Constitutional in today’s society. Ultimately, in theory

Constitutional
theorist, A.V Dicey views parliamentary sovereignty to be based on four rules; Parliament
has the right to make and unmake laws, no person or body can challenge this,
parliament can regulate activities of anyone, anywhere and that parliament
cannot bind its successors.1
The UK constitution is uncodified and parliament is regarded as sovereign, this
means it has supreme power. For instance, the highest form of law in the UK is
an Act of Parliament, which no court can refuse to apply.

                                                              

Although,
parliamentary sovereignty is a key principle of the UK constitution, it is
fundamentally flawed as the limitations that exist undermine its power, and
this will be discussed using case law. Today, parliament holds superiority not
only over the other branches in the UK constitution, but essentially all
constitutional principles, which speaks volumes for its relevance today. As
society has progressed, it could be argued that Dicey’s traditional account has
been proven inaccurate in practicality, especially in today’s society.
Ultimately, in theory his view is still widely believed as correct as Lord
Bingham stated, ‘the bedrock of the British constitution is…The supremacy of
the Crown in parliament.’2
However, the pragmatism/reality behind Dicey’s account of parliamentary
sovereignty is questionable and this essay will debate the extent of its
relevance today.

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Historically,
sovereignty was held by the monarchs. Over time the power shifted as ideology
changed and now parliament holds the power. The Bill of Rights 1689,
established the concept of parliamentary sovereignty in the UK.3 There
are limitations regarding parliamentary sovereignty and it could be argued that
the inclination of the EU membership, devolution and the fact parliament cannot
bind future parliaments are limitations.

1  Dicey, ‘Introduction
to the study of the law of the constitution’ (1855)

2 R(Jackson) v Attorney General 2005
UKHL at 9

3 Bill
of Rights Act 1689, (1)

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