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Chapter

Cover European Union Law

9. Executive Powers  

Competences and Procedures

This chapter studies three executive powers in the context of the European Union. It begins with an examination of the political power to act as government. The ‘steering’ power of high politics belongs to two EU institutions: the European Council and the Commission. The Union ‘government’ is thus based on a ‘dual executive’. The chapter then moves to an analysis of the (delegated) legislative powers of the Union executive. The central provisions here are Articles 290 and 291 TFEU. The European legal order has allowed for wide delegations of power to the Commission; while nonetheless insisting on substantive and procedural safeguards to protect federalism and democracy. Finally, the chapter looks at the (administrative) enforcement powers of the Union. Based on the idea of ‘executive federalism’, the power to apply and enforce European law is here divided between the Union and the Member States. The Union can—exceptionally—execute its own law; yet, as a rule, it is the Member States that primarily execute Union law.

Chapter

Cover European Constitutional Law

9. Executive Powers  

Competences and Procedures

This chapter studies three executive powers in the context of the European Union. It begins with an examination of the political power to act as government. The ‘steering’ power of high politics belongs to two EU institutions: the European Council and the Commission. The Union ‘government’ is thus based on a ‘dual executive’. The chapter then moves to an analysis of the (delegated) legislative powers of the Union executive. The central provisions here are Articles 290 and 291 TFEU. The European legal order has allowed for wide delegations of power to the Commission; while nonetheless insisting on substantive and procedural safeguards to protect federalism and democracy. Finally, the chapter looks at the (administrative) enforcement powers of the Union. Based on the idea of ‘executive federalism’, the power to apply and enforce European law is here divided between the Union and the Member States. The Union can—exceptionally—execute its own law; yet, as a rule, it is the Member States that primarily execute Union law.

Book

Cover European Constitutional Law
European Constitutional Law uses a distinctive two-part structure to examine the legal foundations and powers of the European Union. The text takes a critical approach to ensure awareness of the intricacies of European constitutional law. Part I looks at the constitutional foundations including a constitutional history. This part also looks at the governmental structure of the European constitution. Part II moves on to governmental powers. It looks at legislative, external, executive, and judicial powers. It ends with a study of limiting powers and EU fundamental rights.

Chapter

Cover Public Law

2. The institutions of government and the separation of powers  

This chapter explores the key institutions—the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary—and considers the relevance of the principle of the separation of powers in respect of the UK Constitution. It begins with a discussion of the functions fulfilled by these institutions, including an examination of their structure and key roles, allowing fuller exploration of the separation of powers doctrine in the UK Constitution. The chapter identifies a common distinction drawn between what is known as the pure and partial separation of powers: The former favours total separation, while the latter allows a degree of overlap to the point of ensuring a system of checks and balances. Application of this distinction enables broader exploration of the UK’s application of the separation of powers doctrine.

Chapter

Cover The Changing Constitution

7. The Executive in Public Law  

Thomas Poole

This chapter focuses on the executive, the branch of government responsible for initiating and implementing the laws and for acting where necessary to secure the interests of the state. We trace its development out of a medieval model of government structured around the king and his court, to a modern world of offices exercising executive functions, grouped under the legacy term ‘the Crown’. The resulting institutions display a complicated pattern of law and custom, and legal concepts and principles relate to them often in convoluted ways. Our analysis focuses on how executive power is normally understood from the legal point of view—deriving from an authorizing statute via rules made within a government department to eventual application by subordinate officials or agents—and traces some of the ways the courts monitor that process. But we also examine the executive’s non-statutory or ‘prerogative’ powers, the two main compartments of which are treated separately, as the general executive powers and the general administrative powers of the Crown respectively.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Public Law

M v Home Office [1994] 1 AC 377, House of Lords (also known as Re M)  

Essential Cases: Public Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in M v Home Office [1994] 1 AC 377, House of Lords (also known as Re M). The case considered whether the courts had the power to issue injunctions against government departments and the ministers attached to them, and whether the rule of law required that those departments and ministers could be held in contempt of court for breach of court orders. The document also includes supporting commentary and questions from author Thomas Webb.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Public Law

M v Home Office [1994] 1 AC 377, House of Lords (also known as Re M)  

Essential Cases: Public Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in M v Home Office [1994] 1 AC 377, House of Lords (also known as Re M). The case considered whether the courts had the power to issue injunctions against government departments and the ministers attached to them, and whether the rule of law required that those departments and ministers could be held in contempt of court for breach of court orders. The document also includes supporting commentary and questions from author Thomas Webb.

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 Public Law

5. Separating and Balancing Powers  

This chapter examines the division of powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. It considers the debate as to whether, why, and how separation of powers should occur in the UK’s constitutional system. Political constitutionalists tend to downplay the role of courts, while legal constitutionalists tend to be keen on using the idea of separation of powers to bolster the importance of the courts as a major ‘check and balance’ on the institutions that carry out the other two functions (legislative and executive). The discussions also cover the separation of power between the Crown and Parliament; judicial analysis of separation of powers; and interactions between Parliament, the executive, and judges. The ‘Westminster model’ is also explored.

Chapter

Cover Public Law

5. Separating and Balancing Powers  

This chapter examines the division of powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. It considers the debate as to whether, why, and how separation of powers should occur in the UK’s constitutional system. Political constitutionalists tend to downplay the role of courts, while legal constitutionalists tend to be keen on using the idea of separation of powers to bolster the importance of the courts as a major ‘check and balance’ on the institutions that carry out the other two functions (legislative and executive). The discussions also cover the separation of power between the Crown and Parliament; judicial analysis of separation of powers; and interactions between Parliament, the executive, and judges. The ‘Westminster model’ is also explored.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Public Law

R (on the application of Detention Action) v First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) [2015] EWCA Civ 840, Court of Appeal (Civil Division)  

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 Detention Action) v First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) [2015] EWCA Civ 840, Court of Appeal (Civil Division). This case considers the legality of the ‘Fast Track Rules’ which operated in asylum application cases, and the extent to which the courts can intervene in, and suspend, processes in major areas of government policy. There is also discussion of the relative roles of the courts and government in contentious areas of public policy. The document also includes supporting commentary and questions from author Thomas Webb.

Chapter

Cover Public Law

4. Separation of Powers—An Introduction  

This chapter explains the separation of powers doctrine, first describing the three branches of government: the legislative, judicial, and executive. It then discusses why separation of powers is needed, different conceptions of separation of powers, and separation of powers in the UK.

Chapter

Cover Complete Public Law

5. The Separation of Powers  

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. The separation of powers is a theory or a doctrine that describes how a state organizes the distribution of power and function between its different branches. It is often used as an umbrella term to denote the extent to which the three ‘powers’ in, or branches of, the state are fused or divided—that is, the legislative, the executive, and the judicial powers. This chapter begins by sketching the history of the separation of powers in the UK. It then discusses the purpose of the separation of powers; the similarities and differences between different theories of the separation of powers; the impact of recent constitutional reform on the operation of the separation of powers in the UK; how courts have interpreted the separation of powers; and the relevance of the separation of powers today, including in the context of the balance of power between the executive and Parliament as regards the UK’s decision to exit the European Union.

Chapter

Cover Public Law Directions

7. Separation of powers  

This chapter looks at the separation of powers. The separation of powers is a doctrine requiring that executive, legislative, and judicial powers within a state should be clearly divided and allocated to separate institutions; the aim is to prevent the concentration of power in any one branch and reduce the potential for arbitrary or oppressive exercise of power. Although the degree of separation between the three branches varies between states, codified constitutions will regulate those spheres of power by allocating specific roles and functions to each branch and will allow checks or controls to operate between them to ensure accountability. The separation of powers in the UK is weakest between the legislative and executive, and strongest and most distinct between the judiciary and the other two branches. Indeed, the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 has brought stronger separation between the judiciary and the executive, making the judiciary more autonomous.

Book

Cover Essential Cases: Public Law
Essential Cases: Public Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. Essential Cases provides you with succinct summaries of some of the most influential, landmark cases in public law. Each summary begins with a review of the main case facts and decision. The summary is then concluded with expert commentary on the case from the author, Thomas Webb, including the wider questions raised by the decision for you to consider.

Book

Cover Essential Cases: Public Law
Essential Cases: Public Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. Essential Cases provides you with succinct summaries of some of the landmark and most influential cases in public law. Each summary begins with a review of the main case facts and decision. The summary is then concluded with expert commentary on the case from the author, Thomas Webb, including his assessment of the wider questions raised by the decision for you to consider.

Chapter

Cover Public Law

11. Case Study: Deployment of British Armed Forces Abroad  

This chapter contains a case study: deployment of British armed forces abroad. Theimportant decision to deploy forces abroad is taken by the executive relying on its prerogative power. In the past, such decisions were taken with minimal parliamentary oversight. A constitutional convention may have developed that Parliament should debate and approve deployments, but the scope of this convention is not settled. Parliamentary committees of both houses of Parliament and others have pressed for reforms designed to ensure that Parliament has a greater influence. This chapter explores the issues involved and reasons why reform has proved so difficult to achieve.

Chapter

Cover Public Law Directions

15. Introduction to judicial review  

This chapter looks at the purpose and constitutional significance of judicial review. Where public bodies overreach themselves by acting unlawfully, the judicial review process allows individuals to hold public bodies to account in the courts, ensuring that governmental and public powers are lawfully exercised. This maintains the rule of law by helping to protect the public from the arbitrary or unreasonable exercise of government power. Judicial review is therefore a powerful check and control by the courts on executive action, but it also raises issues of whether the process gives the judiciary too much power over the elected government. There are three preliminary or threshold issues that a claimant needs to satisfy when bringing a judicial review claim. To be amenable to judicial review, the claim must raise a public law matter; it must be justiciable; and the claimant must have standing (locus standi).

Book

Cover Public Law Concentrate
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. Public Law Concentrate looks at all aspects of constitutional law including sources, rule of law, separation of powers, role of the executive, constitutional monarchy, and the Royal Prerogative. It also discusses parliamentary sovereignty and the changing constitutional relationship between the UK and the EU together with the status of EU retained and converted law under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 as amended by the 2020 Act, the Agreement on Trade and Cooperation effective from 1 January 2021, and the European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020. Also covered are: administrative law, judicial review, human rights, police powers, public order, terrorism, the constitutional status of the Sewel Convention, legislative consent motion procedure, use of secondary legislation by the executive to amend law and make regulations creating criminal offences, especially under the Coronavirus Act 2020 and the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, the separation of powers implications of Henry VIII Clauses, the constitutional role of the Horuse of Lords in scrutinizing and amending primary legislation, the Speakers’ Ruling in the House of Commons on Points of Order and the Contempt of Parliament Motion, whip system, back bench revolts, confidence and supply agreements in government formation, and current legislative and executive devolution in Northern Ireland. The book additionally examines the continuing impact of the HRA 1998 and the European Court of Human Rights on parliamentary sovereignty and the significance of the 2021 Independent Review of the HRA.