Royal prerogative of mercy

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

In the English and British tradition, the royal prerogative of mercy is one of the historic royal prerogatives of the British monarch, in which he or she can grant pardons (informally known as a royal pardon) 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.[1]

Officially, this is a power of the monarch. Formally, in Commonwealth realms, this has been delegated to the Governor-General of the realm, which in practice means to government ministers who advise the monarch or viceroy, usually those responsible for justice. Specifically, it 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] and the Attorney-General or Minister for Justice in Australia.[3]

In the important case of Derek Bentley, this royal prerogative power was found to be judicially reviewable.[4]

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