For example the war damage act 1965 reversed burmah

Info icon This preview shows pages 4–6. Sign up to view the full content.

For example, the War Damage Act 1965 reversed Burmah Oil v Lord Advocate (1965) AC 75 , where the House of Lords ordered the government to pay compensation to Burmah Oil for the wartime destruction of its oil installations. Statutes also can grant government officials some immunities from legal action under the Crown Proceedings Act 1947 . Some Acts of Parliament grant the government wide and uncontrolled discretionary powers under the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 . Dicey claimed that Parliament would protect our liberties and restrain the government. Perhaps that was true in 1885, but nowadays the government of the day controls Parliament through its majority and can nearly always get its own way. The main aspect from Dicey's rule of law was that the government must clearly defined legal powers to authorise its actions. Under the unwritten constitution it is in fact difficult to be precise about the legal powers that the government possesses. Although prerogative powers still exist, it can be difficult to identify those powers accurately. Example in the case of R v Home Secretary ex parte Northumbria Police Authority (1988) 1 All ER 556 the court accepted the existence of prerogative power, to maintain peace in the realm, which had not previously been identified. Again much of the constitution is convention, not law for example, the powers of the Prime Minister. As they are not law, the courts cannot control these powers. Indeed there must be some doubts about whether the courts are always keen to ensure that the government keeps within its legal powers. In the case of Malone v Metropolitan Police Commissioner (1979) Ch 344 , Malone's telephone had been tapped by the police. He claimed that there was no law that authorised telephone tapping. These facts have strong similarities to the classic rule of law case, Entick v Carrington (1765) . However,
Image of page 4

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.