Royal prerogative in the United Kingdom

Last updated

Insignia of Knight of the Thistle.png
British passports and chivalric orders are regulated under the royal prerogative.

The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege, and immunity attached to the British monarch (or "sovereign"), recognised in the United Kingdom. The monarch is regarded internally as the absolute authority, or "sole prerogative", and the source of many of the executive powers of the British government.


Prerogative powers were formerly exercised by the monarch acting on his or her own initiative. Since the 19th century, by convention, the advice of the prime minister or the cabinet—who are then accountable to Parliament for the decision—has been required in order for the prerogative to be exercised. The monarch remains constitutionally empowered to exercise the royal prerogative against the advice of the prime minister or the cabinet, but in practice would only do so in emergencies or where existing precedent does not adequately apply to the circumstances in question.

Today the royal prerogative is available in the conduct of the government of the United Kingdom, including foreign affairs, defence, and national security. The monarch has a significant constitutional weight in these and other matters, but limited freedom to act, because the exercise of the prerogative is in the hands of the prime minister and other ministers or other government officials.


William Blackstone, who maintained that the royal prerogative was any power that could be exercised by only the monarch SirWilliamBlackstone.jpg
William Blackstone, who maintained that the royal prerogative was any power that could be exercised by only the monarch

The royal prerogative has been called "a notoriously difficult concept to define adequately", but whether a particular type of prerogative power exists is a matter of common law to be decided by the courts as the final arbiter. [1] A prominent constitutional theorist, A. V. Dicey, proposed in the nineteenth century that:

The prerogative appears to be historically and as a matter of fact nothing else than the residue of discretionary or arbitrary authority which at any given time is legally left in the hands of the crown. The prerogative is the name of the remaining portion of the Crown's original authority ... Every act which the executive government can lawfully do without the authority of an Act of Parliament is done in virtue of the prerogative. [2]

While many commentators follow the Diceyan view, there are constitutional lawyers who prefer the definition given by William Blackstone in the 1760s: [3]

By the word prerogative we usually understand that special pre-eminence which the King hath, over and above all other persons, and out of the ordinary course of common law, in right of his regal dignity ... it can only be applied to those rights and capacities which the King enjoys alone, in contradiction to others, and not to those which he enjoys in common with any of his subjects. [2] [4]

Dicey's opinion that any action of governance by the monarch beyond statute is under the prerogative diverges from Blackstone's that the prerogative simply covers those actions that no other person or body in the United Kingdom can undertake, such as declaration of war. [2] Case law exists to support both views. Blackstone's notion of the prerogative being the powers of an exclusive nature was favoured by Lord Parmoor in the De Keyser's Royal Hotel case of 1920, but some difficulty with it was expressed by Lord Reid in the Burmah Oil case of 1965. A clear distinction has not been necessary in the relevant cases, and the courts may never need to settle the question as few cases deal directly with the prerogative itself. [5]


Sir Edward Coke, who held that the prerogative did not allow the monarch to sit as a judge Edward Coke1629.jpg
Sir Edward Coke, who held that the prerogative did not allow the monarch to sit as a judge

The royal prerogative originated as the personal power of the monarch. From the 13th century in England, as in France, the monarch was all-powerful, but this absolute power was checked by "the recrudescence of feudal turbulence in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries". [6] An early attempt to define the royal prerogative was stated by Richard II's judges in 1387. [7] [8]

During the 16th century, this "turbulence" began to recede, and the monarch became truly independent. Under Henry VIII and his successors, the king was the head of the Protestant English church, and therefore not answerable to the clergy. The rise of Parliament in this period, however, was problematic. While the monarch was "the predominant partner in the English constitution", the courts stopped short of declaring him all-powerful, recognising the role that Parliament played. [6] In Ferrer's Case, [9] Henry recognised this, noting that he was far more powerful with the consent of Parliament than without. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the matter of taxation: Sir Thomas Smith and other writers of the period pointed out the monarch could not impose taxation without Parliament's consent. [10]

At the same time, Henry and his descendants normally followed the will of the courts, despite the fact they were theoretically not bound by judges. William Holdsworth infers that by regularly asking the legal officers of the crown and judiciary for legal advice and consent, Henry recognised the need for a stable government to follow the law. He also contends that the view that the law is supreme over all "was the view of all the leading lawyers and statesmen and publicists of the Tudor period". [11] It was accepted that while the King had "unfettered discretion", he was limited in areas where the courts had imposed conditions on the use of the prerogative, or where he had chosen to do so. [12]

The first dent in this stability came about in 1607, with the Case of Prohibitions . James VI and I claimed that as monarch, he had a divine right to sit as a judge and interpret the common law as he saw fit. Led by Sir Edward Coke, the judiciary rejected this idea, stating that while the monarch was not subject to any individual, he was subject to the law. Until he had gained sufficient knowledge of the law, he had no right to interpret it; Coke pointed out that such knowledge "demanded mastery of an artificial reason ... which requires long study and experience, before that a man can attain to the cognizance of it". Similarly, in the Case of Proclamations in 1611, Coke held that the monarch could only exercise those prerogatives he already had, and not create new ones. [13]

With the Glorious Revolution, King James VII and II was replaced by Queen Mary II and her husband King William III. At the same time the Bill of Rights 1689 was drafted, which cemented the monarch's subservience to Parliament. It specifically limited the royal prerogative, with Article 1 holding that the "power of suspending the laws or the execution of laws by regal authority without consent of Parliament is illegal", and article 4 confirming that "levying money for or to the use of the Crown by pretence of prerogative, without grant of Parliament, for longer time, or in other manner than the same is or shall be granted, is illegal". The Bill also confirmed that Parliament had the right to limit the use of remaining prerogatives, as evidenced by the Triennial Act 1694, which required the monarch to dismiss and call Parliament at certain times. [14]

Prerogative powers


William IV, the last monarch to arbitrarily dissolve Parliament by using the royal prerogative William IV.jpg
William IV, the last monarch to arbitrarily dissolve Parliament by using the royal prerogative

One of the monarch's historic prerogatives was the dissolution of Parliament, which was "perhaps the most important residual prerogative exercised personally by the sovereign, and represents the greatest potential for controversy." [15] This prerogative was normally exercised at the request of Parliament and the prime minister, either at his or her discretion or following a motion of no confidence. Constitutional theorists have had differing views as to whether a unilateral dissolution of Parliament would be possible today; Sir Ivor Jennings wrote that a dissolution involves "the acquiescence of ministers", and as such the monarch could not dissolve Parliament without ministerial consent; "if ministers refuse to give such advice, she can do no more than dismiss them". A. V. Dicey, however, believed that in certain extreme circumstances the monarch could dissolve Parliament single-handedly, on the condition that "an occasion has arisen on which there is fair reason to suppose that the opinion of the House is not the opinion of the electors ... A dissolution is allowable, or necessary, whenever the wishes of the legislature are, or may fairly be presumed to be, different from the wishes of the nation." [16]

The monarch could force the dissolution of Parliament through a refusal of royal assent; this would very likely lead to a government resigning. By convention, the monarch always assents to bills; the last time the royal assent was not given was in 1708 during the reign of Queen Anne when, on ministerial advice, she withheld royal assent from the Scottish Militia Bill. This does not mean that the right to refuse, even contrary to the wishes of the Prime Minister, has died: the threat of the Royal Veto by George III and George IV made Catholic Emancipation impossible between 1800 and 1829, whilst George V had been privately advised (by his own lawyer, not by the Prime Minister) that he could veto the Third Irish Home Rule Bill; Jennings writes that "it was assumed by the King throughout that he had not only the legal power but the constitutional right to refuse assent". [17] The royal prerogative to dissolve Parliament was abrogated by Section 3(2) of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011. [18] Section 6(1) of the Act however specifically states that the monarch's power to prorogue Parliament is not affected by the Act. [19] Nonetheless, the Supreme Court's 2019 judgment in Miller II established that the prerogative of prorogation is not absolute.

The appointment of the prime minister is also, theoretically, governed by the royal prerogative. Technically the monarch may appoint as prime minister anyone she wants to appoint, but in practice the appointee is always the person who is best placed to command a majority in the House of Commons. Usually, this is the leader of the political party that is returned to Parliament with a majority of seats after a general election. Difficulties may result with a so-called hung parliament, in which no party commands majority support, as last occurred in 2017. In this situation, constitutional convention is that the previous incumbent has the first right to form a coalition government and seek appointment. [20] If the prime minister decides to retire in the middle of a parliamentary session, then unless there is a clear "prime minister-in-waiting" (eg. Neville Chamberlain in 1937 or Anthony Eden in 1955) the monarch in principle has to choose a successor (after taking appropriate advice, not necessarily from the outgoing prime minister), but the last monarch to be actively involved in such a process was George V, who appointed Stanley Baldwin rather than Lord Curzon in 1923. In more modern times, the monarch left it to the politicians involved to choose a successor through private consultations (Winston Churchill in May 1940, Harold Macmillan in January 1957, Alec Douglas-Home in October 1963). Nowadays, the monarch has no discretion, as the governing party will elect a new leader who will near-automatically be appointed as he or she commands the support of the majority of the Commons (most recently Theresa May in 2016 or Boris Johnson in 2019). [21]

Judicial system

The most noted prerogative power that affects the judicial system is the prerogative of mercy, which has two elements: the granting of pardons and the granting of nolle prosequi . Pardons may eliminate the "pains, penalties and punishments" from a criminal conviction, though they do not remove convictions themselves. This power is commonly exercised on the advice of the Secretary of State for the Home Department; the monarch has no direct involvement in its use. Exercises of this power may also take the form of commutations, a limited form of pardon where the sentences is reduced, on certain conditions. The granting of a pardon is not subject to judicial review, as confirmed by Council of Civil Service Unions v Minister for the Civil Service , [22] but the courts have chosen to criticise its application or lack thereof, as in R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex parte Bentley . [23] [24] Granting nolle prosequi is done by the Attorney General of England and Wales (or the equivalent in Scotland or Northern Ireland) in the name of the crown, to stop legal proceedings against an individual. This is not reviewable by the courts, as confirmed by R v Comptroller of Patents , and does not count as an acquittal; the defendant may be brought before the courts on the same charge at a later date. [25]

Foreign affairs

The royal prerogative is in much use in the realm of foreign affairs. It is the monarch who recognises foreign states (although several statutes regulate the immunities enjoyed by their heads and diplomatic representatives), issues declarations of war and peace, and forms international treaties. The monarch also has the power to annex territory, as was done in 1955 with the island of Rockall. Once territory has been annexed, the monarch has complete discretion as to the extent to which the government will take over the former government's liabilities; this was confirmed in West Rand Central Gold Mining Company v The King . [26] [27] Monarchs also have the power to alter British territorial waters and cede territory. Their freedom to do these things in practice is doubtful, in that they might deprive British citizens of their nationality and rights. When the island of Heligoland was ceded to Germany in 1890, Parliamentary approval was first sought. [28] Monarchs can also regulate colonies and dependent territories by exercising the prerogative through Orders in Council. The courts have long fought against the monarch's use of this power: in R (Bancoult) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (No 2) , [29] the Court of Appeal ruled that using Orders-in-Council to frustrate judicial rulings was an unlawful abuse of power, although this ruling was later overturned. [30]

A judgment delivered in the Court of Appeal in 1988 (ex parte Everett), and re-stated in a ruling of the High Court delivered in July 2016, [31] confirmed that granting or withdrawing British passports has always been an exercise of the royal prerogative, and continues to be exercisable at the Secretary of State's discretion.

Under the common law, citizens have the right freely to leave and enter the United Kingdom. In R v Foreign Secretary, ex parte Everett , [32] the courts held that it was their right to review the granting of passports to, and the withholding of passports from, British citizens. The writ of ne exeat regno is also used to prevent a person leaving the country. The right to make treaties is a disputed prerogative power: under Blackstone's definition, a prerogative power must be one unique to the monarch. [33]

Other prerogative powers

Monarchs also have power to exercise their prerogative over the granting of honours, the regulation of the armed forces and ecclesiastical appointments. [34] Although the granting of most honours is normally decided by the executive, the monarch is still the person who technically awards them. Exceptions to this rule are membership of the Order of the Garter, the Order of the Thistle, the Order of Merit, the Royal Victorian Order and the Royal Victorian Chain, which the monarch has complete discretion to grant. [35] In relation to the armed forces, the monarch is the Commander in Chief, and members are regulated under the royal prerogative. Most statutes do not apply to the armed forces, although some areas, such as military discipline, are governed by Acts of Parliament. Under the Crown Proceedings Act 1947, the monarch is the sole authority for the armed forces, and as such their organisation, disposition and control cannot be questioned by the courts. [36] This exercise of prerogative power gives the Crown authority to recruit members of the armed forces, appoint commissioned officers, and establish agreements with foreign governments to station troops in their territory. [37] The prerogative empowers the monarch to appoint bishops and archbishops in the Church of England, [38] and to regulate the printing and licensing of the authorised Church of England version of the Bible. [39] The monarch also exerts a certain influence power on his or her weekly and closed conversations with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex parte Northumbria Police Authority , recognised that the prerogative also includes the power to "take all reasonable steps to preserve the Queen's peace", and in Burmah Oil Co. v Lord Advocate , the House of Lords took the view that it extended to "doing all those things in an emergency which are necessary for the conduct of [the Second World War]." [40]


Today, the monarch exercises the prerogative almost exclusively in line with the advice of the government. Leyland notes that:

The present Queen ... is kept very closely in touch with the exercise of governmental power by means of a weekly audience with the prime minister during which she is fully briefed about the affairs of government ... [But it] should be emphasised that the prime minister is not under any obligation to take account of royal opinions. [41]

In simple terms, the prerogative is used to govern the realm in the name of the Crown; although the monarch has the "right to be consulted, the right to encourage, and the right to warn", an action in that role involves no exercise of discretion. [42]

Today, some prerogative powers are directly exercised by ministers without the approval of Parliament, including the powers of declaring war and of making peace, the issue of passports, and the granting of honours. [43] Prerogative powers are exercised nominally by the monarch, but on the advice of the prime minister (whom the monarch meets weekly) and of the cabinet. [44] Some key functions of the British government are still executed by virtue of the royal prerogative, but generally the usage of the prerogative has been diminishing as functions are progressively put on a statutory basis. [45]


Several influential decisions of the House of Lords have determined the limited scope for the use of prerogative powers. In 1915, an appeal was made to the House of Lords, Re Petition of Right ("Shoreham Aerodrome Case"), but during the appeal the case was settled and the appeal withdrawn when the Crown agreed to pay compensation. [46] The appeal was from a unanimous decision of the Court of Appeal that the Crown, both under the statutory Defence of the Realm Regulations and by the royal prerogative, was entitled to take and occupy, for military purposes in wartime, a commercial airfield on the south coast. The government argued that this action was to defend against an invasion; the courts held that for the prerogative to be exercised, the government must demonstrate that a threat of invasion exists. This was backed up by The Zamora (1916), [47] where the Privy Council, on appeal from the Prize Court, held generally that to exercise a power not granted by statute (such as a prerogative power) the government must prove to the court that the exercise is justified. [48] The next decision came in Attorney General v De Keyser's Royal Hotel Ltd (1920), [49] where the House of Lords confirmed that a statutory provision in an area where prerogative powers are in use "abridges the Royal Prerogative while it is in force to this extent – that the Crown can only do the particular thing under and in accordance with the statutory provisions, and that its prerogative power to do that thing is in abeyance". [50]

This principle of statutory superiority was extended in Laker Airway Ltd v Department of Trade, concerning the revocation of a commercial airline operator's licence (December 1976), [51] where it was confirmed that prerogative powers could not be used to contradict a statutory provision, and that in situations to which the power and the statute both applied, the power could only be used to further the aim of the statute. [52] Another extension came with R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex parte Fire Brigades Union , [53] where the Court of Appeal held that even if a statute had not yet come into force, the prerogative could not be used to "conflict with Parliament's wishes" (in that case using its discretion to choose a start date to delay, perhaps indefinitely, the introduction of a statutory compensation scheme). [54]

Whilst the royal prerogative is deployed by the UK government when making (and unmaking) treaties, the Supreme Court held in R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union that the government could not use the prerogative to serve notice of termination of the UK's membership of the EU (under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union). Instead legislative authority via an Act of Parliament was required by the Government. The Court's reasoning in the initial hearing was that such a notice would inevitably affect rights under domestic law (many EU rights having direct effect in the UK). On the assumption – later proven false [note 1] – that triggering Article 50 would inevitably result in Brexit, using the prerogative in this way would therefore frustrate the intention of Parliament to confer those rights. This reasoning was maintained in the subsequent Supreme Court hearing, although that judgement devoted more attention to the fact that Parliament had voted the UK into what was then the EEC by statute in 1972, which under the principle of De Keyser's Hotel (1920) superseded the normal prerogative power to enter into treaties. Following this decision, Parliament decided to provide legal authorisation to the Government to serve a notice in accordance with Article 50. This was duly granted in the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017 and Theresa May exercised the power on 29 March 2017.

Judicial review

Before the modern judicial review procedure superseded the petition of right as the remedy for challenging the validity of a prerogative power, the courts were traditionally only willing to state whether or not powers existed, not whether they had been used appropriately. [54] They therefore applied only the first of the Wednesbury tests: whether the use was illegal. Constitutional scholars such as William Blackstone consider this appropriate:

In the exertion therefore of those prerogatives, which the law has given him, the King is irresistible and absolute, according to the forms of the constitution. And yet if the consequence of that exertion be manifestly to the grievance or dishonour of the kingdom, the Parliament will call his advisers to a just and severe account. [57]

During the 1960s and 70s this attitude was changing, with Lord Denning saying in the Laker Airway case that "seeing that the prerogative is a discretionary power to be exercised for the public good, it follows that its exercise can be examined by the courts just as any other discretionary power which is vested in the executive." The most authoritative case on the matter is Council of Civil Service Unions v Minister for the Civil Service , generally known as the GCHQ case. The House of Lords confirmed that the application of judicial review would be dependent on the nature of the government's powers, not their source. Foreign policy and national security powers are considered outside the scope of judicial review, while the prerogative of mercy is considered within it, as per R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex parte Bentley . [58]


Abolition of the royal prerogative is not imminent, and recent movements to abolish the role of the monarchy and its royal prerogative in government have been unsuccessful. [59] The Ministry of Justice undertook a "review of executive Royal Prerogative powers" in October 2009. [60] Former Labour MP and cabinet minister Tony Benn campaigned unsuccessfully for the abolition of the royal prerogative in the United Kingdom in the 1990s, arguing that all governmental powers in effect exercised on the advice of the prime minister and cabinet should be subject to parliamentary scrutiny and require parliamentary approval. Later governments argued that such is the breadth of topics covered by the royal prerogative that requiring parliamentary approval in each instance where the prerogative is currently used would overwhelm parliamentary time and slow the enactment of legislation. [61]

See also

Notes and references

  1. On 10 December 2008, the Court of Justice of the European Union held that a state that had issued a notification under Article 50 was free to rescind it at will, without requiring the consent of the other Member States. [55] [56]
  1. Select Committee on Public Administration (16 March 2004). "Select Committee on Public Administration Fourth Report". Parliament of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  2. 1 2 3 Carroll (2007) p. 246
  3. Loveland (2009) p. 92
  4. William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1765–1769
  5. Review of the Executive Royal Prerogative Powers: Final Report, Chapter Two paragraph 26
  6. 1 2 Holdsworth (1921) p. 554
  7. Keen, Maurice Hugh England in the later middle ages: a political history Methuen & Co (1973) p281
  8. Chrimes, S. B. Richard II's questions to the judges 1387 in Law Quarterly Review lxxii: 365–90 (1956)
  9. 1 Parl. Hist. 555
  10. Holdsworth (1921) p. 555
  11. Holdsworth (1921) p. 556
  12. Holdsworth (1921) p. 561
  13. Loveland (2009) p. 87
  14. Loveland (2009) p. 91
  15. Barnett (2009) p. 106
  16. Barnett (2009) p. 107
  17. Barnett (2009) p. 109
  20. Barnett (2009) p. 114
  21. Barnett (2009) p. 115
  22. [1985] AC 374
  23. [1994] Q.B. 349
  24. Barnett (2009) p. 116
  25. Barnett (2009) p. 117
  26. [1905] 2 KB 391
  27. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 October 2017. Retrieved 16 June 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  28. Loveland (2009) p. 120
  29. [2008] UKHL 61
  30. Loveland (2009) p. 121
  31. R (XH & Another) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWHC 1898 (Admin) (Hamblen LJ, Cranston J) 28 July 2016
  32. [1989] QB 811, [1988] EWCA Civ 7, [1989] 2 WLR 224
  33. Loveland (2009) p. 122
  34. The Appointment of Bishops Act 1533
  35. Loveland (2009) p. 118
  36. Loveland (2009) p. 119
  37. Ministry of Justice (2009) p.14
  38. Ministry of Justice (2009) p. 4
  39. Ministry of Justice (2009) p. 33
  40. Carroll (2007) p. 251
  41. Leyland (2007) p. 74
  42. Bagehot (2001) p. 111
  43. Public Administration Select Committee (2003). Press Notice no.19 (Report). Archived from the original on 4 January 2004. Retrieved 5 May 2010. Both the above links broken, original now available here (retrieved 9 November 2016).
  44. The Royal Household, Queen and Prime Minister Archived 14 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  45. Leyland (2007)p. 67
  46. Petition of Right, In re A ('Shoreham Aerodrome Case') [1915] 3 K.B. 649, cited in The case of requisition: in re a petition of right of De Keyser's Royal Hotel Limited: De Keyser's Royal Hotel Limited v. the King (1920), Leslie Scott and Alfred Hildesley, with Introduction by Sir John Simon, Clarendon Press, 1920
  47. Privy Council, The Zamora, On Appeal from the High Court, Probate, Divorce, and Admiralty Division. (In Prize.) Powers of King in Council – Royal Prerogative – Extent to which Orders in Council are binding – Inherent Powers of the Court – Preservation of Property in Specie – Neutral Cargo – Contraband – Seizure as Prize – Requisition before Adjudication – Validity – Prize Court Rules.
  48. Loveland (2009) p. 93
  49. [1920] UKHL 1
  50. Loveland (2009) p. 97
  51. Laker Airway Ltd v Department of Trade [1977] QB 643, [1976] EWCA Civ 10
  52. Loveland (2009) p. 99
  53. 1995 2 AC 513
  54. 1 2 Loveland (2009) p. 101
  55. "Reference for a preliminary ruling – Article 50 TEU – Notification by a Member State of its intention to withdraw from the European Union – Consequences of the notification – Right of unilateral revocation of the notification – Conditions – Case C‑621/18". InfoCuria. 10 December 2018. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  56. Randerson, James; Cooper 10 December 2018, Charlie. "UK can withdraw Brexit notification, ECJ rules". Politico.
  57. Loveland (2009) p. 102
  58. Loveland (2009) p. 108
  59. Leyland (2007) p. 78
  60. Ministry of Justice (2009) p. 1
  61. David McKie (6 December 2000). "How ministers exercise arbitrary power". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 5 May 2010.


Related Research Articles

Constitutional monarchy Type of monarchy in which power is restricted by a constitution

A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the sovereign exercises authority in accordance with a written or unwritten constitution. Constitutional monarchy differs from absolute monarchy in that constitutional monarchs are bound to exercise their powers and authorities within the limits prescribed within an established legal framework. Constitutional monarchies range from countries such as Monaco, Morocco, Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain, where the constitution grants substantial discretionary powers to the sovereign, to countries such as the United Kingdom, Spain, Belgium, Sweden and Japan, where the monarch retains significantly less personal discretion in the exercise of their authority.

In a parliamentary or semi-presidential system of government, a reserve power is a power that may be exercised by the head of state without the approval of another branch of the government. Unlike in a presidential system of government, the head of state is generally constrained by the cabinet or the legislature in a parliamentary system, and most reserve powers are usable only in certain exceptional circumstances. In some countries, reserve powers go by another name; for instance, the reserve powers of the President of Ireland are called discretionary powers.

The federal government of Canada is the body responsible for the federal administration of Canada. In Canadian English, the term can mean either the collective set of institutions or specifically the Queen-in-Council. In both senses, the current construct was established at Confederation through the Constitution Act, 1867—as a federal constitutional monarchy, wherein the Canadian Crown acts as the core, or "the most basic building block", of its Westminster-style parliamentary democracy. The Crown is thus the foundation of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of Canadian government. The monarch is personally represented by the Governor General of Canada. The Prime Minister is the head of government who is invited by the Crown to form a government after securing the confidence of the House of Commons, which is typically determined through the election of enough members of a single political party in a federal election to provide a majority of seats in Parliament, forming a governing party. Further elements of governance are outlined in the rest of the Canadian Constitution, which includes written statutes in addition to court rulings, and unwritten conventions developed over centuries.

Government of Spain Executive authority of Spain

The Government of Spain is the central government which leads the executive branch and the General State Administration of the Kingdom of Spain. It is also commonly referred to as the Government of the Nation, or simply the Government.

Monarchy of Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda is a constitutional monarchy and a Commonwealth realm, with Queen Elizabeth II as its reigning monarch and head of state since 1 November 1981. As such she is Antigua and Barbuda's sovereign and officially called Queen of Antigua and Barbuda.

Governor-General of New Zealand Representative of the monarch of New Zealand

The governor-general of New Zealand is the viceregal representative of the monarch of New Zealand, currently Queen Elizabeth II. As the Queen is concurrently the monarch of 15 other Commonwealth realms, and lives in the United Kingdom, she, on the advice of her New Zealand prime minister, appoints a governor-general to carry out her constitutional and ceremonial duties within the Realm of New Zealand.

Monarchy of Jamaica Form of Government in Jamacia

The monarchy of Jamaica is a constitutional system of government in which a hereditary monarch is the sovereign and head of state of Jamaica. The terms Crown in Right of Jamaica, Her Majesty in Right of Jamaica, or The Queen in Right of Jamaica may also be used to refer to the entire executive of the government of Jamaica. Though the Jamaican Crown has its roots in the British Crown, it has evolved to become a distinctly Jamaican institution, represented by its own unique symbols.

Monarchy of Belize Head of state

The monarch of Belize is the head of state of Belize. The incumbent Queen of Belize is Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 21 September 1981. The heir apparent is Elizabeth's eldest son, Prince Charles, though the Queen is the only member of the royal family with any constitutional role. She and the rest of the royal family undertake various public ceremonial functions across Belize and on behalf of Belize abroad.

Monarchy of Barbados sovereign and head of state of Barbados

The monarch of Barbados is the sovereign and head of state of Barbados. The current Barbadian monarch and head of state, since the independence of Barbados on 30 November 1966, is Queen Elizabeth II. As the sovereign, she is the personal embodiment of the Barbadian Crown. Although the person of the sovereign is equally shared with 15 other independent countries within the Commonwealth of Nations, each country's monarchy is separate and legally distinct. As a result, the current monarch is officially titled Queen of Barbados and, in this capacity, she, her husband, and other members of the Royal Family undertake public and private functions domestically and abroad as representatives of the Barbadian state. However, the Queen is the only member of the Royal Family with any constitutional role. The Queen lives predominantly in the United Kingdom and, while several powers are the sovereign's alone, most of the royal governmental and ceremonial duties in Barbados are carried out by the Queen's representative, the governor-general.

<i>Council of Civil Service Unions v Minister for the Civil Service</i> United Kingdom constitutional law

Council of Civil Service Unions v Minister for the Civil Service [1984] UKHL 9, or the GCHQ case, is a United Kingdom constitutional law and UK labour law case that held the Royal Prerogative was subject to judicial review.

Monarchy of the Bahamas Commonwealth Monarchy applied in the Bahamas

The monarchy of the Bahamas is a system of government in which a hereditary monarch is the sovereign of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. The current monarch and head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since the country became independent on 10 July 1973. The Bahamas share the Sovereign with the other Commonwealth realms. The Queen does not personally reside in the islands, and most of her constitutional roles are therefore delegated to her representative in the country, the Governor-General of the Bahamas. Royal succession is governed by the English Act of Settlement of 1701, as amended by the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, with the latter statute reflecting the Perth Agreement, to which the Bahamas government acceded. The two acts are part of constitutional law.

Monarchy of Grenada A country in the West Indies

The monarch of Grenada is the head of state of Grenada since 1765. The present monarch is Elizabeth II, who is also Sovereign of a number of the other Commonwealth realms. The Queen's constitutional roles are mostly delegated to the Governor-General of Grenada. Royal succession is governed by the English Act of Settlement of 1701, which is part of constitutional law.

Monarchy of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

The monarchy of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is the constitutional system of government in which a hereditary monarch is the sovereign and head of state of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, forming the core of the country's Westminster-style parliamentary democracy. The Crown is thus is the foundation of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Vincentian government. While Royal Assent and the royal sign-manual are required to enact laws, letters patent, and orders in council, the authority for these acts stems from the Vincentian populace, and, within the conventional stipulations of constitutional monarchy, the sovereign's direct participation in any of these areas of governance is limited, with most related powers entrusted for exercise by the elected and appointed parliamentarians, the ministers of the Crown generally drawn from amongst them, and the judges and Justices of the Peace.

Monarchy of Tuvalu

The monarchy of Tuvalu is a system of government in which a hereditary monarch is the sovereign and head of state of Tuvalu. The present monarch of Tuvalu is Queen Elizabeth II, who is also the Sovereign of 15 other Commonwealth realms. The Queen's constitutional roles are mostly delegated to the Governor-General of Tuvalu.

<i>Case of Proclamations</i>

The Case of Proclamations [1610] EWHC KB J22 is an English constitutional law case during the reign of King James I (1603–1625) which defined some limitations on the Royal Prerogative at that time. Principally, it established that the Monarch could make laws only through Parliament. The judgment began to set out the principle in English law that when a case involving an alleged exercise of prerogative power came before the courts, the courts could determine:

Government of the United Kingdom Central government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

The Government of the United Kingdom, formally and commonly referred to as Her Majesty's Government, is the central government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The government is led by the prime minister, who selects all the other ministers. The prime minister and their most senior ministers belong to the supreme decision-making committee, known as the Cabinet.

<i>Attorney-General v De Keysers Royal Hotel Ltd</i>

Attorney-General v De Keyser's Royal Hotel Limited is a leading case in UK constitutional law decided by the House of Lords in 1920 which exhaustively considered the principles on which the courts decide whether statute has fettered prerogative power. It decided that the royal prerogative does not entitle the Crown to take possession of a subject's land or buildings for administrative purposes connected with the defence of the realm without paying compensation. It is the authority for the statement that the royal prerogative is placed in abeyance when statute law can provide a legal basis for an action.

<i>R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex parte Northumbria Police Authority</i>

R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex parte Northumbria Police Authority [1989] 1 QB 26 was an English administrative law decision that first recognised the prerogative power to do whatever "was necessary to meet either an actual or an apprehended threat to the peace". It concerned the Home Office's decision to maintain a store of CS gas and plastic baton rounds. In 1986, a Home Office circular, 40/1986, authorised the Home Secretary to release this store to a police force without the approval of the Chief Constable if Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary agreed that it was necessary. The Northumbria Police Authority brought a judicial review case against this decision, arguing that it was ultra vires. The Divisional Court which heard the case recognised a prerogative power to keep the peace, which authorised the Home Office's actions. On appeal to the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, the decision was confirmed, although several more grounds for allowing the distribution of the store were also given.

The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege, and immunity, recognized in common law and, sometimes, in civil law jurisdictions possessing a monarchy, as belonging to the sovereign and which have become widely vested in the government. It is the means by which some of the executive powers of government, possessed by and vested in a monarch with regard to the process of governance of the state, are carried out.

While the United Kingdom does not have a codified constitution that is a single document, the collection of legal instruments that have developed into a body of law known as constitutional law has existed for hundreds of years.