To begin with, the Royal Prerogative is the great power
which is inherited by the crown but is exercised by the government. Therefore mostly on advice of the Prime
Minister and Ministers of the Crown. As defined by William Blackstone: ‘There
cannot be a stronger proof of that genuine freedom, which is the boast of this
age and country, than the power of discussing and examining, with decency and
respect, the limits of the king’s prerogative.’1 Giving
its meaning to the Royal Prerogative power. A.V. Dicey described the Royal Prerogative
as “… the remaining portion of the Crown’s original authority, and it is
therefore … the name for the residue of discretionary power left at any moment
in the hands of the Crown, whether such power be in fact exercised by the King
himself or by his Ministers”. 2That
means the queen reigns but does not rule. The Royal Prerogative are known as
Prime minister and Ministers who were transferred the power, such as declaring
wars, making treaties or dissolving the Parliament.
There is a difference between the Personal Prerogative
powers and Executive Prerogative powers. Personal prerogative powers are
utilized by the Queen (monarch). These are for example the dissolution of
Parliament, the appointment of the Prime Minister, giving the grant of the
royal assent to the legislations and the dismissal of government. The power of
the Crown is said to be possibly threatening the democracy. As it is said that
the Queen can exercise its prerogative powers based on her wish and remain ignoring
the ministerial advices which include the power of the Prime Minister, ant
these powers are giving the royal assent to legislation and also the
dissolution of Parliament. The democracy
is maintained due to the fact the Queen has the power to appoint Prime
Minister. Nevertheless, Prime Minister and its Royal Prerogative take the
decisions and rule the government. The Crown does not utilize the prerogative
power arbitrarily to overtake the decisions which are made by the Prime
Minister. So the democracy is protected.
However biggest concern is the possible abuse of power of
Prime Minister. As on behalf of the Crown he can declare the war and deploy
troops. But it might cause issues in defining the power and potential
limitations. For example the war in Iraq. Regarding to Iraq (2002) the
Parliament was recalled in order to discuss the increasingly worse situation in
the House of Commons and the possibility of launching military action. The
Labour government pointed out that they would give Parliament a vote on whether
the military would be deployed even though there was no duty to do so.
(Majority votes were passed.) And these votes were targeted as the starting
position for the constitutional convention that the approval of Parliament
demanded before military intervention was taken.
Due to the lack of written constitution and power derived
from the statute law or common law makes clear the power of the Executive
government. Nevertheless, the lack of guidelines might sometimes involve a
problem. A good example is former Prime Minister – Tony Blair who was
criticized for making his decision of going into the war alone. However, where
there is a declaration of war, or troops are deployed, constitutional
convention dictates that authorisation for action is given by the Prime
Minister (royal prerogative). Nevertheless, some extra protection would not be
out of place as there is increasing tension of conflicts in recent years. There are benefits of parliamentary involvement
in the deployment of troops such as legitimacy and accountability, checks and
balances (duty of Prime Minister). But also diasadvantages as the exercise of
the power is seen as oldfashioned nowadays. And it is consulted that the use of
prerogative is not democratic. Historically the Sovereign would consist of more
limits and have lack of access to finance.
Also it might not be as clear to define a decision if each is a subject
to debate. The topic discussed by the prerogative may become vague as a
consequence of that.
The prerogative powers are categorized into two seperate
sectors which are mentioned in my essay. The executive prerogatives and
personal prerogatives. The major role of these prerogatives always claimed to
have the purpose of maintaining and securing democracy. However, it is not
working with that purpose because the Crown only carry out the prerogatives
under the advice of the Prime Minister (who has the power). The exercises done
by the prerogatives are subjected to the political and legal control respectively.
Although there occure some limitations of the political control of the
prerogative powers. There is effective legal control by the courts granted by
the judicial review on the prerogative powers. And due to that democracy can be
ensured in the United Kingdom.
1 LONANG Institute. (2018). The King’s
Prerogative – LONANG Institute. online Available at:
Accessed 6 Jan. 2018.
2 Publications.parliament.uk. (2018). House
of Commons – Public Administration – Fourth Report. online Available at:
Accessed 6 Jan. 2018.