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

Public Law

Extracts from this document...


Public Law (I) In the late 19th century it was argued by many that Britain had no constitution, such as the French writer De Tocqueville as there is no legally written formal document containing the 'rules of the land'. However, a constitution does not need to be written down; "Constitutions are codes of rules which govern the allocation of functions, powers and duties among the various Government agencies and their officers, and define their relationship between them and the public"1. The British constitution, which comprises of many components in the form of doctrines and principles, achieves this. In the British constitution, a concentration of power exists legitimately with one of its central pillars being the quasi-legal principle of Parliamentary supremacy. This principle, which can be found in the common law in cases such as R v Kelly2 and Blackburn v A.G.3, means that Parliament has the right to make laws freely i.e. no one can say otherwise or challenge the validity. However, this fundamental part of our constitution is under threat, as our conception of Parliamentary supremacy makes it difficult for us to enter the European Union (EU) properly and encompass the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Furthermore, many see it as being taken over by a domination of the executive. ...read more.


Lord Denning initially took the view that once a statute has been passed, it is not for the courts to argue11, thus following the theory of Parliamentary Supremacy. However, as time passed the courts changed and began to implement EU law as supreme12 but leaving the question as to what would happen if Parliament wanted to over rule a piece of EU legislation unanswered. Currently, the authority on this problem comes in a series of cases known as the Factortame cases in which a conflict with the Merchant Shipping Act 1988 arose. On this case, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that while a domestic statute was in conflict with EU law, then the statute should be suspended and EU law prevail. This was upheld by the House of Lords on return and has been seen by many a dramatic constitutional change, removing the continued supremacy of Parliament. Adding to the undermining of Parliament was the courts decision that damages should be awarded to the parties who lost money due to loss of income because of the offending statute. All these points further undermine the theory of supremacy as it appears that the Government of 1972 have successfully bound any future Governments by incorporating EU law into Britain. ...read more.


Although the effects of the ECHR are minimal as Parliament can choose to ignore it at will, the effects of the European union are quite large, and only destined to get larger with the once unimaginable possibility of a United States of Europe now possible. Also, the effects of the slow increase in executive control are becoming more and more apparent with the pinnacle not yet reached. However, I believe that Parliamentary supremacy is still a fundamental aspect of the British constitution and is still very relevant today as without it our constitution would cease to exist and many aspects of our law are still based firmly upon it. 1 Finer, S. Comparing Constitutions (1995, Clarendon Press) 2 [1982] A.C. 665 3 [1971] C.M.L.R. 784 4 (1765) 19 State Tr 1029; 2 Wils 275 5 See section 3(1) of the convention 6 Wilson v First County Trust (No 2) [2001] ( the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry intervened) 7 [2002] EWCA Civ 1598 8 HC deb, 21st October 1998, col 1301 9 [1995] 1 CMLR 345 10 Marleasing SA v La Comercial Internacional de Alimentacion SA [1992] 1 CMLR 305 11 Felixstowe Dock and Railway Co v British Transport Docks Board [1976] 2 LIL rep 656 12 Macarthay v Smith [1979] ICR 785 13 [1943] 2 All ER 560 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Politics 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 GCSE Politics essays

  1. Describe the formal process of statute creation in parliament.

    standing committees of 20-30 can carry out a more detailed scrutiny of the Bill making sure it is a good one.

  2. Minority Rights, Identity Politics and Gender in Bangladesh: Current Problems and Issues

    Gono Adalat or public tribunal was seen as challenge to a legitimate state, and the charges of sedition were filed against Jahanara Imam and forty other leaders of the movement. Women's common experience across ethnic, class and community boundaries have often helped women in conflict situations to network with each


    Montesquieu believed that judges should not be legislators, but there is now little doubt that in our common-law system the judges do have a legislative role. The judges themselves are not keen to admit to this, and often go out of their way to disguise it.

  2. The Impact of Electoral Design on the Legislature.

    Seats are allocated according to the number of quotas won. The system is used: in most countries in continental Europe, South Africa, Israel and Russia, and was used in Britain for the 1999 European Election (Northern Ireland will retain STV).

  1. The Uk policy making process.

    a Republican Congressman who voted more often with the Democrats than with his own party. There, the political parties are very loose coalitions. In the UK by contrast, they are much more important and are run in much more central and authoritarian ways.

  2. Public Law

    Parliamentry Sovereignty is the principle that parliament is the supreme authoritative body of the land, therefore all 'Acts of Parliament' are paramount law, which "no person or body is recognised by the law as having the right to override or set aside" Dicey.

  1. Britain has no written constitution or comprehensive Bill of Rights, and is found partly ...

    Beatty v Gillbanks (1882) Queens Bench Division1 is a case in the point as it was in this case whereby Beatty and others were found guilty of forming an "unlawful" assembly. If this case were brought to court now it would be possible for them to put forward their case to the EC.

  2. A) Explain what the phrase Parliamentary Supremacy

    Another point of view is that members of parliament usually follow what their party wants rather than the opinions and views of what their constituents want, thus not acting fairly on the constituency which decreases its power. An additional attitude if of the "first past the post" system which refers

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