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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.


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.


Cover Environmental Law

4. The form, function, and administration of environmental law  

Stuart Bell, Donald McGillivray, Ole W. Pedersen, Emma Lees, and Elen Stokes

This chapter focuses on national law, while also introducing international and European sources. Environmental law emerges at international, European, and national levels partly because the complex, interconnected nature of environmental problems requires a range of solutions at all of these levels. Some of the key characteristics of environmental laws that help to explain both the form and function of UK environmental law are examined here. The chapter also considers the institutions that are involved in the administration of environmental law and policy. The administration of environmental law and policy is carried out by a diversity of bodies, including government departments, regulatory agencies such as the Environment Agency, and a range of quasi-governmental bodies. The focus here is almost exclusively on UK structures and institutions. An underlying theme of the chapter is the way in which administrative structures are used to encourage the integration of environmental law and policy both internally—for example, through the creation of the Environment Agency as a unified regulatory agency—and externally; for example, through various methods of scrutinizing environmental policy across government departments.


Cover Administrative Law

5. Retention of Discretion  

Mark Elliott and Jason Varuhas

This chapter discusses the principles of administrative law which require decision-makers to retain the discretion which they are granted. It first considers the question of delegation of discretionary powers as well as the non-delegation principle before explaining the nature of delegation. It then examines the courts' approach with respect to departmental decision-making in central government and how far the discretionary freedom of the decision-maker designated by statute may be constrained by delegation and the adoption of policies. It also shows why it is often desirable or even necessary for decision-makers to exercise their discretion in line with a policy or a set of criteria. Finally, it looks at judicial moves towards ensuring that exercise of discretion is structured and legally constrained by publicly available policy. A number of relevant cases are cited throughout the chapter, including Barnard v. National Dock Labour Board [1953] 2 QB 18.


Cover Complete Public Law

13. Justice in the Modern Administrative State  

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 role of a range of accountability methods to scrutinize the executive’s use of power. This includes the work of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration, who is now also known as the Parliamentary Ombudsman, the role of tribunals in contrast to courts, of public inquiries and of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms too. It also examines the limitations of each of these methods, and how they may complement each other to provide different forms of scrutiny.


Cover Introduction to the English Legal System

4. Shaping the legal system: the role of government  

This chapter considers the principal government departments that shape the English legal system. Over the years, the Government has become increasingly involved in the English legal system. The leading department is the Ministry of Justice, which is responsible for running and developing the courts and tribunals system. The chapter provides an overview of its functions. It also considers the Judicial Office, the Judicial College, and the Law Commission. The Home Office is responsible for many aspects of criminal justice policy. Mention is also made of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and other central government departments whose work impacts on the legal system.