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Is Dicey(TM)s View of Parliamentary Sovereignty still valid in the UK in 2005?

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  • Essay length: 1439 words
  • Submitted: 24/11/2008
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University Degree Public Law

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Is Dicey's View of Parliamentary Sovereignty still valid in the UK in 2005?

Parliamentary sovereignty refers to the absence of any legal constraint upon the legislative power of the United Kingdom Parliament. The definition is given by A.V Dicey (Law of the Constitution, pp. 39-40):

'The principle of Parliamentary sovereignty means neither more nor less than this, namely that Parliament thus defined (Queen, Lords, Commons)has the right to make or unmake any law whatever; and, further, that no person or body is recognised by the law of England as having a right to overrule or set aside the legislation of Parliament.'

This absence of legal restraint has three aspects; the positive that Parliament can legislate on any subject matter. The negative; that once Parliament has legislated no court or other body can deny the legal validity of the legislation. And no individual Parliament is bound by its predecessors or can bind its successors.

C J Cockburn in ex parte Canon Selwyn 1872

"There is no judicial body in the country by which the validity of an Act of Parliament could be questioned. An Act of the Legislature is superior in authority to any

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