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Constitutional Conventions Are Rules of Political Practice Which Are Regarded as Binding by Those to Whom They Apply, but Which Are Not Laws as They Are Not Enforced by the Courts or by the House of Parliament- Explain & Illustrate.

  • Date Submitted: 07/11/2011 03:31 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 45.7 
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1. Introduction:
The Constitution of a country comprises both written rules enforced by courts, and "unwritten" rules or principles necessary for constitutional government. Written rules mandate that they be followed in a particular specified situation, while unwritten rules come into play when the situation at hand is not covered by the written rules. Constitutional conventions are rules of political practice, which are regarded as binding by those to whom they apply. However, they are not laws, as they are not enforced by courts or by the Houses of Parliament.1 Often constitutional conventions are more important than written constitutional provisions. For example, the President is empowered by the Constitution to appoint the Prime Minister2, but the Constitution provides no guidance as to who should be appointed as Prime Minister. Here conventions regarding the appointment of the Prime Minister play an important role in guiding the President.
Conventions are an instrument of national cooperation and the spirit of cooperation is as necessary as the Constitution. They are rules elaborated for effecting that cooperation.3 Hood-Phillips describes Constitutional Conventions as ╩║Rules of political practice, which are regarded as binding, by those to whom they apply, but which are not laws because they are not enforced by the courts and parliament.╩║ Since ministers are accountable to Parliament on behalf of the people (at least in the Commons) then it is true to say that the lack of legal control of Constitutional Conventions provides a role for Parliament as the controller of the executive.
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1. Colin Munro, "Laws and Conventions Distinguished" 91 LQR 218 (1975), at p. 218. Written rules mandate that they be followed in a particular specified situation, while unwritten rules come into play when the situation at hand is not covered by the written rules. Constitutional conventions are rules of political practice, which are regarded as...

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