Democratic Accountability and the Use of Force in International Law

By Charlotte Ku; Harold K. Jacobson | Go to book overview

13 The United Kingdom: increasing
commitment requires greater
parliamentary involvement

Nigel D. White


The UK Constitution and military action

The use of military force by democratic states causes considerable tension between the mechanisms of democratic accountability and the traditional sovereign power of a state, through its government, to commit its armed forces overseas. In the United Kingdom, one of the oldest democracies, this tension is becoming increasingly apparent, though the weight of constitutional practice still concedes considerable latitude to the executive in making such decisions. While the existence of a mandate granted by an international organization to use armed force does not change this position in formal terms, the increased use of internationally sanctioned forces in nondefensive actions has brought the tension to a head.

In the United Kingdom, the fulcrum of the executive is the cabinet, headed by the prime minister. Major policy, including decisions on military operations and foreign policy, is hammered out in the cabinet and in various standing and ad hoc cabinet committees. Decision-making on issues of foreign affairs and the deployment of armed forces are within the prerogative power of the Crown.1 This signifies that executive action can be taken by virtue of the prerogative “without the authority of an Act of Parliament.”2 As prerogative powers, both foreign affairs and the deployment of armed forces are exercised on the authority of the cabinet or of ministers, particularly the prime minister, the secretary of state for foreign and Commonwealth affairs, and the secretary of state for defence.

The prerogative power has two serious consequences for the rule of law and democratic accountability. First: “while Parliamentary approval is not generally needed before action is taken, Ministers are responsible to

My thanks to Dr. Alastair Mowbray, School of Law, the University of Nottingham, for
reading through an earlier draft of this essay and for his invaluable comments on the
constitutional aspects.

1 Lord Lester and D. Oliver (eds.), Constitutional Law and Human Rights (London,
Butterworths, 1997), pp. 465–6, 476.

2 A. V. Dicey, Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution (10th edn., London,
Macmillan, 1959), pp. 424–5.

-300-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Democratic Accountability and the Use of Force in International Law
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 440

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.