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Parliamentary Sovereignty - Essay Example

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Name of the of the Concerned Professor Law 7 December 2011 Parliamentary Sovereignty To understand the concept of parliamentary sovereignty, one needs to look at it in a historical context. It took almost more than nine hundred years for the Parliament to emerge as an institution in the United Kingdom, which led to the emergence of the House of Commons and the House of Lords…
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Parliamentary Sovereignty Essay
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Download file to see previous pages It were the subsequent Parliament Acts passed in 1911 and 1949, which not only curtailed the amending powers of the House of Lords in the sphere of monetary bills, but also shrunk the time limit beyond which it could delay any bill.1 In the contemporary context, the Parliament comprises of the House of Commons comprising of the MPs elected by the people and the House of Lords comprising of the Lords, Law Peers and the crown. So the concept of parliamentary sovereignty in the UK needs to be taken in a historical and evolutionary perspective, which metamorphosed and developed over a long period of time. Parliamentary sovereignty is a politico-legal principle enshrined within the constitution of the United Kingdom. To put it simply, the concept of parliamentary sovereignty connotes that the Parliament stands to be the supreme legal authority in the United Kingdom, which alone has the power to bring into existence or abolish any law.2 In general, the courts in the UK do not have the authority to overrule the laws enacted by the Parliament. Besides, no Parliament in the UK can enact any law or laws that cannot be amended, changed or abolished by any Parliament in the future. Though parliamentary sovereignty stands to be an utterly important principle in the UK constitution, in practice it qualifies to be labelled a double edged sword. In a historical perspective, the principle of parliamentary sovereignty gave precedence to the will of the citizenry over the writs of the Crown and the nobility. However, there is no dearth of modern legal historians, who interpret the principle of parliamentary sovereignty as the utter failure of the English Law to come out with a due process as in the US constitution, aimed at protecting the infringement of the human rights and privacy of the citizens by the Parliament and the State. The principle of parliamentary sovereignty was held high in Jackson v Attorney-General by Lord Bingham3. Jackson v Attorney-General was a pivotal House of Lords case that bring to fore the legality of the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 in the context of banning fox hunting by passing the Hunting Act 2004. The Hunting Act 2004 was passed while ascribing to section 2 of the Parliament Act 1911, which was amended by section 1 of Parliament Act 1949, in the sense that the Act was passed sans the consent of the House of Lords after the expiry of the proscribed delay. In that sense, Jackson v Attorney-General stood to be an important case lying within the scope of the principle of the parliamentary sovereignty.4 Within the sphere of the parliamentary sovereignty, Jackson v Attorney-General raised the question raised the questions regarding the validity of all the legislations passed under 1949 Parliament Act as the appellants argued that the Hunting Act passed under the 1949 Parliament Act was invalid, because the parent act was passed while ascribing to the 1911 Act, a privilege that the 1911 Act never intended to allow. Since the Enrolled Bill Doctrine enunciated that the courts of law could not look into the procedural aspects of a passed legislation, the bigger question that this case raised was that whether it was allowable to courts to challenge an Act passed by the Parliament. Lord Hope put ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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