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Law /politics - Essay Example

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According to the May 2002 Information Note released by the Legislative Council Secretariat, the constitutional convention is “a binding rule, a rule of behaviour accepted as obligatory by those concerned in the working of the constitution.” Some think of conventions as…
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Download file to see previous pages are taken to be implicit agreements that pertain to procedure and are arrived at by informal agreement between and among the institutions of the state. (Marshall, 1987) Those who espouse the last definition take the view that conventions must be literally “unwritten” and totally “informal” to the point of being mere customs; these include: MPs rebutting their opponents by addressing the house with the words, “Mr. Speaker”; members being addressed not by their names but by their constituencies; and the fact that the House of Commons does not sit on weekends.
This paper, however, will take the more popular view that constitutional conventions are more than mere customs. They are acknowledged and expected patterns of behaviour that have a more substantial bearing on the way the government is run. They have evolved over time or may even be arrived at by express act, such as the Sewel convention, which though formally agreed upon still lack the force of law. Three of these conventions will be studied in this paper.
As mentioned, conventions are not mere customary niceties, but neither are they laws. “Much of the constitution does not exist in any legal form at all,” according to Clements & Kay (2006, p. 5) Conventions account for lapses in the law that deal with constitutional relationships, in the form of habits, customs, words or understandings. For instance extremely important matters such as the existence of the Prime Minister and the real powers of the Queen do not exist in the constitution but are guided by convention. However, convention is not law, and therefore could not be enforced by the courts (Legislative Council Secretariat, 2002).
The main purpose of constitutional conventions is to ensure that the legal framework of the Constitution will be operated in accordance with the prevailing constitutional values or principles of the period. (Re Amendment of the Constitution of Canada [1982] 125 DLR (3d)1.) There are two major ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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