Constitutional Conventions and the Prince of Wales

Publication Date01 November 2013
AuthorAdam Perry
Date01 November 2013
is not an impediment to the ability of an employee to affirm the contract and
demand work or lost wages as a debt for the failure of the employer to provide
work, notwithstanding the destruction of the employment relationship. It also
confirms the common law rule that there is an implied duty to pay wages where
the employee undertakes no work in the case of illness77 or lay-off.78 However,
what Geys does not resolve is whether ‘the more impersonal, less hierarchical,
relationship of many employers with their employees requires review of the
usual unavailability of specific performance [in the common law]’.79 Lord Wilson
left the issue open for future consideration and Lord Sumption did not address
it. Thus, while Geys resolves the conundrum surrounding the applicability of the
automatic versus the elective theories of termination, it fails to provide a reso-
lution of the debates surrounding the range of remedies available for a breach of
the employment contract. The identification of a normatively sound framework
that addresses these conceptual difficulties arising in relation to the common law
remedies for a breach of the contract of employment has therefore been deferred
to a later date.
Constitutional Conventions and the Prince of Wales
Adam Perry*
The Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) held in Evans vInformation Commissioner
that certain correspondence between Prince Charles and government officials must be disclosed
under freedom of information legislation. Much of the judgment was devoted to a discussion of
the constitutional conventions applicable to Prince Charles, and the case provides a useful
example of how conventions and laws can interact. In this note, I argue that the Upper Tribunal
misunderstood how conventions are distinguished from one another, and misapplied the test for
the identification of conventions.
In Evans vInformation Commissioner1(Evans), the Upper Tribunal (Administrative
Appeals Chamber) ordered the disclosure of certain correspondence between
Prince Charles and seven government departments under section 1 of the
77 See Cuckson ibid;Marrison vBell [1939] 2 KB 187. However, cf O’Grady vSaper [1940] 2 KB 469;
Mears vSafecar Security Ltd [1983] QB 54.
78 Bond vCav Co [1983] IRLR 360; Devonald vRosser (1906) 2 KB 728.
79 n 4 above, 76G per Lord Wilson.
*Lecturer in Law, University of Aberdeen. I thank an anonymous referee for his or her helpful
1 [2012] UKUT 313 (AAC). Paragraph numbers in the text of this note refer to this decision. Evans
should not be confused with the Information Commissioner’s decision on 21 August 2012 that
guidance in relation to obtaining the consent of The Crown or the Duchy of Cornwall before bills
are passed into law is not exempted under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, s 42(1) (which
relates to ‘legal professional privilege’).
Adam Perry
© 2013 The Authors. The Modern Law Review © 2013 The Modern Law Review Limited. 1119
(2013) 76(6) MLR 1094–1128

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