In the United Kingdom Parliament Is Supreme in All Legislative Matters; a Written Constitution Could Never Be Introduced Because It Would Always Be Subject to Express or Implied Amendment or Repeal’

Topics: United Kingdom, European Union, Law Pages: 9 (3538 words) Published: March 12, 2011
‘In the United Kingdom Parliament is supreme in all legislative matters; a written constitution could never be introduced because it would always be subject to express or implied amendment or repeal’

‘Parliament is the only body which can make laws in the United Kingdom (UK), and is therefore sovereign. No other authority can over-rule or change the laws which parliament has made. Political commentators often say that parliament can do "what the hell it likes" in terms of law making. This by and large means that the government of the day can pass legislation easily through parliament as long it has a strong, supportive majority in the House of Commons.’ So if, for example, Parliament had passed a law stating that all newborn boys had to be killed, or that all dog owners had to keep a cat as well, there might well be an enormous public outcry, but the law would still be valid and the court would, in theory at least, be obliged to uphold them. The reasoning behind this is that the Parliament, unlike the judiciary, is democratically elected, and therefore ought to have the upper hand when making the laws that every citizen has to live by. ‘The United Kingdom does not have a codified (written) constitution, unlike France or the United States, and this has a historical basis. From the end of the eighteenth century and throughout the nineteenth century there was a push towards the principle of constitutionalism, that there should be limits upon the absolute power of government, as it was recognised that this was very dangerous if unchecked, and the revolution in France in 1789 and 1830, the appointment of an absolute monarch in Spain in 1812 and the establishment of the constitution of the Kingdom of Italy are examples of the wave that occurred at this time.’ ‘The UK constitution is comprised of unwritten conventions and rules, though the Bill of Rights 1689 has provided the basis for the legislative powers of Parliament and common law for the powers of the Monarch. Dicey was of the view that the UK constitution, although being unwritten, was based upon the principles of the legal sovereignty of Parliament and the rule or supremacy of law.’ ‘Dicey’s view was that the rule of law stated that firstly, individuals could not be subject to a wide discretionary legislative power, that everyone would have the same fair treatment in the courts, and that as there was no written constitution, that constitutional law was the “result of the judicial decisions determining the rights of private persons in particular cases brought before the courts”.’ ‘In the context of parliamentary sovereignty (Parliament in the UK being the supreme and absolute power) which has long been accepted as the fundamental doctrine of constitutional law in the UK, the purpose of a constitution is to limit such powers of government and divide powers amongst different bodies with a view to establishing a check on those powers, called the separation of powers.’ ‘In the eighteenth century, there was a balance of powers of the King, House of Lords and the House of Commons in the United Kingdom, and at the time that Dicey advocated his views about the constitution, this balance of power was followed more avidly than in the present day, as the Monarch had considerable discretion to choose the Prime Minister, and the House of Lords had the same powers as regards participating in making of legislation as the House of Commons. The Preamble to the Parliament Act 1911 removed the House of Lord’s power to veto legislation passed by the House of Commons, and since thereafter there has been no constitutional mechanism by which the House of Common’s supremacy can be challenged.’ ‘The UK's constitution is not written in a single document, but derives from a number of sources that are part written and part unwritten, including accumulated conventions, works of authority, Acts of Parliament, the common law, and EU law.’

Legislation is law which has been promulgated by a...
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