Parliamentary Sovereignty

Topics: United Kingdom, European Union, European Court of Justice Pages: 3 (1095 words) Published: July 20, 2014
It is often said that the United Kingdom (UK) does not have written constitution, referring to the absence of a single, codified set of constitutional rules and regulations. Despite that, the UK is almost unique in this respect as they practice the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty. According to Lord Styen in the case of R v Jackson, the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty is a creation of the court as it is the judiciary that has created and maintained the doctrine as a basic principle of the constitution. There are two types of sovereignty being legal sovereignty and political sovereignty. Legal sovereignty is also called constitutional sovereignty where it recites in the Parliament and is recognized and enforced by the court. Political sovereignty is the actual sovereignty where it recites in the people. The classic definition of parliamentary sovereignty is offered by Dicey, where he said Parliament has the right to make and unmake any law whatsoever and it can bind any person at all time. According to Dicey, the doctrine consists of three principles. First of all, Parliament is the supreme law-making body and it has the authority to legislate on any subject matter. For examples, Parliament can legislate with retrospective effect [Burmah Oil Company v Law Advocate][War Damage Act 1965] Parliament can reduce its life from 7 to 5 years under Parliamentary Act 1911. Secondly, Parliament is not bound by its predecessors neither can it bind its successors. In other words, the Parliament of today is not bound by the Parliament of yesterday and the Parliament of today also cannot bind the Parliament of tomorrow. This mechanism for securing this principle is known as the doctrine of implied repeal. Parliament may expressly repeal any previous law and the courts must then give effect to the later statute. However, Parliament may not expressly repeal earlier legislation leaving two or more conflicting statutes. The doctrine of implied repeal then applies, in...
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