• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Public law - Acts of parliament

Extracts from this document...


Public law course work Acts of parliament are considered to be the highest form of law in England. The reason for this is constitutional. Under England's unwritten constitution, parliament is seen as sovereign. As a result, its enacted will, in the form of Acts of parliament, cannot be challenged in the courts. However, in practice there are legal, political and moral limitations on this sovereignty, which will be discussed in some detail in the following pages. An act of parliament is to be always obeyed, even if the act conflicts with common law [Burmah oil Co v Lord Advocate {1965} A.C 75]. Here, the H.L held that where private property was taken or destroyed under the royal prerogative, the owner was entitled at common law to compensation from the crown. However, parliament reversed this decision by enacting the War Damages Act 1965. It provided that no person should be entitled at common law to receive compensation in respect of damage to or destruction of property caused by lawful acts of the crown during the outbreak of a war in which the sovereign is engaged. As a result of this act, Burmah Oil was no longer entitled to compensation, which would have been its common law right. It is now recognised that it is only the Acts of Parliaments that have legal sovereignty. ...read more.


Europe The U.K. became a member of the European Committees on the first of January 1973 by virtue of the treaty of Accession 1972. For the Treaty of Accession and the community treaties and law to have effect in the U.K. parliament passed legislation incorporating them into domestic law by the European Communities Act 1972. As the U.K. has become a member of the European Union, inevitably, situations have arisen when an Act of parliament has conflicted with the European Union. Given the provisions of the European Communities Act 1972, the courts have had to try to resolve these conflicts, constrained by the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty on the one hand and the realities of membership of the European Union on the other. Section 2(4) of the European Communities Act 1972 addresses the issue of conflict between domestic legislation (Acts of Parliament) and European law stating that Acts of parliament shall be construed and have effect subject to directly applicable Community law. Lord Dennings has views on this matter in Bulmer V Bollinger (1974), "When we come to matters with a European elect the Treaty is like an incoming tide. It flows into the Estuaries and up the rivers. It cannot be held back!" Despite Lord Dennings words, there are several possible interpretations of S2 (4) ...read more.


Provided that this delegation is lawful, then the U.K. will remain in compliance with the convention and no public authority will violate the convention rights by enforcing the powers given under the Act, since those rights will have been redefined-& limited- by the derogation. In general, courts try their utmost to reconcile if a conflict arises between Human Right's and Acts of Parliament, but if the conflict still remains, then courts apply the Acts of Parliament and then an issue of incompatibility is declared. The government also has the option to derogate. However, there has been no case where incompatibility has changed the law. There have been cases in which parliament has bowed to pressure to amend the law where there has been a breach of the convention (Campbell and Cosans v U.K. 1982); Malone v U.K. (1985). CONCLUSION In the light of all that has been discussed, I conclude that parliament is supreme. It has the power to pass legislation which conflicts with common law, international treaties etc. but it may not choose to use its power for political, moral considerations and fear of electoral defeat. However, there does seem to be one legal fetter, the European Community. The European Court recognises community law as being supreme (Costa v ENEL{1964}) and that the sovereignty of member states has been limited. But parliament could repeal the European Community Act 1972 which would restore total legislative freedom. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Sources of Law section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Sources of Law essays

  1. To advise Reggie, it is necessary to look at the law of adverse possession. ...

    mortgagee is where he is unable to pursue his rights as a secured creditor because a third party has rights in the property with priority to his.46 The most common way in which a mortgagee will impose his security is an action for possession, by making a sale of the property.

  2. Is the UK Parliament still supreme with regards to enacting Acts of Parliament? Discuss.

    The Government initiates most legislation, though the many influences and pressures for legislation are discussed in a later chapter. The general policy and broad outline of the proposed legislation are discussed and agreed among a large or small group of ministers, civil servants and others, and a Green Paper (purely consultative)

  1. "In form, the Human Rights Act (HRA) is compatible with parliamentary sovereignty. In practice, ...

    Parliament has invited judges to tell it that it has acted wrongly by legislating incompatibly with a Convention right. Yet because neither House of Parliament is a public authority under section 6(3), it is not unlawful for Parliament to act in a way which is incompatible with a Convention right

  2. To what extent do you think these aims have been (or will be) facilitated ...

    127 LRA 1925 15 s. 123 LRA 1925 16 Mirror Principal; that the register reflects accurately the position with regard to the ownership of land and the third party rights affecting it. LAND LAW Mark Thompson p.89 17 Curtain Principal; ensures that rights which will be overreached upon transfer of the land are kept off the register of title.

  1. Commercial law discussion - 'Transfer of Title by a Non-Owner'.

    the person who has the vehicle sells to a private purchaser (rather than a dealer or finance house) before payment has been completed then subject to certain qualifications the purchaser has good title. The purchaser must be a private individual and he must take in good faith and without notice of the hire purchase or conditional sale agreement.

  2. Parliamentary supremacy

    On the other hand, parliament still has supremacy as parliament can only change and make the legislation, not the courts.

  1. Examine the relationship between law and morals and consider whether the law should support ...

    The debate over the relationship of law and morality was brought to the fore in the famous Hart/Devlin debate, which followed the publication of the Wolfenden report in 1957. The committee behind the report contained Lord Devlin, a prominent judge, and the academic Professor Hart.

  2. Unmarried fathers and their children - has the law got it right?

    It is shocking that with out this parental responsibility order the father cannot even consent to emergency medical treatment. Surely the law has not got it right in relation to unmarried fathers. The Government needs to raise far more awareness about the importance of parental responsibility.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work