Constitutional Courts In The United Kingdom

2005 Words9 Pages
The United Kingdom’s constitution, because it is unwritten, relies mainly on two constitutional principles: parliamentary sovereignty and the rule of law. There is however what appears to be a “tension” between those two. On the one hand, orthodox legal theory has always said that courts in the United Kingdom are subordinate to the Parliament, which is said to be sovereign. As illustrated by Dicey’s quote, “Parliament has, under the English constitution, the right to make or unmake any law whatever; and, further, no person or body is recognised by the law of England as having a right to override or set aside the legislation of Parliament” . As a consequence, courts have no power whatsoever to review and declare statutes passed by the Parliament invalid. They simply have to apply them.…show more content…
It would be a gross exaggeration. Constitutional courts are the highest courts when it comes to the interpretation, protection and enforcement of the Constitution. “[They] deal exclusively with constitutional matters - those cases that raise questions about the application or interpretation of the Constitution.” Indeed, constitutional courts such as the French Conseil Constitutionnel or the German Federal Constitutional Court can strike down legislation which is judged unconstitutional. As of today, that is something the courts in the UK are still unable to do. Primary legislation cannot be judicially reviewed. The closest they have ever come to striking down legislation would be through the use of declarations of incompatibility, incorporated in section 4 of the HRA. However, it must only be used when legislation is inconsistent with the Convention rights, not when it is inconsistent with the UK constitution and secondly, declarations of incompatibility remain political above all as they are not

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