The Principle Characteristics of the British Constitution



Conversely, the question still exists – why do we not turn Conventions into rules of law, or codify them? Some have been codifying, such as Parliament Act 1911 and, the Statute of Westminster 1931, which states that the British government will not interfere with the affairs of other nations. However, a good answer is that there would be a huge shift in power in favor of the courts to the judiciary. During the Re Amendment of the Constitution of Canada 1982, another question arose – if the courts recognize conventions, does that mean they turn into laws? The courts made it very clear that they do not. Some cases have touched on the question of whether conventions can crystallize into law. This question was answered in the case of Manuel v Attorney-General [1983] and the suggestion, in this case, was that the convention that Westminster would not enact legislation for a dominion except at its request and with its consent had crystallized into law so that actual consent had to be established. The action had been brought by Aboriginal chiefs seeking a declaration that the Canada Act 1982 was ultra vires, as the consent of the Aboriginal people did not exist. Section 4 of the Statute of Westminster 1931 did not enact the convention but incorporated it in a modified form. Under the constitution of the U.K., all actions of government are undertaken in the name of the Crown. Any account of the prerogative is an account of power. The prerogative today represents one of the most intriguing aspects of the unwritten constitution. In focusing on one particular convention, the Royal Prerogative, it may become clearer why Constitutional Conventions of the U.K. should be codified.

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