterprets the word "fiction" as it is used throughout the passage. This legal case did indeed occur. Answer D is correct, because "inhabitant" and "official" are accurate representations of Fabrigas and Mostyn. Answer E misunderstands the 1918 report, which only comments on the original case but does not modify it.

The passage suggests that, if the legal fiction described in paragraph 2 were not applicable, which of the following would be true?

The legal rights of Londoners would take precedence over the legal rights of Minorcans.
Minorca would no longer have been a British colony.
The court would not have been able to extend the rights of Londoners to Minorcans.
Colonies other than Minorca would have lost the civil rights they were already entitled to.
Britain's right to expand its empire by treaty would no longer apply.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Correct Answer: C

This Inference problem asks you to recognize that the legal fiction that Minorca was part of London enables the extension of Londoners' civil rights to Minorcans. Choice A is incorrect because the passage does not seek to rank people's rights according to precedence. Choice B is too extreme: the status of Minorca as a colony is not at issue. Choice C is correct because it represents the logical contrapositive. IF Minorcans have the civil right of due process, THEN it is because they are regarded as Londoners. The contrapositive negates both the premise and the conclusion. IF they are not regarded as Londoners, THEN they do not have the same civil rights. Choice D is out of scope, because the passage does not address other British colonies. Choice E is too extreme a consequence, one which is not warranted by the passage.

Were this passage to continue, the next paragraph would likely focus on

additional details about the 1918 report on Fabrigas v. Mostyn
an analysis of how other legal fictions functioned within colonial contexts
a narrative about what happened to Mostyn after the case involving him was resolved
further geographical information about the island of Minorca
the ways in which imperial power was administered in the London capital

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Correct Answer: B

To answer this Next Step question, examine the final sentence of the passage. That sentence extends the particular example of Minorca to other parts of the British Empire more generally. Therefore, choice B is correct because it reflects this intended continuity. Answer A is incorrect because it would move back in the passage instead of forward. Answers C, D, and E are out of scope. Details about Mostyn's biography, Minorca's geography, and London's imperial administration would not further the continuity of the passage.

The 1918 report on Fabrigas v. Mostyn calls its words "momentous" because

it marked a historic acquisition of judicial access
it was written in language that is difficult to understand
it represented a crisis in legal history
it regarded Minorcans as weak and dominated
it challenged the British Empire's colonial power

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Correct Answer: A

The word "momentous" is used to indicate a new historical development that reversed previous inequities. Answer B is out of scope. Nothing in the passage describes the language of the case. Answer C is incorrect because the case did not produce or respond to a crisis. Choices D and E both contain language from the passage, but they're both incorrect because the word "momentous" has nothing to do with what they describe.

my first contribution to gmat club.. Hope i made no errors using the posting options.. Moderators please correct if any...

Last edited by Nevernevergiveup on 06 May 2016, 10:42, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A famous example of a legal fiction is that of the Balearic island of [#permalink]

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New post 29 Sep 2017, 06:19
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Re: A famous example of a legal fiction is that of the Balearic island of   [#permalink] 29 Sep 2017, 06:19
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A famous example of a legal fiction is that of the Balearic island of

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