The concept of Parliamentary sovereignty means Parliament is the supreme legal authority in the UK, it s not subject to any le
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The Keystone of the UK Constitution is the Principle of Parliamentary Sovereignty. Does this principle survive accession to Europe? The concept of Parliamentary Sovereignty means Parliament has the supreme legal authority in the UK. It is not subject to any legal limitation within the UK as there is no overriding written constitution against which the validity of Parliament's enactments may be tested. It cannot be bound by its predecessors and may amend or repeal any previous enactments. Parliament alone can make or dissolve any law, it can pass Acts of Indemnity and can also render retrospective legislation illegal and impose penalties on actions which were perfectly lawful when they were committed. The European Union grew from the European Economic Community, which was created by the Treaty of Rome 1957. It's objectives included the development of economic activities and raising the standard of living. In l972, the UK signed the Brussels Treaty of Accession to join the European Union and this Treaty was brought into force by Act of Parliament. The EU position dictates that EU Law takes precedence over UK Lawagreement.
This undermines the power of Parliamentary sovereignty, s2(4) of the ECA does enable UK courts to give priority to EC law as the ECJ requires. If there is a clash between UK domestic law and EU law, the EU law will take precedence therefore Parliament is no longer sovereign. This can be illustrated by the Factortame case (1990) the ECJ held that the English courts could not apply the Merchant Shipping Act (1988) designed to protect British fishermen because it conflicted with the Treaty of Rome 1957. However, the UK can withdraw for the EU at anytime it wishes. EU law is directly applicable as soon as the law is created in the EU; it becomes enforceable to all the EC countries by individual citizens without there being any domestic legislation. Treaties, regulations and decisions of the ECJ are all directly applicable. This undermines Parliaments power because it is no longer the sole supreme lawmaker of the UK. However, directives are not directly applicable meaning that a citizen of the EU cannot use the legislative until the country has brought the legislation into force. The directive needs to be enacted by Parliament thus giving law-making powers back to Parliament.
This is a principal of Parliamentary sovereignty that an Act of Parliament can repeal any earlier one. This point demonstrates how Parliamentary sovereignty works out side Europe and that it is the keystone of the UK constitution. There are examples of some Acts that can only be repealed if the statutes are overrules expressly, these were called constitutional statues, an example of this is the Act of Union 1707. The dominance of the EC within the UK can be described as a mere illusion because it is limited to certain fields such as trade and agriculture, the EU is not concerned with other aspects of UK law such as family and health. Parliament remains sovereign in more domestic areas. Parliament may abolish any of the devolved legislatives at it pleasure. The European and British courts have the authority to declare incompatibility or to annul a law only because of an Act of Parliament. Thus, theoretically, Parliament remains almost entirely sovereign.There is a concept in political science of legal and political sovereignty. It can be argued that legal sovereignty has not been lost, because Parliament still retains all its theoretical powers. However, as it is highly unlikely that the UK would repeal the European Communities Act and leave the European Union.
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