Wednesday, 8 February 2017
The Royal Prerogative is a major source of governmental power. As a result of recent litigation concerning leaving the European Union ("Brexit") it has very much come to public notice. The litigation was concerned with whether Ministers require the authority of Parliament in order to give notice to the European Council under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union that the UK intends to leave the EU. The Supreme Court held, by 8 to 3, that an Act of Parliament was required to give the authority.
Royal Prerogative powers are particular powers of the Crown which have survived into modern times and which are, in practice, powers exercisable by Ministers who are, ultimately, accountable to Parliament. Some of the powers are highly important and necessary to the efficient workings of government.
A brief note about Treaties:
The government has entered into around 14000 treaties with other nations and recognised international bodies. Treaties bind the UK in international law and they operate on the international plane. As a basic rule, because the UK operates a "dualist" as opposed to "monist" system, a Treaty will not affect domestic law unless Parliament has legislated for it to do so.
The UK is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) which operates under the aegis of the Council of Europe. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is a Council of Europe body. The ECHR binds the UK internationally with regard to the protection of those rights set out in the ECHR. Domestically, the Human Rights Act 1998 has woven into national law certain of the rights in the ECHR.