Introduction Sovereignty of British Parliament
Sovereignty of the British Parliament is an important feature of the British Constitutional system. The struggle between the King and the Parliament was finally decided by the Glorious Revolution of 1688, which was further reinforced by the Act of Settlement (1701). The British Parliament became a sovereign body. In its legal sense the Parliament consists of the House of Commons, House of Lords and the Monarch. Sovereignty of the Parliament means its legal supremacy. There is neither any other authority above it nor any authority beyond its control.
Detailed Survey of the Sovereignty of the British Parliament
Sovereignty of Parliament has two aspects positive and negative
Looked at from the positive angle, it means that there is no law, which the Parliament cannot make, It is competent to pass amend and repeal both ordinary and constitutional law. It is both a legislative body and constituent assembly. Parliament gained sovereign powers after a long struggle for supremacy with the kings at various stages of British history. The Parliament controls the Ministry. The latter remains in office as long as it retains the confidence of Parliament. So Parliament is sovereign. The Parliament can also make laws regulating private and public rights. It controls army, executive and judiciary. It can make laws annulling a decision of a law court. It can establish an absolute monarchy or a communist society by an ordinary law. The laws passed by it; ordinary or constitutional do not require any ratification. Its word is law and a final law. The Parliament can extend its own life can legislate for abdication of a monarch or restoration of a king. It can adjudge a minor of full age, naturalize an alien or legitimize a bastard. When the Parliament legislates, the whole nation legislates. It personifies the British people.
The Parliament has not only passed constitutional laws for Britain but for so many other countries of the Common Wealth. Lastly, it may be noted that the unlimited authority of Parliament regarding law making resides in parliament alone end not in any executive organ. Executive in England does not enjoy authority to issue decrees having the force of lave unless the power is conferred upon the executive by Parliament itself.
Sovereignty of Parliament means that there is no authority in the country, which can question the legality of the laws, passed by the Parliament. There is no, system of judicial review. The courts of England have no right to question the authority of the Parliament though they can interpret the law passed by it. The judges do not and cannot declare any Parliamentary legislation invalid.
Dicey, sums up the unlimited authority of the Parliament as follows:
- Firstly, there is no law touching the UK, which the Parliament cannot make.
- Secondly, there is no law already in force, which the Parliament cannot amend or repeal,
- Thirdly, there is no constitutional law, which the Parliament cannot make, amend or repeal.
- Fourthly, there is no judicial authority in the UK, which can set aside laws passed by the Parliament.