Lapsed power

Lapsed power

In politics and government, lapsed power is a term often used to describe a certain constitutionally-granted power of government that is no longer used, according to constitutional convention. This may be because the power's original conditions of use no longer exist, making it an anachronism, or simply because the nation's political culture and attitudes have shifted, making the power appear too morally or ethically objectionable to use.

Examples of lapsed powers include the reserve powers of a monarch under a constitutional monarchy. Constitutional monarchs have significant powers over matters such as the appointment of the prime minister or the veto of legislation, in practice these powers are rarely actually used independently.

Another example of a lapsed power could be the ability of the Roman Catholic Pope to resign his office. Though authorized by the Canon Laws of the Vatican hiearchy, no Pope has actually done so for centuries. Thus, the power can be considered defacto lapsed.

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