To begin with, the Royal Prerogative is the great powerwhich is inherited by the crown but is exercised by the government. Therefore mostly on advice of the PrimeMinister and Ministers of the Crown. As defined by William Blackstone: ‘Therecannot be a stronger proof of that genuine freedom, which is the boast of thisage and country, than the power of discussing and examining, with decency andrespect, the limits of the king’s prerogative.’1 Givingits meaning to the Royal Prerogative power.
A.V. Dicey described the Royal Prerogativeas “… the remaining portion of the Crown’s original authority, and it istherefore … the name for the residue of discretionary power left at any momentin the hands of the Crown, whether such power be in fact exercised by the Kinghimself or by his Ministers”. 2Thatmeans the queen reigns but does not rule. The Royal Prerogative are known asPrime minister and Ministers who were transferred the power, such as declaringwars, making treaties or dissolving the Parliament. There is a difference between the Personal Prerogativepowers and Executive Prerogative powers. Personal prerogative powers areutilized by the Queen (monarch). These are for example the dissolution ofParliament, the appointment of the Prime Minister, giving the grant of theroyal assent to the legislations and the dismissal of government.
The power ofthe Crown is said to be possibly threatening the democracy. As it is said thatthe Queen can exercise its prerogative powers based on her wish and remain ignoringthe ministerial advices which include the power of the Prime Minister, antthese powers are giving the royal assent to legislation and also thedissolution of Parliament. The democracyis maintained due to the fact the Queen has the power to appoint PrimeMinister. Nevertheless, Prime Minister and its Royal Prerogative take thedecisions and rule the government.
The Crown does not utilize the prerogativepower arbitrarily to overtake the decisions which are made by the PrimeMinister. So the democracy is protected. However biggest concern is the power of Prime Minister onbehalf of the Crown to declare war and deploy troops. Because it might causeissues in defining the power and potential limitations.
For example the war inIraq. Regarding to Iraq (2002) the Parliament was recalled in order to discussthe increasingly worse situation in the House of Commons and the possibility oflaunching military action. The Labour government pointed out that they wouldgive Parliament a vote on whether the military would be deployed even thoughthere was no duty to do so. (Majority votes were passed.) And these votes weredescribed as the starting position for the constitutional convention that theapproval of Parliament demanded before military intervention was taken.Due to the lack of written constitution and power derivedfrom the statute law or common law makes clear the power of the Executivegovernment.
Nevertheless, the lack of guidelines might sometimes involve aproblem. A good example is former Prime Minister Tony Blair who was criticizedfor making his decision in war alone. Where there is a declaration of war, ortroops are deployed, constitutional convention dictates that authorisationforaction is given by the Prime Minister. However, some extra protection would notbe out of place as there is increasing tension of conflicts in recentyears.
There are benefits ofparliamentary involvement in the deployment of troops such as Legitimacy andaccountability, checks and balances (duty of Prime Minister). But also diasadvantagesas the exercise of the power is seen as oldfashioned nowadays. And it isconsulted that the use of prerogative is not democratic. Historically theSovereign would consist of more limits and have lack of access to finance. Also it might not be as clear to define adecision if each is a subject to debate. The topic may become vague.
1 LONANG Institute. (2018). The King’sPrerogative – LONANG Institute. online Available at:https://lonang.com/library/reference/blackstone-commentaries-law-england/bla-107/Accessed 6 Jan.
2018. 2 Publications.parliament.uk. (2018). Houseof Commons – Public Administration – Fourth Report. online Available at:https://publications.
parliament.uk/pa/cm200304/cmselect/cmpubadm/422/42204.htmAccessed 6 Jan. 2018.