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royal prerogativein the constitutional law of the UK, the powers of the Crown exercised under the common law. New prerogatives cannot be assumed and old ones can be legislated away. Recognized instances are the rule that the king never dies, there is no interregnum, the king is never an infant and the king can do no wrong, albeit this particular prerogative has been severely curtailed by the Crown Proceedings Act. The more important prerogatives relate to domestic affairs and foreign affairs. In domestic affairs, certain appointments are made in virtue of prerogative affairs. The control of the armed forces and the civil service is a matter of prerogative act. Control of remaining colonies and of the Crown estates is also carried through under the prerogative. The Queen is governor of the Church of England (but has no such position in relation to the equally established Church of Scotland) and is the fountain of honour in relation to the creation of peers and the like, although this is exercised on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. Some honours are in the personal gift of the monarch. The Crown may use reasonable force to put down riots. The Crown has the duty of defending the nation, although the way in which it does so is restricted by the Bill of Rights 1688. The House of Lords held in 1965 that compensation was payable for damage caused by the lawful exercise of the prerogative, but this decision was reversed and with retroactive effect so as to deny the successful pursuers their compensation by the War Damage Act 1965. The prerogative in relation to legislation includes the right to summon and dissolve Parliament and that the Crown is not bound by statute save expressly. Of prerogatives relating to foreign affairs, the most significant is Act of State, that is, an act done to another state or person not owing allegiance to the Crown. The courts will generally treat such as non-justiciable. Examples of Act of State are the making of war and peace and the conclusion of treaties. An alien cannot sue in respect of loss sustained as an Act of State.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006