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Cover Complete Public Law

8. Parliamentary Supremacy and Membership of the European Union  

Titles in the Complete series combine extracts from a wide range of primary materials with clear explanatory text to provide readers with a complete introductory resource. This chapter provides an overview of the relationship between the European Union (EU) and the UK and the impact of this relationship on Parliament’s legislative supremacy. It begins by considering the nature of the EU and the sources of EU law. It then examines how EU membership affected the UK legal order during the UK’s membership and its implications for parliamentary supremacy. It considers the impact of Brexit and the UK–EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement on the UK’s constitutional framework.

Chapter

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6. The UK Parliament  

This chapter focuses on three principal issues concerning the UK Parliament. First, it addresses the democratic credentials of Parliament. Second, it considers Parliament’s legislative role. Third, it examines Parliament’s powers. The chapter shows that, at least in constitutional theory, Parliament is ‘sovereign’, meaning that its authority to legislate is legally unlimited, and considers why this is, whether it is acceptable, and whether the notion of parliamentary sovereignty remains accurate today.

Chapter

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10. Devolution and Parliamentary Supremacy  

Titles in the Complete series combine extracts from a wide range of primary materials with clear explanatory text to provide readers with a complete introductory resource. Devolution can be defined as the conferral of powers by a central governing institution on a regional or national governing body, without the central institution having to concede legislative supremacy. Such devolved powers can be administrative, executive, or legislative in nature. The process of devolving such powers to three of the UK’s four nations—England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland—was initiated by the passing of the Devolution Acts of 1998. This chapter begins by tracing the history of devolution and then discusses the ways that power can be devolved and the roles and powers of the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly, and the Northern Ireland Assembly. It addresses the question of whether there should there be an English Parliament and, finally, examines the effects of devolution on parliamentary supremacy, as well as the effects the UK’s exit from the EU has had on the devolution settlement.

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9. Parliamentary Supremacy and Human Rights  

Titles in the Complete series combine extracts from a wide range of primary materials with clear explanatory text to provide readers with a complete introductory resource. This chapter examines the legislative supremacy of the UK Parliament and its impact on human rights protection (and vice versa), discussing the history of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in a UK context and the ECHR’s legal standing. It considers the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA 1998) and its operation in the UK. The chapter addresses how the ECHR and the HRA 1998 affect parliamentary supremacy and how the human rights context differs from the former EU context as regards parliamentary supremacy. Finally, it analyses whether parliamentary supremacy provides adequate protection of human rights.

Chapter

Cover Concentrate Questions and Answers Public Law

6. Parliamentary sovereignty  

The Q&A series offers the best preparation for tackling exam questions. Each chapter includes typical questions, diagram problem and essay answer plans, suggested answers, notes of caution, tips on obtaining extra marks, the key debates on each topic, and suggestions on further reading. This chapter considers questions relating to parliamentary sovereignty. There is a traditional doctrine of parliamentary supremacy, but it has had to be adapted to accommodate membership of the European Union. The questions deal with issues such as the meaning and implications of ‘parliamentary supremacy’; the impact of the UK’s EU membership on the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty; the effect of EU legislation, such as directives, in English Law; how the European Union works; and how Brexit will affect parliamentary supremacy.

Chapter

Cover English Legal System Concentrate

1. Introduction to the English Legal System  

Each Concentrate revision guide is packed with essential information, key cases, revision tips, exam Q&As, and more. This introductory chapter provides an overview of the English legal system (ELS). The study of ELS involves the study of the legal system of both England and Wales; Scotland and Northern Ireland are subject to a separate, yet connected legal system. These four countries are subjected to the laws of the UK; however, each individual constituent has devolved powers allowing them to legislate in particular areas. Where a conflict between laws of the UK and laws of the constituent country arises, the UK law takes precedence. The effect of devolution from the UK to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland does not affect this parliamentary supremacy. Indeed, it has been argued for some time that devolution of power has not gone far enough in allowing Scotland or Northern Ireland to govern themselves.

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Cover EU Law in the UK

6. The relationship between EU and national law  

This chapter focuses on the relationship between EU law and national law. It first explores the jurisprudence on what is known as the doctrine of supremacy of EU law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). When a national court observes that a national law clashes with an EU law, they must set aside that national law. The EU legal order would not work without a doctrine like supremacy: not only would domestic courts not be compelled to apply EU law instead of conflicting national law, but it is likely that different domestic courts would take different decisions as to whether to apply EU law over national law in a given scenario. The chapter then considers how supremacy has been received in Germany and the UK, looking at how the German and UK legal orders interact with EU law. It then addresses whether ‘parliamentary sovereignty’ is compatible with EU membership, and examines the impact of Brexit on the supremacy of EU law.

Chapter

Cover The Changing Constitution

3. Human Rights and the UK Constitution  

Colm O’Cinneide

UK law relating to civil liberties and human rights has undergone radical transformation over the last few decades, in part because of the influence exerted by the European Convention on Human Rights (‘the ECHR’) on British law. The Human Rights Act 1998 (‘the HRA’), which incorporates the civil and political rights protected by the ECHR into national law, now plays a key role in the UK’s constitutional system. It complements legislative mechanisms for protecting individual rights—such as the Equality Act 2010 —and imposes significant constraints on the exercise of public power. However, the current state of UK human rights law is controversial. The HRA is regularly subject to political attack, while leading politicians bemoan the influence exerted by the ECHR over UK law: yet no consensus exists as to how human rights should best be protected within the framework of the British constitution. It remains to be seen whether Brexit will change the dynamics of this debate.

Chapter

Cover Public Law Directions

6. Parliamentary sovereignty  

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.