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UK Constitutional Law - Essay Example

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Although the everyday role of the UK monarchy is largely symbolic and ceremonial, the Monarch has some residual powers that could, in particular situations, be of real political importance.' Critically discuss this statement using case law, Acts of Parliament and other primary sources…
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UK Constitutional Law
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Download file to see previous pages "The special pre eminence which the king hath over and above all other persons and out of the ordinary course of the common law, in right of his legal dignity. It signifies, in its etymology (from Latin prae and rogo) something that is required or demanded before or in preference to all others."
"The residue of discretionary or arbitrary authority which at any time is legally left in the hands of the Crown.Every Act which the executive government can lawfully do without the authority of an Act of Parliament is done in virtue of this prerogative (Dicey,1885)
Notably Dicey's definition, unlike that of Blackstone's admits that the prerogative power is residual, inherent and particular to the Crown. In addition to this if we adopt Blackstone's classification it is possible to decipher two kinds of these powers as in the Sphere of "Domestic Affairs" and secondly in the matter of "Foreign Affairs".
The powers or prerogatives inherent for a Monarch in the matter of Domestic Affairs are, the summoning and dissolution of Parliament, the appointment of a Prime Minister and all the other Ministers, the Royal Assent to bills, the granting of honours, defence of the realm (issues of national security),parens patriae over children, the power to stop criminal prosecutions, the power of mercy/pardoning of offenders, control of the civil service and of the royal fisheries. In the matter of foreign affairs these powers include treaty making provisions, Declarations of war and peace, state recognition, diplomatic relations and control of the armed forces engaged in combat outside the country.
The background and the logic behind prerogatives can be explained in a rather historical context ,
", the medieval monarchy was both feudal lord and head of the kingdom. As such, the King had powers accounted for by the need to preserve the realm against external foes and an 'undefined residue of power which he might use for the public good'. He could exercise the 'royal prerogative' and impose his will in respect of decision-making. Moreover certain royal functions could be exercised only in certain ways. The common law courts were the King's courts and only through them could the King decide questions of title to land and punish felonies. Yet the King possessed a residual power of administering justice through his Council where the courts of common law were insufficient."1

As far as the sovereign's personal prerogatives are concerned this will be the main issue of scrutiny within this paper. The Crown's personal prerogative powers are mainly recognised under the common law as the power to appoint the Prime Minister that is a person who will be in the best position to receive the support of the majority in the House of Commons. Practically however the Queen/King will have no impact on the political orientation of such a sovereign.2Secondly, the Monarch has the power to dissolve the parliament and allow for re-elections in certain circumstances.3 The third prerogative relates to the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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