‘Parliamentary sovereignty is a constitutional relic. It has been rendered obsolete, in particular, by the supremacy of EU law and the UK’s statutory recognition of human rights. We should no longer talk about this irrelevant doctrine.’
Critically discuss this statement.
A.V Dicey gives an introduction to the doctrine of Parliamentary sovereignty as, “the principle of Parliamentary sovereignty means neither more nor less than this, namely, that Parliament thus defined has, under the English constitution, the right to make or unmake any law whatever; and, further, that no person or body is recognised by the law of England as having the right to override or set aside the legislation of Parliament’. However, there are many discussions as to whether the UK joining with the European Union and adherence to the Human Rights Act 1998 renders sovereignty irrelevant. It will be argued that although following these rules may appear to be contradictory to sovereignty, co-operation is entirely voluntary, necessary, and there are many examples as to why sovereignty is not irrelevant, nor archaic. Firstly, Parliamentary sovereignty is not a constitutional relic. It may seem to be the, as part of the UK constitution continues to rely on extremely early Acts such as The Magna Carta or the Bill of Rights Act , however, these statutes continue to remain as they set out important constitutional principles. Even since 1215, it has been recognised that it is important to limit the power of the monarch, and transfer powers to parliament, in interest of balance, and the separation of powers. Up until present day, supporting Dicey’s summary above, UK courts cannot strike down an Act of Parliament, this is unlike many Supreme Courts in other countries, for example the USA, who are bound to reject legislation which contradicts the written constitutional rights. For example in the case of Mortensen v. Peters , it notes that in the event of a contradiction between international...
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