The Nature of the Crown: A Legal and Political Analysis

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Maurice Sunkin, Sebastian Payne (senior lecturer in law.)
Oxford University Press, 1999 - Political Science - 368 pages
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This book explores the nature of the Crown in its legal and political context. Here the term The Crown is being used, not as a direct reference to the Queen but, as a reference to the central power of the State which exercises legal and political authority. It is a surprising fact that the nature of the Crown has not been the object of extensive literature with pride of place on constitutional law courses. The nature of the Crown has been taken for granted, in part because it is so fundamental and in part because many academics have no idea what the term The Crown amounts to. This book aims to redress this state of affairs by drawing together in one book a collection of essays that explores what the Crown is, or might be, and the critical issues relating to it. The Crown refers to the authority of Government and the very entity of Government. All the people going about the Governments business, Ministers of the Crown and civil servants do so under the cloak of the Crown with its powers and immunities. The idea of democracy may appear central to our political arrangements but the legal facts are that the Crown subsists not merely as the power: it is the state. If the legal facts of our political arrangements clash with our individual beliefs about democracy then that clash is of the highest importance.

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About the author (1999)


Professor Maurice Sunkin is Professor of Law and Head of Department in the Faculty of Law at the University of Essex

Mr Sebastian Payne is Senior lecturer in law at the University of Westminster.

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