The prerogative is a power possessed by an official in virtue or his or her office or other words it is a discretionary power that exceeds with the passage of time and is not affected by any other authority. Most of the times, prerogative is the term that is used by law people, which refers to an object upon which royal powers are carried out or implemented. Immunities, rights and special powers entitled just to the crown are termed as Royal Prerogative. These powers have changed the legal framework of UK. It has altered legal framework from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy. Now, these powers are not just limited to the crown alone but the ministers of the constitution also. It is mainly because now most of the prerogatives are represented by the king, instead then by the queen directly. In UK queen has limited powers, ministers exercise mostly prerogative powers under the authority of Queen. Ministers who use prerogative powers are directly responsible to the parliament of UK.
There are several categories associated with royal prerogatives in different areas. For instance, in the judicial system, the crown has the authority by which he or she grants a special leave concerning the appeal from the colonial courts to be the legal committee. In different areas, these powers have different significance and importance which ranges from the signing of a treaty to the opening of a parliament. Most prominent concern related to these powers use that majority of these powers are no longer in the hands of monarchs but widely exercised by the executives of the government (Lawteacher.net, 2018).
Council of Civil services union Vs Minister of Civil Services (GCHQ case)
The government banned intelligence officers of GCHQ from joining city national council and trade unions. This decision was taken by the powers of the concerned minister of Civil Service order in council in 1982. However, union challenged this decision by claiming that it has been made under prerogative powers that have not been examined before by the court. Another claim presented by the union is based on the fact that government did not consult workers which they think is an unfair act by the government and should be reviewed again. However, House of lords supported lower court’s decision. They rejected the claim made by the union with the fact that national security concerns are the purview of the executives (Publications.parliament.uk, 2018).
Burmah Oil Co Vs Lord Advocate
The case established with the fact that even when powers are still extant, powers possessed by the crown, cannot be used in the same way as they were used in older times. During second World war, most of the oil installations were destroyed by British forces so that hey will not fall into the hands of Japanese. The government claimed that this decision was made with the help of prerogative power and no compensation will be paid to the Burmah oil company. However, Hose of Lords held that while the government has made a legal decision based on fair use or prerogative powers by the company should be compensated as well. They said that the decision that was taken by the government was for the betterment of its people so government should pay for the damages that company has incurred. This is one of the examples that shows the use of prerogative powers and how it can be used despite the fact that they are still available (swarb.co.uk, 2018).
Laker Airways Ltd vs Department of Trade (1977)
In 1977, Laker Airways proposed to fly a route from the UK to the USA. Before the implementation of this route and flights to fly at this route, there need to be air carriers between the two nations to be designated. The power permission is beyond the jurisdiction of civil aviation authority. Because crown holds power, secretary of the state granted the designation and CAA found evident of issuing a license. The license given by the British authority was opposed to the permit appealed to the secretary of state. The process of appeal was set out in 1971 and was rejected. However, USA government did not granted designation and lakers did not carry out its operations. Meanwhile, British Airways board ordered CAA to revoke the licence as per market conditions. In the court, Attorney claimed that the use of prerogative power was legal. Court held that the powers used by the secretary of the state was constitutional and he intended to stop laker airways operations. Prerogative powers used in this case was with the purpose of achievement of results associated with valid revocation under the statue (Feldman, 2017).
British Broadcasting Company vs Johns (HM Inspector of Taxes)
The case established with the fact that prerogative powers cannot be broadened. The British broadcasting company made the claim that they are entitled to pay taxes with the fact they are a crown monopoly and are therefore entitled to crown immunity. Primary argument made by the BBC is that crown has the prerogative right to permit monopoly of broadcasting. However, Court did not accept the claim made by BBC and made clear that king did not assert monopoly to BBC. Lord Justice made remarks that 350 years and civil war is too late for queen’s courts (Group, 2018).
Attorney General v De Keyser’s Royal Hotel Ltd
The case was established on the fact that prerogative powers cannot be used when statutory powers replace them. Abeyance principle defines the after effects of prerogative powers once a statute is passed.The government seized De Keyser’s hotel in London for war use in 1916. The government claimed that this was entirely an act of prerogative powers, but the government is not liable to pay any damages or compensation. House of Lords rejected the claim made by the government. House of Lords made clear that Statute law is moreover essential and significant than prerogative powers. The final decision was taken by the house of lords based because the government will pay the damages caused by them to the owner of the hotel (Clark, 2017).
Royal prerogatives are considered one of the essential elements of UK’s constitution. Prerogative powers enable ministers to deploy armed forces. Ministers of the government exercise these powers either by their own or by the suggestions or advice they give to the Queen, which she had to follow. Statute law is more supreme than prerogative powers. Use of prerogative powers is active and remain in a subject to the ordinary law duties. However prerogative powers can be abrogated by statute law, but it can never be broadened. Court rulings have abandoned those circumstances in which prerogative powers will be used.
Clark, D., 2017. The Brexit Decision: R (on the Application of Miller and Another) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. Flinders LJ, 19, p.123.
Feldman, D., 2017. Pulling a Trigger or Starting a Journey? Brexit in the Supreme Court. The Cambridge Law Journal, 76(2), pp.217-223.
Group, C. (2016). Campbell McLachlan QC: The Foreign Affairs Treaty Prerogative and the Law of the Land. [online] UK Constitutional Law Association. Available at: https://ukconstitutionallaw.org/2016/11/14/campbell-mclachlan-qc-the-foreign-affairs-treaty-prerogative-and-the-law-of-the-land/ [Accessed 22 Apr. 2018].
Lawteacher.net. (2018). Definition, history and overview of prerogative powers. [online] Available at: https://www.lawteacher.net/free-law-essays/constitutional-law/prerogative-powers.php [Accessed 22 Apr. 2018].
Publications.parliament.uk. (2018). House of Lords – R (On The Application of Bancoult) V Secretary of State For Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. [online] Available at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/ldjudgmt/jd081022/banc-1.htm [Accessed 22 Apr. 2018].
Swarb.co.uk. (2017). Burmah Oil Company (Burma Trading) Limited v Lord Advocate: HL 21 Apr 1964 – swarb.co.uk. [online] Available at: http://swarb.co.uk/burmah-oil-company-burma-trading-limited-v-lord-advocate-hl-21-apr-1964/ [Accessed 22 Apr. 2018].