Parliamentary Sovereignty


Sovereignty is one of the most controversial ideas in political science and international law. Put simply, it is the right and power of a governing body over itself, without any outside interference from other bodies.

In the UK, the Houses of Parliament have sovereignty. Parliamentary sovereignty makes Parliament the supreme legal authority in the UK, which can create or end any law. It also means that the courts cannot overrule or force the discontinuation of any legislation and no Parliament can bind a future parliament- it cannot make laws that cannot be changed or ended by a future Parliament. However Parliament is not autocratic in its use of this power, it does make decisions that can limit its sovereignty such as:

·         The devolution of power to bodies like the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly.

·         The Human Rights Act 1998.

·         The UK's entry to the European Union in 1973.

·         The decision to establish a UK Supreme Court in 2009, which ends the House of Lords function as the UK's final court of appeal

However, Parliament still retains the power to take back the sovereignty it gave up by making the decisions to reverse their earlier decisions. For example, they can repeal the Human Rights Act 1998 or leave the EU, as they are doing now.

Parliamentary Sovereignty is one of  the most important parts of the UK’s constitution, as it forms an important part of the way the government creates laws and makes political decisions