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Press Regulation and the Royal Prerogative

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Publication details

JournalPublic Law
DatePublished - Oct 2014
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)614-623
Original languageEnglish


On 30th October 2013 the UK government intervened in press regulation by securing the grant of a Royal Charter under the Royal Prerogative. This short article argues that this intervention is ultra vires and hence unlawful. My argument can be summarised very simply. The law requires a precedent for the exercise of prerogative power. This intervention represents an unprecedented use of the prerogative. It is therefore unlawful. Section II outlines the law’s hostility to novel prerogatives and the novelty of the Press Regulation Charter. Section III canvasses and rejects what I take to be the three most plausible foundations for the new charter. Section IV tackles two sources of scepticism about my argument. Section V places the argument in a slightly wider context and suggests a lawful way of achieving the aims of the charter.

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