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Download PDF by Kate Moss: Security and Liberty: Restriction by Stealth

By Kate Moss

Considering the question of how levels of safeguard let nation strength to be increased to the purpose at which it infringes crucial civil liberties, this ebook explores the creeping strength of the administrative and the unfeasibility of frequent use of the Human Rights Act as a bulwark opposed to the oppressive use of kingdom strength.

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Sample text

Modern governments have retained the prerogative in large part rather than getting rid of it or placing it on a statutory footing. The reason for this is obviously because it is useful to have at your disposal broad, discretionary powers like these so that in certain circumstances it is possible to act in particular ways without having to go through formally approved channels. This is not to say that such powers cannot be placed on the statute books if it is thought to be desirable. In 1914 and 1939, the prerogatives to wage war were put on a statutory footing because as Viscount Radcliffe said in Burmah Oil v Lord Advocate [1965] AC 75: extreme actions ought to receive explicit parliamentary approval.

Added to this there have recently been some uncomfortable trends in relation to such rights of access to justice. For example, a recent suggestion that proposed legal reforms being considered by the government could mean that thousands of petty criminals would never even get their day in court. A scheme under consideration early in 2007 saw Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor together with the Solicitor General making plans for people arrested for shoplifting, theft and criminal damage to have their sentences decided not by magistrates but by a prosecutor in consultation with the police.

This case might well give the impression that the royal prerogative is always subject to review by the courts. Indeed if this were so, there could not be much argument against it. However De Keyser’s Royal Hotel provides a pretty straightforward example of the exercise of the power which the courts had no difficulty in judging. They have not found other decisions regarding its exercise quite as easy as we shall discover. In terms of political accountability, which takes place through the supervision of Parliament it is important to note how this can occur.

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