This essay looks to discuss Parliamentary sovereignty as a constitutional relic and will argue that it has not been rendered obsolete by the supremacy of European law. This will be done by examining the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union. It will further argue that although the United Kingdom’s statutory recognition of the Human Rights Act 1998, in response to the convention of HR, may be seen to limit the supremacy of Parliament, it will prove that Parliament still reigns supreme. It will highlight that the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty is a relevant and crucial doctrine within the United Kingdom’s constitution as it is essential for parliament to enact statutory law. This essay, taking all the above arguments into consideration, will conclude that Parliamentary sovereignty is very much alive within the UK constitution.
How effectively does the judiciary protect civil liberties in the UK? The UK judiciary has several methods at its disposal that provide an effective protection of civil liberties in the UK. However, in practice there are several shortcomings that make these protections weak in the face of Parliamentary pressure, which will be demonstrated in this essay. In terms of rights protections, perhaps the most important development in the protection of rights in the UK has been the installation of the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law via the Human Rights Act 1998. This act effectively has provided a concrete document that outlines the rights of citizens.
The judicial practice of statutory interpretation incorporates the constitutional position with an understanding of how certain ‘rules of interpretation’ can be rationally connected. The judicial practice of statutory interpretation has three pre-requisites or basic norms: The Parliament has unlimited law making authority; judges have to give effect to the intention of the Parliament; the interpretation should start with the presumption that one should apply the ordinary, ‘literal’, meaning of the words Parliament has used and it is only if the literal approach fails,
Sample multiple-choice questions for the English Legal System module for LLB open learning 1. Which of the statements below most accurately reflects the constitutional position between the legislature and the judiciary: a) Parliament encourages the judiciary to make law through the process of statutory interpretation because it does not have enough parliamentary time to enact laws itself. b) Parliament is the supreme lawmaking body and the role of the judiciary is to interpret and apply law made by Parliament. c) The judiciary considers itself a primary lawmaking body equal to Parliament. d) It is the role of the judiciary, when interpreting statutes, to fill in the gaps in the statutes.
Judicial Creativity Under the theory of separation of power, Parliament makes UK law while the role of judges is to apply the law to the cases. However, in reality, do judges make/develop the law? Like Lord Radcliffe said in 1968 “there was never a more sterile controversy than upon the question whether a judge makes law. Of course, he does. How can he help it?” Judges in the UK do develop the law through both the operation of the doctrine of judicial precedent and statutory interpretation.
This concept entails an understanding of what the “problem of language” is and how the judges use the various methods at their disposal to eliminate the confusion surrounding the wording of a statute and to grasp what the Parliament had intended with the passing of a particular Act. The concept is of great antiquity and is a practice carried out by the judges whereby they use legal reasoning and arguments along with the aid of a variety of approaches to interpret the act in question. Three different approaches to interpretation are employed by the judiciary in deciphering a statute: Literal rule, Golden rule and Mischief rule. The literal rule as the name suggests asserts that the judges should only give the wording of the act their plain and ordinary meaning and should not indulge in going beyond the actual meaning of the word in interpreting the act. The rule is readily applied to any and all statutes that come into force as it is considered by the parliament to promote certainty.
This occurs when the language in the statute is ambiguous and the judge has to use the rules of interpretation (i.e. literal, golden, mischief and purposive) to determine the intent of the parliament when it enacted the particular legislation. The human rights act 1998(HRA) as well, has increased the law-making ability of the judiciary. The interpretative provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998 have had a major impact on judicial interpretative practices. Under Section 3 of the HRA1998 the courts are required to interpret primary and subordinate legislation in a way which is compatible with the convention rights, 'so far as it is possible to do so'.
Common law, which has developed over many years becoming accepted due to court judgements. The laws and customs of Parliament re also a source of the constitution. Works of authority are also referred to as authoritative sources such as books by Dicey or Bagehot. Finally, European Union Law also impacts the UK constitution as the judgements of the European court of Justice, in general EU law has precedence over that passed by Parliament. A codified constitution is too inflexible and cannot adapt to the changing political circumstance, such as society changing.
They are then implemented by the executive and enforced by the courts. Statute Law is the most important source of the principles and rules making up the British constitution because parliament is the sovereign body. An example of Statute law include: The Parliament Act (1911), which established the House of Commons as the dominant chamber of parliament. More recent example is The Human Rights Act (1998), which enshrined key rights in UK law. Secondly there is Common Law, Common law includes legal principles that have been developed and applied by UK courts.
Question 2 Although the doctrine of precedent allows some flexibility, it fundamentally requires judges to respect the hierarchy of the courts . Discuss The doctrine of binding precedent or stare decisis, lies at the heart of the English legal system. In essence the doctrine refers to facts that within the hierarchical structure of the English Court, a decision of the highest court will be binding on a court lower. When a court makes a decision in a case, any court which is of equal or lower status to that court must follow that previous decision if the case before them is similar to that earlier case. Moreover, the doctrine requires that like cases should be treated alike in the interests of consistency and certainty of the law as well as a fairly rigid hierarchy of courts.