Statute Law

brian ovens made this Freedom of Information request to Ministry of Justice

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Dear Ministry of Justice,

I would like information on the following please.

1. Britain has thousands of statute laws, most are unknown to the public, i would like to know if every member of the public has to stand under every statute law?

2.If every member of the public has to stand under every statute law, which statute law confirms this?

3. Can every member of the public choose which statute laws they want to stand under?

4. If no statute law confirms that the public needs to stand under ever statute law, then what other law (outside statute law) says the public does have to stand under statute law?

Yours faithfully,

b ovens

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Dear Mr Ovens,

Thank you for your email dated 27th May 2010, please see the attached
letter in relation to your FoI request.

Regards

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Walsh-Atkins, Eirian, Ministry of Justice

Dear Mr Ovens,

Before responding to your email, I should explain that it is not in fact
an FOI request, and is being dealt with as a normal enquiry. A request
under the FOI Act should ask for information rather than asking
questions - for example, if you had asked for all information relating
to statute law, or all papers, emails and minutes held by the Cabinet
Office relating to the relationship between common law and statute law,
that would have been an FOI request.

The Office of Public Sector Information has the majority of Statute Law
available on its website at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/.

I am afraid that I am unclear as to the precise nature of your question
- if you wish to ask whether all members of the public must obey the
law, then that is certainly the case. There is no option which allows
members of the public to choose which laws they wish to apply to them or
to obey.

Statutes and Acts draw their authority from Parliament, as described in
the preamble to Acts of Parliament "Be it enacted by the Queen's most
Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords
Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament
assembled, and by the authority of the same,...". Parliament itself
draws its legitimacy from a number of sources, not least of which is the
participation of the majority of the citizens of the United Kingdom in
its operation, through exercising their right to vote or by paying
taxes.

The Government of the day is formed by the party or parties which can
maintain the confidence of the House of Commons, the democratically
elected chamber. That is the cornerstone of the UK's system of
representative democracy.

Thanks

Eirian Walsh Atkins

This e-mail (and any attachment) is intended only for the attention of
the addressee(s). Its unauthorised use, disclosure, storage or copying
is not permitted. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy all
copies and inform the sender by return e-mail.

Internet e-mail is not a secure medium. Any reply to this message
could be intercepted and read by someone else. Please bear that in
mind when deciding whether to send material in response to this message
by e-mail.

This e-mail (whether you are the sender or the recipient) may be
monitored, recorded and retained by the Ministry of Justice. E-mail
monitoring / blocking software may be used, and e-mail content may be
read at any time. You have a responsibility to ensure laws are not
broken when composing or forwarding e-mails and their contents.

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Dear Walsh-Atkins, Eirian,

Thanks for the reply but you have not answered question two.

If everyone has to stand under statute law, does this include Politicians? I have noticed in the expenses scandal, Politicians got off with fraud.

Yours sincerely,

b ovens

Walsh-Atkins, Eirian, Ministry of Justice

Dear Mr Ovens,

Please note that my paragraph beginning 'Statutes and Acts draw their
authority...' is intended to answer your second question as to the
authority of statute law.

Statute law applies to all Members of Parliament, however I am unable to
comment on any ongoing legal proceedings.

Thanks

Eirian Walsh Atkins

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Dear Walsh-Atkins, Eirian,

Thanks for reply but I think you are misunderstanding my point, I am trying to find the actual statute law that confirms that the people of Great Britain have to stand under statute law? Surely if someone doesn't vote for any Government, statute laws do not need to be obeyed by the public, after all, Governments only have power if the people consent to it, is that not also correct?

Yours sincerely,

b ovens

Walsh-Atkins, Eirian, Ministry of Justice

Dear Mr Ovens,

I am afraid I do not grasp precisely what you mean by 'stand under
statute law'? If you mean 'to abide by statute law', then any statute
which stated that the population of Great Britain had to abide by other
statutes would of course be circular.

As I said in my earlier reply, Parliament derives its authority from the
participation of the majority of the British public in its operation,
through voting, paying taxes and abiding by laws. The legal premise of
the United Kingdom constitution - that the UK parliament is sovereign -
is a fundamental part of our constitutional arrangements. This means
that an Act of Parliament must be obeyed by the courts, that later acts
prevail over earlier ones, and that the rules made by external bodies,
for example under international law, cannot override Acts of Parliament.
Another principle is that Parliament cannot bind its successors, that
is, no law can be made which cannot be unmade by Parliament.

Any discussion on how consent is given to be governed is more
appropriate to a philosophical discussion than a central government
department I'm afraid. You can investigate the works of Rousseau,
Hobbes, JS Mill, John Rawls and William Blackstone's interesting
discussion on natural allegiance in 'The Laws of England' for further
information on this topic.

Thanks

Eirian Walsh Atkins

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Dear Walsh-Atkins, Eirian,
What I meant by stand under was, if a statute law is passed, do the people have to abide by it (stand under) or do they have the right to question it?

You said,

acts
prevail over earlier ones, and that the rules made by external bodies,
for example under international law, cannot override Acts of Parliament.
Another principle is that Parliament cannot bind its successors, that
is, no law can be made which cannot be unmade by Parliament.

Does this mean that new Acts passed by Parliament can actually over ride the 1689 Bill of Rights?

You said Parliament cannot bind its successors, but im sure that is exactly what the 1689 Bill of Rights does?

You mention some good writers btw, thanks.

Yours sincerely,

brian ovens

Walsh-Atkins, Eirian, Ministry of Justice

Dear Brian,

this is a common misapprehension about the Bill of Rights 1689. Here is
a link to the Commons Library Research Paper on the Bill of Rights 1689,
which includes a section on the constitutional position of that Act.

http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/res...

Many Thanks

Eirian Walsh Atkins

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