chapter  I
11 Pages

THE GENERAL PROBLEM OF THE RESERVE POWER OF THE CROWN

I T is desirable to re-examine some of the constitutional rules and practices whereby, both in Britain and in the self-governing Dominions, doctrines of overwhelming importance are treated as being too vague to be defined at all, or, if defined, defined in an unsatisfactory manner, and never regarded as enforceable by the Courts of the land. These rules and practices relate, in general, to what may be called, not for the first time, the 'Reserve Powers' of the Crown. Reference is made, not to the purely legal question whether or not any given power authorizes action on the part of the Monarch or his Dominion representative, for such a question is determined by the Courts by the standard of the common law or the relevant Statute. Nor is reference intended to the mere manner of carrying into effect any given legal power of the Executive. What concerns us is the real relationship between the King or his Dominion representative on the one hand, and, on the other, the four remaining elements which go to make up the polity in the typical British self-governing community. These four elements may include (I) the Cabinet or Ministry, (2) the House of Commons or representative Assembly, (3) the House of Lords or Upper House, and (4) the electorate or the people.