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Chapter

Cover Public Law

7. Central government  

This chapter examines the structure and role of central government, with the latter part focusing on the key constitutional requirement that the government is accountable to the people through Parliament, reflecting the democratic nature of the constitution. The phrase ‘central government’ refers to the Prime Minister, Cabinet, ministers, government departments, and civil servants. Informally, these parts of central government are often referred to as ‘Whitehall’, reflecting how most government departments and the Prime Minister are based around that area of central London close to Westminster. A more constitutionally appropriate phrase is the ‘executive’. However, this term can also be taken to mean other elements which include the governments of Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales, as well as local government and organizations such as the police.

Chapter

Cover Public Law Concentrate

8. The executiveCentral, devolved, and local government  

Each Concentrate revision guide is packed with essential information, key cases, revision tips, exam Q&As, and more. Concentrates show you what to expect in a law exam, what examiners are looking for, and how to achieve extra marks. This chapter discusses the executive branch of government. The executive consists of the reigning monarch who is legally the head of state, the Prime Minister, Cabinet, unanimity of advice and collective cabinet responsibility; Secretaries of State, Ministers of the Crown, departments of state, non-departmental public bodies, the civil service, the Civil Service Commission, parliamentary accountability, the Ministerial Code, the seven principles of public life, legal accountability, devolved administrative organizations in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and London, local authorities, the police, and the armed forces, the effect of the Localism Act 2011, the Scotland Acts 1998, 2012, 2014, and 2016, the Cities and Devolution Act 2016, and the Wales Act 2017. This chapter also discusses the relevant provisions of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Act 2018.

Chapter

Cover Concentrate Questions and Answers Public Law

3. Prime Minister and Cabinet  

The Q&A series offers the best preparation for tackling exam questions. Each chapter includes typical questions, diagram problem and essay answer plans, suggested answers, notes of caution, tips on obtaining extra marks, the key debates on each topic, and suggestions on further reading. This chapter presents issues relating to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. The sample questions given here deal with issues such as the extent to which the UK has moved from a system of Cabinet government to a system of Prime Ministerial government; collective ministerial responsibility; and how the convention of individual ministerial responsibility operates in relation to departmental error.

Chapter

Cover Concentrate Questions and Answers Public Law

4. The royal prerogative  

The Q&A series offers the best preparation for tackling exam questions. Each chapter includes typical questions, diagram problem and essay answer plans, suggested answers, notes of caution, tips on obtaining extra marks, the key debates on each topic, and suggestions on further reading. This chapter considers the royal prerogative. The questions deal with issues such as the continued existence of prerogative power; the Queen’s formal legal power; the UK government’s exercise of royal prerogative powers; the use of the prerogative in foreign affairs; and judicial review of the prerogative. Many of the prerogative powers are now exercised by the Prime Minister in the name of the Queen.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Public Law

R (on the application of FDA) v Prime Minister [2021] EWHC 3279 (Admin), Queen’s Bench Divisional Court  

Essential Cases: Public Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in R (on the application of FDA) v Prime Minister [2021] EWHC 3279 (Admin), Queen’s Bench Divisional Court. This case concerned the justiciability of provisions in the Ministerial Code relating to bullying, harassment, and discrimination, and the decision of the Prime Minister in relation to an alleged breach of that Code by the Home Secretary. The document also includes supporting commentary and questions from the author, Thomas Webb.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Public Law

R (on the application of FDA) v Prime Minister [2021] EWHC 3279 (Admin), Queen’s Bench Divisional Court  

Essential Cases: Public Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in R (on the application of FDA) v Prime Minister [2021] EWHC 3279 (Admin), Queen’s Bench Divisional Court. This case concerned the justiciability of provisions in the Ministerial Code relating to bullying, harassment, and discrimination, and the decision of the Prime Minister in relation to an alleged breach of that Code by the Home Secretary. The document also includes supporting commentary and questions from author, Thomas Webb.

Chapter

Cover Cases and Materials on Constitutional and Administrative Law

5. The Royal Prerogative and Constitutional Conventions  

This chapter reviews the royal prerogative and constitutional conventions, and the relationship between these two sources of constitutional rules. The first section identifies the various types of prerogative power and explores recent examples where these such powers have been placed on a statutory basis, as well as proposals to reverse this process, such as by repealing the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 and reviving the royal prerogative. It also examines attempts to codify constitutional practice, including the Crown’s personal prerogative of the appointment of the Prime Minister in the Cabinet Manual, and the interaction between prerogative and statute in the courts. The second section of the chapter explores constitutional conventions as a source of the constitution, their relationship with law, and their nature as rules of political behaviour. It considers the treatment of conventions in the courts, whether they can obtain legal force, and the feasibility and desirability of codifying conventions. The important connections between the royal prerogative and constitutional conventions are analysed at various points throughout the chapter.

Chapter

Cover Public Law

6. The Crown, royal prerogative, and constitutional conventions  

This chapter explores the historical, legal, and political nature of the Crown and the royal prerogative. The rule of law requires that the government act according to the law, which means that the powers of the government must be derived from the law. However, within the UK Constitution, some powers of the government stem from the royal prerogative, as recognized by the common law. The concepts of the Crown and the royal prerogative mean that although the Queen is Head of State, it is generally the ministers who form the government that exercise the prerogative powers of the Crown. For this reason, many prerogative powers are often referred to as the ‘ministerial prerogatives’, and the few prerogative powers still exercised personally by the monarch, are referred to as the ‘personal prerogatives’.