Conventions of British Constitution
Constitutional conventions are political traditions or constitutional understandings or practices forming an essential part or a constitution, but are not law in the strict sense of term because the courts enforce a law while conventions are not taken notice of by the courts and are not enforced by them. For this reason, they are generally described as the rules of constitutional morality.
For example, under the English Constitution, the Queen has power law to dissolve the House of Commons but the exercise of this power is determined by conventions. She always dissolves the House of Commons on the advice or the Prime Minister. If she refuses to do so, she will be legally justified. The breach of this convention is not recognized the law courts or the country.
The growth of conventions a constitution is often accidental and unconscious, very much like the growth of customs in a society. Hence they are also known as the Customs of the constitution. Practically, in every constitution we find conventions, which supplement or even replace the laws of the constitution its practical working. We find many conventions even in the American constitution, which is written and highly rigid. But it is an indisputable fact that constitutional conventions play a more important role in the working of the British constitutional machinery as compared to the political systems of other countries of the world. The British constitution is convention ridden constitution.
The reason for this is that the British people do not have much faith in abstract theories. They are realists. They believe in trial and error-method. They have an attraction for conventions because they leave plenty of room for experiment. If an experience tells them that a particular convention is desirable, it may continue or even embodies in a statute later on. If, on the other hand, experience .suggests that a particular convention needs to be modified before it is finally given a legal shape, it is easily amended. One example will make this point clear. The relations between the Great Britain and Dominions were governed by conventions till 1930-31. In 1931 the British Parliament passed the Statute of Westminster (of 1931), which now regulates the relations between the Dominions and the mother-country (Britain).