Prerogative Power

Topics: Separation of powers, Westminster system, United Kingdom Pages: 6 (2169 words) Published: June 16, 2013
Prerogatives Powers or the Royal Prerogatives
PP or RP are defined by AV Dicey as being ‘the remaining portion of the crown’s original authority and is therefore the name for the residue of discretionary power left at any moment in the hands of the crown whether such power be in fact exercise by the king himself or by his ministers’. Today there are still many PP available to ministers and the monarch and these powers are often exercise without restraint and in controversial situations. PP are nevertheless important and they are not subject to tough enough parliamentary and judiciary scrutiny and I will support this by examining the available PP and their usage as well as the limited restrains from parliament and the judiciary on their use. History of PP

Formally in the UK, executive powers are rested in the crown. However in reality this is not the case. Traditionally this was the stance in the UK. However in modern times, the most important PP are available only to the prime ministers and other cabinet ministers. However, the monarch still have some personal prerogatives powers at their disposal but this are not mostly carried out on the advice of the prime minster. Main prerogatives powers

When looking at domestic affairs the personal PP of the monarch include immunity from taxation (although since 1993 Queen Elizabeth II) has voluntarily paid taxes on her private income). Immunity from prosecution, appointment of honours, appointment of PM, dismissal of government, dissolution of parliament, and granting the royal assent. However some powers are merely formalities and the monarch have to follow convention in the exercise while its other powers are exercise on the advice of the PM. As Walter Beigehout put it the monarch still have the rights to be consulted, the right to encourage and the right to won in terms of the powers available to the monarch towards the government. The PP of the ministerial executives include the power of pardon the crown not being bound by statutes, unless the statute implicitly said otherwise, the crown being the preferred creditor, the power to issue passport and to regulate the civil servants. Looking at foreign affairs PP include the powers to conclude treaties and to declare and conduct war. New PP cannot be created today. However, an existing power can be applied to a new circumstance. The vast array and scope of these powers and the fact that these powers are often exercise with limited parliamentary and judiciary scrutiny confirmed that PP are still an important part of the UK constitution. Parliamentary scrutiny of PP

Currently parliamentary scrutiny of exercise of PP is weak.
Some have described the power to declare and conduct war as the most significant of the PPs. Yet these powers remain exclusively in the hands of the PM and the cabinet as the monarch is the commander in chief of the armed forces; although since the Bill of Rights 1689 the consent of Parliament is required for the main tenants of the armed forces during times of peace. In theory there are no limitations on the executives in deploying the armed forces. However in practice, parliament would be consulted as occurred with the invasion of Iraq in 2003 yet many MPs including William Hague expressed that he felt the vote have been given as a kind of generosity by the government. Thus in theory there could be no scrutiny in parliament in the event of going to war even though it could involves thousands in the armed forces and be paid for using tax payers money. The signing of foreign treaties is another PP available to the executives. Parliament is required to rectify, signs treaties however only treaties which changed UK laws have to be debated by parliament. This gives parliament no ability to carry out scrutiny when it comes to treaties which do not amend UK laws even though there may be important treaties with other countries or supranational organisations. PP allows ministers to manage the civil service and...
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