Did the UK Supreme Court enforce a constitutional convention in Miller (No 2)? Most writers say no. I say yes.
Miller (No 2)
I won’t go through the case in detail. For my purposes three points matter.
First, the UKSC says that there is a constitutional ‘principle of Parliamentary accountability’. It gives three examples of ministerial accountability in practice: (1) ministers’ duty to answer questions in Parliament; (2) ministers’ duty to appear before Parliamentary committees; and (3) Parliament’s opportunity to scrutinise delegated legislation.
Second, the court says that this principle imposes a ‘legal limit’ on the power to prorogue. Specifically, a decision to prorogue or to advise the monarch to prorogue Parliament is unlawful if it frustrates or prevents Parliament’s ability to carry out its function as the the body responsible for supervising the executive, without reasonable justification. By ‘supervising’ it is clear the Court means to include holding the executive to account.
Third, the Court makes almost no mention of constitutional conventions by name. In particular, it does not discuss the convention of ministerial accountability.Continue reading “Enforcing principles, enforcing conventions”