To what extent are conventions a recognised

To what extent are Conventions a Recognized Beginning of the British Constitution?

[ Conventions are ] [ 1 ]imposts, patterns, axioms or principles which are non enforced or recognised by courts”.[ 2 ]

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Dicey viewed a convention as the same as a mere pattern or legal regulation [ 3 ] . Jennings on the other manus saw conventions in the same position as Torahs, i.e. there is“no differentiation of substance or nature”[ 4 ] between a convention and a jurisprudence. In other words conventions are the unwritten Torahs of the British Fundamental law:

‘We have to inquire ourselves three inquiries: foremost, what are the case in points ;secondly, did the histrions in the case in points believe that they were bound bya regulation ; and thirdly, is at that place a ground for the regulation? ‘[ 5 ]

Jennings is exemplifying that a convention has a long history within the tradition of British legal patterns ; therefore one can find a form of state of affairss and fortunes that offset the Acts of the Apostless of the convention. So one time this facet of past case in points is present [ 6 ] and so 1 has to find if the histrions in the pattern of the convention are cognizant of their actions [ 7 ] ; hence the concatenation of events dictates a certain action/re-action ; merely as if it were a written or common jurisprudence pattern. Finally this finding of a convention dictates whether there is a ground for the convention ; if there is a valid and justifiable ground which is more than merely cultural and traditional so it is a convention. [ 8 ] Each convention has an indispensable function, either traditionally such as the function of the Monarch in the legal and political system or leting the modern version and flexibleness of the British unwritten fundamental law:

I use the term “ constitutional conventions ” to depict the chief political rules which regulate dealingss between the different parts of our fundamental law and the exercising of power but which do non hold legal force. They are non themselves regulations of jurisprudence but many of them interlock with the jurisprudence in some manner. They are frequently every bit of import as regulations of jurisprudence and can sometimes be more of import, judged by the effects which could follow from their breach.[ 9 ]

The function of the Monarch is a traditional convention that has an of import function in the makeup of the province. This is a really of import convention non merely to Britain’s fundamental law but besides the Commonwealth provinces and is implied within the written fundamental laws, such as Australia:

Section 61 provinces: “The executive power of the Commonwealth is vested in the Queen and is exercisable by the Governor-General as the Queen ‘s representative, and extends to the executingand care of this Constitution, and of the Torahs of the Commonwealth.“ ” [ 10 ]

Therefore the Sovereign in these provinces is non known as the British Monarch merely, but as the Canadian or Australian Monarch every bit good. In other words the Monarch is the caput of province, but the authorities is independent and separate from the British Government, but the function of the Monarch is of import to the makeup of the British caput of parliament. This symbolic caput may look to hold no function in the modern epoch, but it is of import to the construction so that there is a caput that give Royal Assent to jurisprudence that is independent and separate to the legislatures ( Parliament ) and the translators of jurisprudence ( the British Courts ) . The ground for such conventions are indispensable to the British Constitution as for Commonwealth states, which are that in order for their Constitutional Democracy to work it requires the Monarch as the caput of province. Otherwise a separate construction would hold to be created, which could make a Presidency such as the USA ; nevertheless this would set the key participant of the legislatures in the place of Symbolic Head of State, which could make struggle in the cheques and balances to cut down maltreatment of power in the Parliamentary system [ 11 ] . This is as every bit of import for Commonwealth provinces, which follows the unwritten fundamental law of the UK in the separation of authorities and the caput of province in each of the Commonwealth States, for illustration in New Zealand. [ 12 ] Therefore the ground for such conventions being indispensable to the British Constitution are re-iterated by following the same conventions in the Commonwealth ; but are indispensable to the separation of powers that they are portion of the written fundamental laws in certain Commonwealth states, e.g. Canada and Australia. Therefore back uping the attack that conventions are indispensable to the British Constitution and hence back uping the Jennings Test over the Dicean position that they are mere patterns and non indispensable to the British Constitution.

The statement that Jennings was suggesting was to find that a convention was more than a mere pattern, therefore giving it more importance and indispensable to the British Constitution and the British legal system. This attack was upheld in Commonwealth, where the Canadian Supreme Court [ 13 ] , hence this trial was meant to find patterns which were more than a mere pattern but drew the line at stating they were the same as common jurisprudence. Therefore if the ground and the cognition of the histrions are believe they should be bound by such a pattern so would it non still be the start of a convention, a new convention without the tradition, i.e. the new case in point. One would reason this would be so, nevertheless if either of the other elements were non present, i.e. it was merely a tradition without a ground or a tradition with some ground but the histrions see as pointless, so it would non be a convention but a mere pattern, nevertheless the tribunal refused that a convention was portion of common jurisprudence, but a really of import pattern outside of judicial consent – i.e. one could reason it is parallel to the construct of jurisprudence:

“The attempted assimilation of the growing of a convention to the growing of a common jurisprudence is misconceived. The latter is the merchandise of judicial effort…by which the tribunals gave them birth…No such parental function is played bythe tribunals with respects to conventions.”[ 14 ]

Therefore since conventions are recognized to hold such an of import function that they are kindred to Torahs so these conventions are indispensable to the British Constitution, as was upheld in Canada in regard to the Canadian Constitution. This is supported by International Conventions are going a more of import beginning of International jurisprudence, particularly the ECHR which has been incorporated through the HRA 1998. The HRA 1998 to cover with jobs of sovereignty because the ECHR was non an internal convention, such as the Role of the Monarch, to cover with other conventions such as the domination of parliament the regional convention needed to be assented to by the parliament. This adaptability of the unwritten British Constitution is indispensable and much easier to accommodate with external conventions. [ 15 ] Such unwritten fundamental laws allows for the acceptance through its myriad of internal conventions, which are stiff written fundamental law would non hold allowed:

Within the United Kingdom, during the past half century, the procedure of constitutional version has been actively carried out by the Judgess, without the advantages or the restraints of a written fundamental law.[ 16 ]


Allan, 2002,Does the United Kingdom still have a Fundamental law? 2001LQR 2002

Allen and Thompson, 1996,Cases and Materials on Constitutional and Administrative Law ( 8ThursdayEdition ), London, Blackstone

A. Carroll, 1998,Constitutional and Administrative Law, London, Pitman Printing

A.V. Dicey, 1961,Introduction to the Study of Law of the Constitution ( 10ThursdayEdition ), Editor Wade, London, Macmillan

Ewing, 2000,The Politics of the British Fundamental law,Public Law 2000

Governor General of Canada Website,The Role and Responsibilities of the Governor

General,The Governor General of Canada,hypertext transfer protocol: //

Governor-General of New Zealand Website,The Role of the Governor-General of New Zealand,The Governor-General:hypertext transfer protocol: //

Hood Phillips, Jackson, 1997,Hood Phillips and Jacksons Constitutional and Administrative Law ( 8ThursdayEdition ), London, Sweet & A ; Maxwell

I. Jennings, 1959,The Law of the Constitution ( 5ThursdayEdition ), London, London University Press

Lord Lester, 2001,Developing Constitutional Principles of Public Law,Public Law 2001

Loveland, 1996,Constitutional Law: A Critical Introduction, London, Butterworths

C.R. Munro, 1999,Surveies in Constitutional Law ( 2neodymiumEdition ), London, Butterworths

Turpin, 1995,British Government and the Constitution ( 3rdEdition ), London, Butterworths

Lord Wilson, 2004,The Robustness of Conventions in a Time of Modernization and Change,Public Law 2004

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