Prerogative of mercy

For the prerogative in Rwanda, see Prerogative of mercy (Rwanda). For other uses, see Pardon.

In the British tradition, the royal prerogative of mercy[1] (RPM)[2] is one of the historic royal prerogatives of the British monarch, in which he or she can grant pardons to convicted persons. The royal prerogative of mercy was originally used to permit the monarch to withdraw death sentences, but is now used to change any sentence or penalty.

Officially, this is a power of monarch. Formally, in Commonwealth realms, this was delegated to the Governor-General of the realm. In actual practice, this power has been delegated to government ministers. Specifically, this has been delegated to, the Lord Chancellor in England and Wales; the Scottish Ministers in Scotland; the Minister of Public Safety in Canada;[2] the Minister of Justice in New Zealand;[1] the Minister for Home Affairs in Australia.[3]

This royal prerogative power became reviewable by the courts in the key case of Derek Bentley.


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