Posted by / Monday 18 April 2016 / No comments

The functions of the Legislative Council under the Crown Colony system of administration

As part of the administrative structure of the British colonies, a provision was made for a Legislative Council. The council was made up of Senior British officials heading the various departments and other special interests, such as mines, commerce, banking, and industries. 

The Council was made up of two types of members. There were official members heading the various departments in the colony and there were also unofficial members who did not head any departments. The Legislative Council was headed by the Governor.

Made Laws
One of the functions of the Legislative Council was to help the Governor in making laws for the administration of the colony. The laws that were passed were referred to as Ordinances.

Amend Laws
Another function of the Legislative Council was the power to amend ordinances. The Council also had the power to alter any administrative policies of the Executive Council if it felt that the policy was not going to inure to the benefit of the colony or its masters in London.

Measures public opinion
Public opinion is defined as the views of people on a particular issue at a particular time. The Legislative Council served as a place the views of the people are expressed through the people in the Council. Therefore, the colonial administration is able to ascertain the opinions of the public on very important issues of colonial interest.

Discussed Budget
Another function of the Legislative Council debated the annual budget of the colonial territory before it was sent to the Secretary of State for the colonies for approval.

Governor’s veto power
One of the limitations to the powers of the Legislative Council was the Governor's veto power. The veto power meant that the Governor could prevent a law from being passed if he disagreed with it. He also had the power of certification which gave him the power to force a bill in law if he felt it was necessary. These powers constituted a limitation to the powers and functions of the Legislative Council.  

Limited scope
The jurisdiction of the Legislative Council was limited to only the coastal areas of the Gold Coast. The activities and laws of the Legislative Council did not extend to the Ashanti and the Northern territories. t was the Governor who was responsible for the direct administration of those territories

Colonial Validity Act of 1865
Another limitation of the Legislative Council was the passage of the Colonial Validity Act of 1865. Under this law, the British crown was granted the power to declare null and void any law made in the colony which violated natural justice or was not in consonance with British law.

Governor’s casting vote
Again, the powers of the Legislative Council is limited by the Governor's casting vote. Whenever there was a tie in the votes cast in the Legislative Council over a policy or programme, this enabled him to decide whether a decision should hold or not when there was a tie of votes in the council.

Powers of the Secretary of State
Again, the Secretary of State for the colonies had to approve the drafting of all important bills before it could come before the Legislative Council. This was a limitation because, in other words, if the Secretary of state did not give his approval then a bill could not be drafted.

Manipulations by the Governor
Most of the members of the Legislative Council were either appointed or nominated by the Governor. To a certain extent, therefore, the Governor exerted a lot of influence over them. For that reason, he could have his way in the Council. 

Only the Governor could introduce money-bills
Another limitation was that the Legislative Council was not mandated to introduce money-bills. Only the Governor had the exclusive right to introduce money bills in the Legislative Council.

1. a. Highlight five functions of the Legislative Council under the Crown Colony system of administration.

2. a. List four functions of the Legislative Council under the Crown Colony system of administration.
    b. In which five ways were the powers of the Legislative Council limited?

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