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Constitutional Conventions Are Rules Of Political Practice Which Are Regarded As Binding By Those To Whom They Apply, But Which Are Not Laws As They Are Not Enforced By The Courts Or By The House Of Parliament Explain & Illustrate

2263 words - 10 pages

1. Introduction:
The Constitution of a country comprises both written rules enforced by courts, and "unwritten" rules or principles necessary for constitutional government. Written rules mandate that they be followed in a particular specified situation, while unwritten rules come into play when the situation at hand is not covered by the written rules. Constitutional conventions are rules of political practice, which are regarded as binding by those to whom they apply. However, they are not laws, as they are not enforced by courts or by the Houses of Parliament.1 Often constitutional conventions are more important than written constitutional provisions. For example, the President is ...view middle of the document...

Constitutional conventions are rules of political practice, which are regarded as binding by those to whom they apply. However, they are not laws, as they are not enforced by courts or by the Houses of Parliament.
2. Article 75(1) of the rules mandate that they be followed in a particular specified situation, while unwritten rules come into play when the situation at hand is not covered by the written rules. Constitutional conventions are rules of political practice, which are regarded as binding by those to whom they apply. However, they are not laws, as they are not enforced by courts or by the Houses of Parliament.
3. Ivor Jennings: The Law and the Constitution 13 (1979) Ivor Jennings: The Law and the Constitution 13 (1979). "The short explanation of the constitutional conventions is that they provide the flesh that clothes the dry bones of the law; they make the legal constitution work; they keep it in touch with the growth of ideas.
2.Following are some of the characteristics of the Constitutional conventions4:
(i) Conventions are rules that define non-legal rights, powers and obligations of office-holders in the three branches of Government, or the relations between governments or government organs. (ii) Conventions in most cases can be stated only in general terms, their applicability in some circumstances being clear, but in other circumstances uncertain and debatable. (iii) They are distinguishable from rules of law, though they may be equally important, or more important. They may modify the application or enforcement of rules of law.
Constitutional conventions develop over time and are not outlined in any document.5 Conventions grow out of practices and precedents determine their existence. Such precedents are not authoritative like the precedents of a court of law. Every act is a precedent, but not every precedent creates a rule.6 Sir Ivor Jennings suggested that in order to establish a convention three questions must be asked: firstly, what are the precedents; secondly, did the actors in the precedents believe that they were bound by a rule; and thirdly, whether there is a good reason for the rule?7 A single precedent with a good reason may be enough to establish the rule. A whole string of precedents without such a reason will be of no avail, unless the persons concerned regard themselves to be bound by it.8
It is largely through Dicey's influence that the term "convention" has been accepted to describe a constitutional obligation, obedience to which is secured despite the absence of the ordinary means of enforcing the obligation in a court of law. It must be noted that the obligations do not necessarily, or indeed usually, derive from agreement.
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4. The Written and the Unwritten Constitution, at http://www.canadiana.org/citm/ specifique/written_e.pdf (last visited on October 31, 2003).
5. Jennings, supra at fn 3 at p. 13. Constitutional conventions develop over time and are...

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