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

The concept of Parliamentary sovereignty means Parliament is the supreme legal authority in the UK, it s not subject to any le

Extracts from this document...


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. ...read more.


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. ...read more.


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. ...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 European Union 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 European Union essays

  1. A clear explanation of key underpinning economic theories relevant to the EU.

    There are many different languages spoken in the member countries, A firm when marketing its products needs to consider many key essential facts and some of these are, *Language *Attitude and values *Religion *Aesthetic considerations *Education *Internal organisation *Law and political issues Below I will present all the languages that

  2. An Analysis of the Powers of the European Parliament.

    EP and problems arise when national groups have to act in specific domestic instructions and each national group tends to have it own priorities and loyalties. Organisation and operation. The European Parliament is an autonomous body within the institutional framework of the European Union, it determines its internal organization and

  1. "How was the doctrine of supremacy developed by the European Court of Justice, and ...

    Dualism Monism is the theory that national and international law form part of one greater legal structure, in which international law is supreme to all other laws.

  2. Powers of the European Parliament

    The Council can adopt Parliament's amendments that have been accepted by the Commission by a qualified majority, or modify Parliament's amendments only by a unanimous vote. In the event of disagreement between Parliament and the Council, a conciliation committee made up of the members of the Council and a delegation from Parliament meets for a maximum of six weeks.

  1. The European Community and ECJ

    The dividing line between Art 90(1) and Art 90(2) is a very thin one and can be proved problematic when the court is called to decide whether goods are similar or not.

  2. An assessement of the impact of the lawyers' establishment directive.

    These "scope of practice" limitations are relatively narrow, however. Except for the specified limitations, the transient lawyer may practice Home State law, EC law, international law and, remarkably, also Host State law. Interestingly, the Lawyers' Establishment Directive provides two different methods by which the transient lawyer may become integrated into

  1. Economic and political integration between the member states of the European Union means that ...

    gives Parliament the power to adopt regulations and directives on an equal footing together with the Council. This procedure applies to the single market, social policy, economic and social cohesion, research and the new areas covered by the Union Treaty considering: condiment protection, education, culture and health.

  2. The Council of Ministers.

    The political territory of the Council is often a subject of dispute with other institutions especial with European Parliament and Commission. How does the council work? Devices to oil the Council machine The Council is a busy organization in need of mechanism to facilitate its work.

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