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

    Even so, Devlin's theory has been criticised. The first critic is in relation to the argument that 'morality is the cement of society'. This statement can be seen as assumed and unqualified. He has not proven that every act of immorality threatens the survival of , there is no evidence to support this.

  2. "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

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

    mortgagor default on the mortgage through suing the mortgagor's covenant to repay, the right to possession, the power of sale, the right to appoint a receiver and the right to foreclosure. These rights are available to both legal and equitable mortgagees.

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

    the buyer and nor by the Factors Act because the seller is not a mercantile agent. However the third party in the case has rights under s27(2) of the Hire-Purchase Act 1964, which states that where a motor vehicle is held under a hire purchase or conditional sale agreement and

  1. There are a number of advantages and disadvantages for law making in the Westminster ...

    The judiciary for the English legal system is made up of the Supreme Court and all the lower courts, such as Court of Appeal, the High Court, County Court and finally the Magistrates' Court. When a law needs to be amended for whatever reason, this is called a judicial review.

  2. Juvenile Justice

    Shawn himself claims to have no memory of stabbing his father. His mother describes waking up to her husband screaming; his father remembers being unable to identify his attacker at first, then realizing it was his son and eventually tackling him to the ground.

  1. Law a2 notes

    intention to commit one of the offences specified (theft, criminal damage or GBH) Actus Reus Meaning of Entry "effective and substantial entry" R v Collins; Brown; Ryan Building or Part of a Building The term building is not defined in the Act but has been interpreted to include a vessel

  2. delegation law

    Currently delegated legislation is made by non-elected bodies away from democratically elected politicians (parliament) , as a result many people have the power to pass delegated legislation, which provides a necessity for control, as without controls bodies would pass outrageous unreasonable legislation which was attempted in the past; in the Strictland V Hayes Borough Council (1986)

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