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  • Prerogative powers are executive powers that can be exercised by the monarch or his or her representatives without the need for legislation.
  • Prerogative powers derive from the historical power of the monarch, therefore new ones cannot be created. However, prerogative powers can be repealed by legislation.
  • Most prerogative powers are either exercised by ministers or by the sovereign on the basis of constitutionally-binding advice given by ministers.
  • Powers the monarch exercises not on the basis of constitutionally-binding advice are called reserve powers.
  • In practice, reserve powers are often governed by constitutional convention. For example, there are strong conventions governing the appointment of a prime minister.
  • Reserve powers can exist in some circumstances but not others. For example, the prorogation of Parliament is not usually a reserve power, but most constitutional experts agree that the monarch can refuse a prorogation if the government has lost or is about to lose the confidence of the House of Commons.

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