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Public Law Directions

Public Law Directions (2nd edn)

Anne Dennett
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date: 21 April 2024

p. 1236. Parliamentary sovereigntylocked

p. 1236. Parliamentary sovereigntylocked

  • Anne DennettAnne DennettSenior Lecturer, University of Lincoln


This chapter focuses on parliamentary sovereignty. The term ‘parliamentary sovereignty’ is normally defined as the ‘legislative supremacy of Parliament’. Since the constitutional settlement brought about by the Bill of Rights 1689, the UK Parliament has had unchallenged authority to create primary law. Parliament’s legislative supremacy means, therefore, that there is no competing body with equal or greater law-making power and there are no legal limits on Parliament’s legislative competence. Parliament has broad legislative power but cannot make unchangeable statutes, and a current parliament can reverse laws made by a previous parliament. Nobody but Parliament can override Acts of Parliament. The Enrolled Bill rule requires that, if a Bill has passed through the House of Commons and House of Lords and received royal assent, the courts will not enquire into what happened before or during the legislative process.

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