Limitations on Doctrine of Parliamentary Supremacy

Limitations on Doctrine of Parliamentary Supremacy

Although the doctrine of parliamentary supremacy is a fundamental principle of the UK's constitutional system, there are limitations on its exercise. Some of the main limitations on the doctrine of parliamentary supremacy include:

International law and treaties: International law and treaties may limit the exercise of parliamentary supremacy. The UK is bound by international law and treaties that it has ratified, which may limit the scope of legislation that Parliament can pass.

Devolution: The devolution of powers to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland has created limitations on the exercise of parliamentary supremacy. The devolved institutions have the power to make laws in certain areas, which means that Parliament's supremacy is limited in those areas.

Human rights: The Human Rights Act 1998 incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law. This means that Parliament's power to make laws is limited by the requirement to respect human rights.

Constitutional conventions: Constitutional conventions are unwritten rules that govern the exercise of power. While these conventions do not have the force of law, they are an important part of the UK's constitutional system. For example, the convention of ministerial responsibility means that ministers are accountable to Parliament for their actions.

Judicial review: Judicial review is the power of the courts to review the lawfulness of decisions made by public bodies, including Parliament. The courts can strike down legislation that is unlawful or unconstitutional, which means that Parliament's supremacy is limited by the requirement to act within the law.

Referendums: Referendums provide a direct democratic mandate for certain decisions, and the result of a referendum may limit the scope of legislation that Parliament can pass.

In conclusion, although the doctrine of parliamentary supremacy is a fundamental principle of the UK's constitutional system, it is subject to a number of limitations. International law, devolution, human rights, constitutional conventions, judicial review, and referendums all place limitations on the exercise of parliamentary supremacy. These limitations are important for ensuring that the exercise of power is subject to scrutiny and review, and that the rule of law is upheld.
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