The Royal Prerogative

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The Royal Prerogative is the embodiment of customary powers, privileges, and immunities exercised by the executive (Crown/Monarch), recognized in common law jurisdictions. It originated in the medieval period when the King acted as the head of the kingdom and at the same time, as a feudal lord.


In 1700s, debates regarding the extent of these prerogative powers ensued. This was further aggravated by the execution of one King and the expulsion of Charles I in 1649 and James II in 1688.1 Discussions on the issue culminated with the passing of the 1689 Bill of Rights, which considered the use, and abuse of certain specific royal prerogatives as unlawful. It was concluded that most of the prerogative powers may be exercised only upon the advice of ministers, and although the Monarch retained certain powers which can be exercised independently such as the power of appointment and removal of ministers and ministries, the royal power found it difficult to freely exercise its prerogatives, especially if it is in contravention of the advice of the Parliament2.
The following are some of the powers vested under the Royal Prerogative: (1) Calling for and dissolving of the parliament, calling of elections; (2) Giving of royal assent to legislations; (3) Preparing plans to confer benefits to citizens; (4) Granting of clemency, pardoning of convicts, or reducing penalties thereof; (5) Entering into treaties, declaring war and making peace, controlling the issuance of passports and preventing foreigners from entering the country; (6) Controlling, organizing and disposing of the armed forces; (7) Appointing of judicial officers, ministers, and other public officers; (8) Procuring of ships; (9) Printing of authorized ...
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