Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary
There is no specific Constitutional legislation in the UK legal system, although some legislation and case law is recognized as having constitutional significance. Aside from these legal manifestations of the constitution, there are a large number of conventions by which UK legislators and politicians abide. Failing to do so cannot be actionable in the courts, and would lead to some constitutional upset. Examples include the following.
These conventions, and the many similar examples, achieve their strength over a period of time; it is not always clear at what point a custom solidifies into a constitutional convention. For example, Royal Assent to a bill has not been refused since 1708, and we have every reason to think it won’t be again. However, some cases are not so clear cut. For example, it is widely accepted that the Prime Minister must hold a seat in the Commons (rather than the Lords), but this practice only goes back a hundred years, so it is not impossible that it could be reversed.
Where these conventions are broken by an individual acting in his own capacity, it is expected that individual censure will result. For example, ministers may be removed from office, or compelled to resign, by the PM if they do not follow the conventions attached to their offices. Where the breach is by the Government itself (or by a minister acting in the capacity of his office, which amounts to the same thing), it is not entirely clear what the consequences would be. For example, it is highly uncertain whether the Monarchy as an institution could survive an attempt to refuse Assent to bill.
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This glossary post was last updated: 5th April, 2020 | 3 Views.