Advice to Vice-Regal Officers by Crown Law Officers and Others
Public Law Review, Vol. 26, No. 3, pp. 193-216, 2015
31 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2016
Date Written: 2015
In countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, the monarch or her vice-regal representative is formally advised by responsible Ministers. Difficulties may arise, however, when those Ministers cease to be responsible or advise actions that may be illegal or unconstitutional. In such circumstances, the Queen or Governor-General may need access to legal advice or advice about constitutional conventions and principles. This article addresses the distinction between formal and informal advice to vice-regal officers and the issues that arise when such advice is given by the Attorney-General, the Solicitor-General and legal or political experts. These include whether a Solicitor-General (in countries where he or she is a legal officer - not a member of the Government) should be confined to giving legal advice, rather than policy advice, and whether the Solicitor-General must advise the government of the nature of the advice or even that it has been requested and given.
Keywords: Crown, advice to Queen, advice to Governor-General, reserve powers, prerogative powers, role of Attorney-General, role of Solicitor-General, legality, advice by academics, executive power, constitutional validity, justiciability, rule of law, separation of powers, responsible government
JEL Classification: K10, K30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation