Hierarchy of norms: Acts of Parliament, secondary legislation, common law. Statuteis the highest form of law that is known in this country. Ungoed-Thomas J.a.
But this statement has been overridden by certain developments, namelyEuropean Community law, international human rights.b.
Also note that its the courts themselves that ascribe meaning and theauthoritative ruling of the statute comes from a
not alegislative one. (Brings up the point of
)Parliamentary Sovereignty as a legal doctrine:1.
Parliamentary Sovereignty as a given. A fundamental. Acknowledged by the Earl of Shaftesbury in 1689. Diceyan analysis also has great influence.2.
Sovereign Parliament is not bound by the Act of its predecessors: Doctrine of Implied Repeal. The later act repeals the earlier act, where there is an inconsistencywith the provisions in the earlier Act.Possible sources of Parliamentary Sovereignty:1.
Big Bang creation: Parliamentary Sovereignty as a Fundamental rule. See above.2.
Decisions in Common Law giving Parliament its sovereignty. Courts are applying theActs and have said they are
to apply them3.
Historical Process: mutual understanding and comity. The courts and other politicalactors give Sovereignty to Parliament.a.
However, who is to say that this constitutional evolution has stopped here?How about
as a source?1.
UK has no written constitution, but where it is unwritten, the distribution of publicpower consists ultimately in a dynamic settlement, acceptable to the people,between the different arms of government. (John Laws LJ)2.
Historical Process, Dynamic Historical Experience, Evolutionary.More importantly,
for Parliamentary Sovereignty1.
Parliament derives its sovereignty from the democratic nature of its politicalprocesses.Parliamentary Sovereignty excludes Judicial Review1.
Do judges only apply the statute, or is it possible that they may on their owninitiative begin to review legislation by Parliament?a.
What if it legislation breaches fundamental human rights?b.
In the years before HRA98, Lord Woolf amongst others suggested that bothParliament and the Court are subject to Rule of Law, and if Parliamentenacts something unthinkable the courts may not necessarily upholdlegislation.2.
Parliament has the right to breach fundamental human rights only if they make itclear and explicit that they wish to do so.a.
R v Lord Chancellor ex p Witham:b.
R v Secretary of State (Home Dept) ex p Simms: constraints on the exerciseby Parliament of this power are ultimately political, not legal. But theprinciple of legality means that Parliament must squarely confront what it isdoing and accept the political cost.