Joseph Crampin: Precedent for Delaying Royal Assent: A Response to Professor Finnis

UK Constitutional Law Association

The ‘Cooper-Letwin Act’ (European Union Withdrawal (No 5) Act 2019) may yet come to be known as the constitutional crisis that wasn’t. But, the advocacy by some of the Government’s ability to advise the crown to refuse assent in order to legitimately prevent the Bill from becoming law has provoked significant debate. The object of this post is not to address the question of whether the Government can properly advise the Crown to refuse royal assent (among others: advocated by John Finnis, Robert Craig; rejected by Mark Elliott, Jeff King and Tom Poole). The aim is to address the slightly different issue, raised by Professor Finnis, that the ‘Lord Chancellor’ can legitimately withhold Bills from presentation to the Monarch (considered in terms of constitutional principle by Elliott and David Howarth). On this point, I suggest that Professor Finnis’s argument is constitutionally mistaken, as a matter…

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