Doctrine of Parliamentary Supremacy

The doctrine of parliamentary supremacy, also known as parliamentary sovereignty, is a fundamental principle of the UK constitutional system. It asserts that Parliament is the supreme law-making authority and has the power to make or unmake any law, without limitation. This means that no other body, including the courts or the executive, has the power to overrule or set aside a law made by Parliament.

The doctrine of parliamentary supremacy is based on the idea that sovereignty resides in Parliament and not in the monarch, the courts, or any other body. This principle was first articulated by the 17th-century political philosopher John Locke, who argued that the people transfer their sovereignty to Parliament through the act of representation. Once transferred, Parliament becomes the supreme law-making authority, accountable only to the people who elected it.

The doctrine of parliamentary supremacy has several implications for the UK constitutional system. First, it means that Parliament has the power to make or unmake any law, without limitation. This gives Parliament considerable power to shape the legal and political landscape of the country.

Second, parliamentary supremacy means that the courts are not able to strike down laws made by Parliament. While the courts have the power to interpret the law and determine its meaning, they cannot overrule or set aside a law made by Parliament.

Third, parliamentary supremacy means that the executive branch of government is accountable to Parliament for its actions. The executive is responsible for implementing the laws made by Parliament, and it is answerable to Parliament for its decisions and actions.

However, while parliamentary supremacy is a central feature of the UK's constitutional system, it is not absolute, and there are limitations on its exercise. For example, before Brexit the UK's membership of the European Union imposed significant limitations on parliamentary supremacy, as EU law took precedence over national law in certain areas. Similarly, the Human Rights Act 1998 incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law, limiting Parliament's power to make laws that are incompatible with human rights.

In conclusion, the doctrine of parliamentary supremacy is a fundamental principle of the UK's constitutional system, asserting that Parliament is the supreme law-making authority. While there are limitations on the exercise of parliamentary supremacy, the principle remains an important feature of the UK's political and legal landscape.
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