With reference to relevant domestic case law outline the “mechanisms” adopted by the British Courts to maintain the Doctrine of Parliamentary Sovereignty in the context of applying European Law. Particular reference should be made to the cases of Bulmer v Bollinger and Factortame. Parliamentary sovereignty is a fundamental principle in the constitution of the United Kingdom. It is where the Parliament is the supreme legal authority, which has the power to create or end any law. Generally, the courts cannot overrule its legislation and no Parliament can pass a law that a future Parliament cannot change. In the British constitution, a statute is generally regarded as the highest form of the law, therefore Parliament is seen as the sovereign law maker. However the doctrine of Parliamentary sovereignty has been altered and limited by the UK decision to become a member of the European Community in 1973 when the European Communities Act 1972 came into force. Parliament must now legislate consistently with European Community Law. The terms of the European treaties as interpreted by the European Court of Justice require member states to limit their sovereignty, by Parliament giving direct effect and primacy to EU Law. The European Court of Justice states that European Community Law should be enforceable in the courts of member states and that EU law prevails domestic law of member state, which includes the United Kingdom. The ECJ, as the judicial institution of the Community, is the backbone of that system of safeguards. It is responsible for interpreting questions of EC law and provision is made in the Treaty for references to the ECJ by national courts. Decisions of the ECJ, upon a reference, are reached by majority vote and are binding on all domestic courts of all Member States. Under Article 234 the ECJ has achieved the principle of supremacy and its uniform application in all Member States when Community law may be in conflict with domestic legislation.
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