Legal Sovereignty And Parliamentary Sovereignty

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Parliamentary sovereignty means that Parliament’s power is unlimited and it can make law on any subject matter. No one can limit the law - making power of any future Parliament. It is impossible therefore for any Parliament to pass a permanent law or in other words to entrench an Act of Parliament. According to Dicey, parliamentary sovereignty means that Parliament has the “right to make or unmake any law whatever”. This basically means that there is no limit on the subject matter on which Parliament may legislate. Sovereignty should be clearly differentiated and distinguished. There is a contrast between legal sovereignty and political sovereignty. Legal sovereignty is concerned with the legal relationship between the courts and Parliament. …show more content…
Retrospective legislation is where Parliament passes a law which nullifies a decision or makes something unlawful which at the time was legal. The case of Burmah Oil v Lord Advocate clearly illustrates this. Burmah Oil was a company whose property was destroyed by British forces during the Second World War to prevent them from falling into the Japanese hands. The company sued for compensation. The House of Lords held that the exercise of royal prerogative that resulted in damage or destroyed property could not be exercised without making payment for it. The Parliament realised that the decision would have resulted in a huge impact on the UK’s financial status. Thus, the War Damage Act 1965 was enacted. This act abolished and took away the right to claim for compensation at common law. In the UK statutory sources are higher in legal status than the common law. In short, where the content of the common law and a statute are inconsistent, the latter will …show more content…
Wauchope was unsuccessful when he argued that a statute should be disapplied because the standing orders of the House of Commons had not been complied with. The judgement stated that if an Act has passed both Houses of Parliament and has also been granted the Royal Assent, then no court of justice can argue the manner in which it was introduced into Parliament. This principle was re-affirmed in Pickin v British Railways Board. It was alleged that the respondent had misled Parliament to secure the passing of a private Bill. The claimant said that the land taken from him under the Act was no longer required, and that he should be entitled to have it returned. What was held in this case was that when an enactment is passed there is finality unless and until it is amended or repealed by Parliament. Lord Reid stated “The function of the court is to construe and apply the enactments of Parliament. The court has no concern with the manner in which Parliament or its officers carrying out the standing orders perform these functions”. The bill eventually became the British Railways Act 1968. Parliament can pass any law it likes and the courts do not have the authority or power to invalidate it. In the case of R v Jordan, the case was an appeal against the Race Relations Act 1965 on the grounds that it was an infringement on freedom of speech. The High Court held that courts did not have the power to question

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