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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 Public Law

8. Government of the United Kingdom  

This chapter examines the people and processes that comprise government in the UK. It considers the constitutional and legal status and role of the monarchy (the King), ministers (the Prime Minister, Secretaries of State, and other ministers), civil servants (politically neutral officials responsible for supporting ministers to implement policies), as well as holders of appointed public offices (such as regulatory bodies that operate independently of ministers). A key question is where does government get its legal power from (legality)? In general terms, those who govern have such powers as are conferred by Acts of Parliament, prerogative powers (in the case of some ministers and the King), and the common law. Another key question is about legitimacy: government bodies must implicitly or expressly make a claim that their powers to govern ought to be accepted, and that claim must be accepted by most of the people most of the time.

Chapter

Cover Public Law

9. Government and Accountability  

This chapter examines the people and processes that comprise government in the UK. It considers the constitutional and legal status and role of the monarchy, ministers, civil servants, as well as holders of appointed public offices. It then turns to one of the central features of a good constitution, namely that it provides opportunities for those who exercise public power to be ‘held to account’ or ‘accountable’ for their decisions and conduct.

Chapter

Cover Administrative Law

3. The Central Government  

Sir William Wade and Christopher Forsyth

This chapter describes the various public authorities and their legal status. These include the Crown and ministers; the civil service and the law of Crown service; some governmental functions of more importance to administrative law; and the filing and investigation of complaints against the government.

Chapter

Cover Wade & Forsyth's Administrative Law

3. The Central Government  

Sir William Wade, Christopher Forsyth, and Julian Ghosh

This chapter describes the various public authorities and their legal status. These include the Crown and ministers; the civil service and the law of Crown service; some governmental functions of more importance to administrative law; and the filing and investigation of complaints against the government.

Chapter

Cover Complete Public Law

12. Responsible Government and Constitutional Conventions  

Titles in the Complete series combine extracts from a wide range of primary materials with clear explanatory text to provide readers with a complete introductory resource. This chapter discusses the nature and extent of constitutional conventions, which are political rules that are binding upon those to whom they apply. They apply to the relationships between the Crown, Parliament, the judiciary, the civil service, and the executive, and play a key role in limiting the powers granted to institutions of government by unwritten rules or sources. Constitutional conventions also regulate key parts of the relationship between the institutions of government. The doctrine of ministerial responsibility is one of the most important examples of constitutional conventions regulating the behaviour of the executive. There are two main branches of ministerial responsibility. One is individual ministerial responsibility—that is, a minister’s obligation to account to Parliament for his or her words and actions and for those of his or her civil servants. The second branch of ministerial responsibility is collective ministerial responsibility. Amongst other things, collective ministerial responsibility prescribes that decisions reached by the Cabinet or other ministerial committees are binding on all members of the government, regardless of whether or not the individual ministers agree with them.

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 Constitutional and Administrative Law

6. The European Union  

The aims of this chapter are threefold. It first briefly considers the events that have led to the creation of the European Community (EC) and the European Union (EU). Secondly, it introduces the reader to the principal institutions of the Union: the European Council, the Council of Ministers, the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the Court of Justice of the EU and General Court. The nature and functions of each of these bodies is considered. Thirdly, the chapter indicates, where appropriate, the nature of the institutional reforms which have occurred following the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty by the member states.

Chapter

Cover An Introduction to European Law

1. Union Institutions  

This chapter discusses the five major European Union institutions: the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Commission, and the European Court. The provisions dealing with the EU institutions are split between the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Ultimately, each of the EU institutions is characterized by its distinct composition and its decision-making mode. Importantly, the EU is not based on a strict separation of functions between its institutions but follows a ‘checks and balances’ version of the separation-of-powers principle. This means that various EU institutions share in the exercise of various governmental functions.

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 Public Law

10. Prerogative Powers  

This chapter examines the meaning and the continuing significance of prerogative powers. Prerogative powers are those that were originally exercised by the Monarch before the modern parliamentary system was established. While most prerogative powers have now been replaced by statutory powers, prerogative powers remain important in some contexts, especially in relation to the conduct of the United Kingdom’s foreign affairs. In this context the decision of the UK Supreme Court in R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union is of particular importance. The chapter is organized as follows. Section 2 considers the various legal foundations on which central government ministers may base their actions and compares prerogative and statutory powers. Section 3 examines prerogative power—a source of power possessed only by ministers in UK government and the monarch—in more detail. Section 4 considers the progress towards the reform of ministerial prerogatives.

Chapter

Cover Jacobs, White, and Ovey: The European Convention on Human Rights

3. Supervising the Enforcement of Judgments  

This chapter examines the role of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers in supervising the judgments made by the European Court of Human Rights or the Strasbourg Court, describes the composition and procedure of the Committee of Ministers, and the execution of judgments.

Chapter

Cover Harris, O'Boyle, and Warbrick: Law of the European Convention on Human Rights

4. The Execution of the Court’s Judgments  

David Harris, Michael O’boyle, Ed Bates, Carla M. Buckley, KreŠimir Kamber, ZoË Bryanston-Cross, Peter Cumper, and Heather Green

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (Committee of Ministers) is tasked with the execution and enforcement of the judgments of the Court. The process is based essentially on peer pressure and political persuasion exercised within a forum where there is a genuine commitment to effective enforcement of judgments, but also on a commonality of political interest and often a self-interested tolerance of the practical problems associated with execution. This chapter discusses the role of the Committee of Ministers, its procedures and common features, and recent developments in the execution process.

Chapter

Cover Harris, O'Boyle, and Warbrick: Law of the European Convention on Human Rights

4. The execution of the Court’s judgments  

David Harris, Michael O’Boyle, Ed Bates, and Carla Buckley

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (Committee of Ministers) is tasked with the execution and enforcement of the judgments of the Court. The process is based essentially on peer pressure and political persuasion exercised within a forum where there is a genuine commitment to effective enforcement of judgments, but also on a commonality of political interest and often a self-interested tolerance of the practical problems associated with execution. This chapter discusses the role of the Committee of Ministers, its procedures and common features, and recent developments in the execution process.

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’.

Chapter

Cover EU Law in the UK

2. The EU institutions  

This chapter discusses the different institutions that make up the ‘EU government’. It begins by explaining the Article 50 TEU (Treaty of European Union) process, which sets out how a Member State can leave the EU. The chapter then describes the European Council, the European Commission, the Council of Ministers, the European Parliament, and the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The two other EU institutions set out in Article 13 TEU include the European Central Bank and the Ombudsman. The chapter then considers how the roles of the EU institutions in the UK will change over the next few years following Brexit. It studies the Withdrawal Agreement and assesses what happens after the so-called transition period.