Which of the following best describes the role of Prime Minister?
- The Prime Minister is the head of Parliament. He or she is usually appointed from among the party who has the most MPs in the House of Commons.
- The Prime Minister is the Monarch’s embodiment in Parliament. He or she is charged with carrying out the will of the electorate through executive decree.
- The Prime Minister is the Leader of the Government. He or she is appointed from the party with the most MPs in Parliament as a matter of constitutional convention.
- The Prime Minister is the Leader of the Government. He or she is appointed from the party with the most MPs in Parliament as a result of statutory law which defies the role.
- The Prime Minister is the Lord Chief Justice and accordingly the most senior member of the Judiciary of England and Wales. He or she is appointed from the party who commands the confidence of the house of commons
The correct answer is C. The Prime Minister is the leader of the Government. The Government is formed by the party with the most MPs in the House of Commons. This is a constitutional convention which dictates that the Queen appoints the Prime Minister from the party best able to command the authority of the House of Commons. The reason for this is because a Bill has to pass through the House of Commons in order to become law, in almost all circumstances. B is wrong because the Prime Minister is not considered the ‘embodiment’ of the monarch. D is wrong because the role of Prime Minister is not defined in statute law, but through unwritten constitutional convention. E is wrong because the Prime Minister is not a member of the Judiciary.
Which of the following represents the best description of Parliamentary Sovereignty?
A) The Government can make any law it likes. It cannot bind other governments by the decisions and cannot undo the decisions of previous Governments.
B) The Government is sovereign. It can make or repeal any law it likes and only needs the indicative approval of Parliament.
C) Parliament is sovereign. No parliament can make a law to bind the hands of a subsequent parliament. Subject to that, Parliament can pass any law it likes.
D) Parliament is subordinate only to the government. The Government is the final arbiter of the laws proposed in Parliament.
E) The King is the sovereign in parliament and decides a government based on who is the minority party leader at any one time.
C is correct. Parliamentary Sovereignty describes the freedom of parliament to make any law it likes and to be free from any binds imposed by previous parliaments. A is incorrect as the Government is only in charge of proposing law. It cannot ‘make’ law without parliament. B is incorrect for the same reason. D is incorrect because Parliament is not ‘subordinate’ to the Government. In fact, Government can be severely restricted in carrying out its programme if it does not command the support of parliament. E is incorrect as it misdescribes how a government is selected.
The Government passes the Foreign Affairs Act 2022. It receives Royal Assent in April 2022. Section 43A gives the Home Secretary the power to make regulations which ‘include the power to repeal any section of the Foreign Affairs Act that he should see fit’. Which of the following is true?
A) The Regulations could not bestow the power to repeal provisions of their parent Act.
B) The Regulations are statutory law and thereby the power could be applied to sections within the parent Act only.
C) The Regulations are a form of Judicial Review and so can be enforced through civil litigation.
D) The Foreign Affairs Act is unlawful and is not enforceable despite recieving Royal Assent.
E) The Act must amended by the House of Lords during the legislative process.
A is correct. The Regulations would be secondary legislation and could not bestow any power to repeal primary legislation. B is incorrect for the same reason. C is plainly incorrect as Judicial Review is a distinct legal doctrine which does not apply here. D is wrong because the wider Act may well be lawful notwithstanding the fact the proposed regulations would be ineffective. E is incorrect because the Lord’s cannot be mandated to intervene.
The Government passes a law which prevents the creation of any new artwork on a specific area of London. The area is a particular section of the city of London and is considered a World Heritage Site. A group of artists working in the area have asked for advice on challenging the law through Judicial Review. The Act became law two months ago. What remedy could be available on these facts?
A) A mandatory order seeking strike down of the provision.
B) A declaration of incomparability under the Human Rights Act 1998
C) A discretionary order inviting Parliament to amend the legislation.
D) An Order in Council seeking the amendment of the legislation
E) A Judicial Decree seeking the dissolution of the present parliament.
B is correct. A declaration of incompatibility would invite Parliament to consider the comparability of the Act with the European Convention on Human Rights. None of the other answers describe available remedies. The Courts have no power to issue mandatory orders striking down legislation. This makes our constitution different to the United States, where the Supreme Court can strike down legislation made by state legislatures. A discretionary order and orders of council are not used to amend primary legislation. E is incorrect because no Judge has the power to decree the dissolution of parliament!
Following a series of terrorist explosions in central London, the government invoked emergency prerogative powers. These powers enabled the government to take control over commercial buildings damaged in the explosions. The powers also enabled the government to deny the occupiers access to those buildings while forensic teams undertook the lengthy process of gathering evidence. Recognising the impact on the occupiers of such buildings, Parliament passed legislation creating a compensation scheme allowing those affected to claim for any costs and losses incurred while those buildings are under the government’s control.
Notwithstanding this new legislation, the government is continuing to use the prerogative powers in order to avoid paying any such compensation under the statutory scheme.
Which of the following statements best summarises the legal position?
- Where there is overlap between a prerogative power and a statute, neither prevails; the courts look to the common law for guidance.
- Where there is overlap between a prerogative power and a statute, the statute prevails.
- Where there is overlap between a prerogative power and a statute, the prerogative power prevails.
- Where there is overlap between a prerogative power and a statute, the judge hearing the matter may refer to proceedings in Parliament for guidance.
- Where there is overlap between a prerogative power and a statute, the judge hearing the matter may refer to a higher court for guidance
Here, B is correct. Statutory law prevails over prerogative power. Prerogative power can be used to execute particular items of government business without the authority of parliament. However, here there is an overlap. In these situations, prerogative cannot override the authority of statute law. A is wrong because the common law is also considered as subordinate to primary legislation. There is no higher law in our jurisdiction. D and E are incorrect for the same reason.
A client approaches you to advise on a claim in Judicial Review. The date is the 1st of March 2022. On the 14th of February, the Government issued a tendering process to manufacturing companies to bid for a contract to make fencing. On the 28th of February your client lost out on the bid but believes that a rival company of his was unfairly awarded the contract because the MD is good friends with the minister in charge of the process. He would like to issue Judicial Review proceedings arguing that the minister was ‘biased’ in how the process was conducted. Which of the following best represents your client’s options?
- Your client can consider Judicial Review proceedings against the award of the contract on the basis that the award was made ‘ultra vires’
- Your client can consider Judicial Review proceedings on the basis that the Home Secretary failed to properly administer the tendering process. He would be within time and would have standing.
- Your client cannot consider Judicial Review proceedings in this case. He is out of time and would not have standing.
- Your client cannot consider Judicial Review proceedings in this case. The Home Secretary cannot be made subject to those proceedings as a Minister of State.
- Your client can consider Judicial Review proceedings. There is no pre-action protocol for Judicial Review and your client should be instructed to commence the claim ‘immediately’.
Here B is the best answer. Your client would have standing. The issue he has identified is best articulated as a failure to properly administer the statutory tendering process. A is not right, as there is no suggestion that the Minister acted without authority to issue the contract. Ultra Vires is a term which describes Ministers acting without the necessary legal power. There is no suggestion of that here. D is incorrect as the Minister can be subject to Judicial Review as a member of a public body in England and Wales. E is incorrect as there is a Pre-Action protocol for Judicial Review claims which will have to be followed before issuing proceedings.
A non-UK national living in the UK has allegedly committed a serious crime in his country of origin. His country of origin is not a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights (‘the Convention’). The UK government has issued an order for the deportation of the man to his country of origin. However, the man asserts that evidence will be used against him in respect of the alleged crime which has been obtained by the use of torture. The man appeals under the Convention against the deportation order in the High Court and the High Court accepts the man’s assertion.
Which of the following best explains whether the High Court would uphold the deportation order?
A. It would not uphold the order because the Convention provides that member countries must secure the Convention rights for everyone within their jurisdiction.
B. It would not uphold the order because the merits of deportation decisions involving the human rights of nationals from non-signatory countries must be considered by the European Court of Human Rights.
C. It would uphold the order because the UK government is not responsible for how another sovereign state obtains evidence for use in criminal trials.
D. It would uphold the order because non-UK nationals do not benefit from UK human rights protection.
E. It would uphold the order because the man has allegedly committed a serious crime and the Convention is not intended to protect criminals.
A is the correct answer. The European Convention mandates that signatory states secure convention rights for everyone within their jurisdiction. B is incorrect because the English High Court can consider the matter notwithstanding the fact that the Claimant is a non UK National. The deportation order has been made by the UK government. Non-UK nationals do benefit from Human Rights protections so D is wrong. E is also wrong because his rights are not dependent on whether he has committed a serious crime or not.
A political party decides to hold a meeting in the central square of a provincial city. One of its leaders is expected to make a speech which will annoy many members of the local population.
Which of the following statements best describes the powers of the police in this situation?
A. The Chief Constable may impose conditions in relation to the meeting in order to prevent serious disorder.
B. The organisers must obtain permission to hold the meeting from the Chief Constable.
C. The Chief Constable can prohibit the meeting if he has insufficient resources to police it.
D. The meeting can only be regulated by the police if more than 200 persons attend.
E. Any police can insist that the meeting cease.
The Prime Minister resigns following catastrophic failings with respect to economic policy. She was a Conservative Prime Minister. The Conservative Party decide that a general election is not necessary and appoint a new leader. However, following the appointment, a large number of MPs from the Conservative parry resign. The Labour party hold 224 seats. The Conservative party, following resignations, hold 203 seats with the balance falling to the Scottish National Party and the Greens.
What constitutional principle best addresses what should happen next?
- The Labour party command a majority in the House of Commons. They are entitled to form a government immediately.
- The Labour party command a majority in the House of Commons. They should seek approval from the House of Lords to dissolve parliament and call a general election.
- The Conservative Party could call a general election which would require them to dissolve parliament through the monarch.
- The Labour Party could call a general election through powers under the Administration of Government Act 2002
- The Conservative Party could continue to maintain a minority government in the knowledge that they could not effectively pass legislation.
The possible correct answers are (C) and (E). A minority party in the House of Commons have no power to force a general election or form a government so A and B are wrong. There is no power to call a general election under statute either so D is wrong too.
The Court of Appeal hears a case called Bennet. It is a criminal law case. The Court of Appeal refuse the appeal following a grant of leave. The Appellant indicates his intention to appeal to the Supreme Court. Who could grant permission to appeal Bennet’s case to the Supreme Court?
- The Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court
- The Supreme Court only
- The Court of Appeal only
- The Supreme Court or the High Court
- The Court of Appeal or the High Court.
The correct answer is A. The Court of Appeal have jurisdiction to grant permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. Applicants can apply at the conclusion of their Court of Appeal case to have a question ‘certified’ for consideration by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court can also grant permission to appeal under their own jurisdiction.