Saturday 4 September 2010

Parliamentary Sovereignty

Law students are inducted into the mysteries of "Parliamentary Sovereignty" as part of their Constitutional Law studies. It's a favourite (for those who set them at least!) exam subject. There have been a number of Washminster postings on the subject -

11 Sept 2007

21 June 2009

29 Sept 2009

14 Jan 2010

Key to understanding the topic are -

* Dicey's teachings on Parliamentary Sovereignty
* the challenges that membership of the European Union has for Dicey's traditional view of the doctrine
* how the Human Rights Act 1998 attempts to recognise the doctrine - but how its application (interpretation under s3 widely used, rather than Declaration of Incompatability - s4)

Particular issues to reflect upon

- is the doctrine one of substance or procedure? - Edinburgh and Dalkeith Rly Co v Wauchope (1842) 8 Cl & Fin 710, 8 ER 279, Lee v Bude and Torrington Junction Rly Co (1871) LR 6 CP 576 and BRB v Pickin [1974] AC 765 - all uphold the principle that what parliament says is the law is accepted by the Courts as such - the "Enrolled Bill Rule"

- what do cases on the doctrine of Implied Repeal say that is relevant? - and in particular Thoburn v Sunderland City Council [2002] 3 WLR 247?

Tom Bingham (Rt Hon Lord Bingham of Cornhill) has some very useful remarks on the subject in his book "The Rule of Law".