Adam Gearey. Legal and Parliamentary sovereignty



A V Dicey  described p s through 3 rules

Parliament is supreme lawmaker

No Parliament can bind a successor

no person or body may question the validity of Parliament;s enactments

these 3 rules follow from supreme lawmaker is in British constitution

one problem

parliament can be tyrannical. no one can stop it

Sir Leslie Philips gave us a pointed way of thinking it through. COuld Parliament pass a law condemning all blue eyed babies to death?

Yes and No. If Parliament is sovereign then it could enact such a law

But on the other hand – Parliament will not do this. Reduction ad absurdum. Realities of politics. Seems unimaginable

The last civil war was 1640s. country has internal peace.

no acts of genocide at home

this reflects an understanding political settlement in the UK.


.Issue is distinction between legal and political sovereignty. this refers to legal sovereignty. however, we need to distinguish between this and political sovereignty. limited by democratic accountability

Parliament owes it potency to the people

Algernon Venn Dicey makes this distinction

Parliament is restricted by rules, understandings and what is politically possibly.

the government could abolish cars. it would not do that

could Parliament legally create a statute abolishing private ownership of motorised vehicles? Yes

continuing theory of parliamentary sovereignty

Ian Loveland – says that Parliament is a perpetual institutiuon. its power is unconfined and is created anew each time it meets.

Makes one cogitate on referenda. A Parliament is not bound by it

Dicey’s third rule – no court may question the validity of an act of Parliament.  A court cannot strike down such an act. The Irish Supreme Court can declare an act is a nullity.




About Calers

Born Belfast 1971. I read history at Edinburgh. I did a Master's at UCL. I have semi-libertarian right wing opinions. I am married with a daughter and a son. I am allergic to cats. I am the falling hope of the not so stern and somewhat bending Tories. I am a legal beagle rather than and eagle. Big up the Commonwealth of Nations.

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