This essay will discuss constitutional conventions and their enforceability in the UK, as well as this whether accountability for the breaches is sufficient. The essay will be sectioned into separate segments. In the UK it is normal that constitutional conventions are followed, similarly to laws. There is a major difference between these two, Laws are completely enforceable whereas convention cannot be used within courts. Within the UK there are two sections to these constitutions, within the first category there is the legal rules of constitutions and then there is the second segment, in which consists of both political and moralistic non-legal rules.
There have been instances in which constitutional conventions have been broken, in some cases legal action has been requested an example of this could be the ‘R(Miller) v The Prime Minister’ in which there were two appeals, there was one from the high court of England and Wales and then the other one was from the Inner House of the Court of Session in Scotland. This appeal was filed against the advice in which the Prime Minster had given to Her Majesty the Queen, between the dates 27th and 28th August, the advice given was ‘Parliament should be prorogued from dates 9th and 12th September until the 14th October’ the appeal was against this advice in whether it was lawful to do so and whether there should be ‘legal consequences’ if it wasn’t.
Although this case was dismissed by the high court of England and Wales as they found it non Justicible. The Scottish court had found this justiciable, stating that ‘it was motivated by the improper purpose of stymying Parliamentary scrutiny of the Government, and that it, and any propagation which followed it, were unlawful and thus void and of no effect.’ There was no law stopping the Prime minister from giving this advice to the Queen, as there are no direct laws broken in doing so. It could be suggested that this breaks constitutional conventions as well as ‘Parliamentary accountability’.
Whilst constitutional conventions are not legally binding, they can be enforced, and accountability should be sufficed if needed. Lord Bingham argued that ‘the conduct of government by a prime minister and cabinet collectively responsible and accountable to Parliament lies.’ Stating that there should be both enforceability against both the PM and Parliament and that they should be held accountable for the constitutional conventions in which they breach, whether they be legally wrong or not ‘The power to prorogue is limited by the constitutional principles’.
The court had concluded that the decision made by the Prime minister was unlawful, this was due to affect it had on the ‘Parliaments ability to carry out constitutional functions without any reasonable justification’. On the other hand, it can be said that there are no constitutional conventions that can be enforced nor can there be any accountability for the breaching of said conventions,
Cite this Essay
To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below