Ministers of the Crown

Ministers of the Crown

Ministers of the Crown

Ministers of the Crown

Synopsis

In the first work of its kind, Brazier successfully tackles the Herculean task of describing and evaluating contemporary Ministerial life and how it is affected by the law, constitutional convention, and political practice. Ministers of the Crown provides a detailed and concise description of the legal and political position of Ministers, and of their work within the contemporary British governmental system. It covers the daily work of Ministers in their departments and collectively in government; their benefits and pay; as well as how politicians prepare themselves for office and the legal and other qualifications which are required for appointment. Detailed coverage is given to Ministers as legislators, how Ministers are required to exercise their legal powers, and the position of Ministers as plaintiffs and defendants. Finally, the loss of office, and its consequences, is considered. As a detailed assessment of Ministerial life this book is invaluable, but Brazier's capacity to bring the Ministerial world to life using a wealth of contemporary and fascinating detail, transforms a potentially dry subject.

Excerpt

The purpose of this book is to add to our constitutional literature a comprehensive and detailed description and analysis of the law, convention, and practice relating to Ministers of the Crown. Such an enterprise has not been attempted before. the book describes the regulatory framework within which Ministers go about their work. in doing so the legal and political position of Ministers in the contemporary British governmental system is evaluated. This is a large task, but I hope that everything that anyone would want to know about the constitutional position of members of the Government is to be found in these pages.

It may be helpful to introduce the work by setting out the broad headings of its contents. There are six parts. in Part 1 the organization of government is described, including the offices which exist within any Government and the legislation which provides both for those offices and for changes in the machinery of government. Part 2 looks at the manner in which politicians make preparations for forming a Government, examines the legal and constitutional qualifications which are needed for appointment to ministerial posts, and describes the legal machinery through which individuals formally take up office. Part 3 paints a picture of Ministers at work, successive chapters dealing with official salaries and benefits, the avoidance of conflicts of interest (a topic which has attracted much controversy and some changes in the last couple of years), how a Minister operates in his department (including his relationships with his civil servants and other advisers), and the mechanisms through which governmental decisions are arrived at. Part 4 consists of four chapters which provide a full analysis of the impact of the law on Ministers, and of the relationship between Government and the administration of the law. That involves, more precisely, a consideration of Ministers' general responsibility for the law, of the ways in which they bring forward and procure the enactment of legislation, of how the royal prerogative helps them to govern, and of the position of Ministers as plaintiffs and defendants. Part 5 looks at the familiar scene of Ministers in their relationships with Parliament: it examines ministerial communications with the two Houses as a means of making Ministers accountable, and analyses ministerial responsibility to Parliament. Part 6 brings the story to a dose by describing what happens when a Minister leaves office, and the financial and other consequences of leaving the Government.

Some areas of governmental life are regulated by detailed legal rules, for example in relation to ministerial offices; other aspects attract settled constitutional conventions; in yet others Ministers behave in ways guided only by political practice. the treatment in the following pages of all this therefore varies according to the subject-matter, and necessarily the book is written in different styles in various places to reflect that. of pervasive importance in ministerial life is the document . . .

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