Importance Of Parliamentary Sovereignty

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Parliamentary Sovereignty is a major principle of the UK constitution. This means that parliament is the supreme legal authority and has the power to both make and break laws. Generally speaking no court, including the highest court in the land- the Supreme Court, has the power to overrule its legislation. Instead, it is the job of the Supreme Court to interpret and develop the law where necessary. This provides proof that the UK courts are subordinate to parliament. However, parliament themselves have introduced a number of developments that have actually raised questions as to whether parliament remains sovereign. These developments have limited or transferred their power to other authoritative bodies both inside and outside of the UK. It…show more content…
Baron Montesquieu stated the importance of judicial independence by stating ‘there is no liberty if the power of judging is not separated from the legislative and executive' This quote states the importance of the Separation of Powers Doctrine. Until the 2005 Constitutional reform Act commanded changes to be made to the Lord Chancellors Office, the Lord Chancellor was a cabinet minister, member of the House of Lords and head of the judiciary. This meant that all three arms of the state (executive, legislature and judiciary) that should traditionally and in accordance to the Separation of Powers Doctrine be kept separate in order to keep the other arms in check and balance with each other, were tangled together. In 2005, the Constitutional reform act came into play which significantly modified the role of the chancellor meaning that he was no longer the head of the judiciary and also created the supreme court. The main purpose for the creation of the supreme court was to detangled the arms of state. By adapting the role of the Lord Chancellor, the judicial arm could be separated from the legislature arm. This gave the courts their own separate power. The regulations put in place by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 in regards to the appointment of judges furthered this separation of the three arms of the state and further increased the power given to the courts. However, although these changes were…show more content…
The HRA allows a person to defend their rights in a UK court and forces public organisation- including the government to treat everyone with fairness, dignity and respect. It also gives the judges power to read and interpret other laws in a way which should be compatible with the conventional rights. Critics of the Human Rights act suggested that this power of interpretation involves a substantial destruction of the influence of parliament. Joshua Roseburg wrote in an article for the telegraph on the 2nd of October 2000 that the human rights act saw a 'subtle but undeniable shift in power from parliament to the judges.' This new power was put to the test in the case of Simms in 1999. Here the courts decided that a ban preventing prisoners from talking to journalists without discrimination was unlawful. Lord Steyn stated that 'freedom of expression is of course intrinsically important.' Lord Hoffman when giving reason for the courts judgment stated that they interpreted the words used in the text to be subject to the rights of the individual. This shows that the courts have used the power given to them by the Human Rights Act to inflict on parliamentary

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