Assess The Impact That Britain's Union With Europe Has Had On The Doctrine Of Parliamentary Sovereignty

2220 words - 9 pages

The United Kingdom became a member of the EC in 1972 when it enacted the European Communities Act (1972). This has has undermined English Domestic legislation and the Supremacy of the Doctrine of Parliamentary Sovereignty. In particular s.2(1) of the Act brings European law firmly within our domestic law and such law is to ' be enforced, allowed and followed accordingly'. s.2(4) of the Act required English Statute law ' to be construed accordingly'. This indeed contradicts our doctrine of Parliamentary sovereignty. In Bulmer v Bollinger (1974), Lord Denning talked of a new source to our law and taking a rather pragmatic approach said :'The Treaty is like an incoming tide. It flows into the estuariesand up the rivers. It cannot be held back.'Prior to this, the U.K. had complete control over the laws made . The doctrine entails that Parliament has absolute control over the law of the land and therefore its people. The doctrine also established the fact that new statutes would prevail over statutes previously enacted.According to jurist and Professor Albert Venn Dicey Parliamentary Sovereignty is:-' The very keystone of our constitution '18th Century English Jurist Sir William Blackstone said :-'What Parliament doth, no authority on earth can undo.'Parliamentary Sovereignty can be broken up into three important elements: firstly Parliament can make or unmake any law; secondly Parliament cannot bind its successors and lastly Courts cannot question an act of Parliament. Firstly in the light of the European Communities Act 1972 Parliament can still only do this if the legislation is not an EU regulation or directive and is only domestic legislation. Parliament cannot for instance repeal an Act that an EU directive had ordered the government to make as they did in the case of Commission of the EC v United Kingdom (1979) (Re Taco graphs) .Secondly the fact that Parliament cannot bind its successors is significant. This originally meant that a present, say Conservative government could not implement legislation that would come into force when a Labour government came into power. Now this refers to the EU in that the UK government cannot pass any legislation that would in future conflict with any proposed EU legislation. Lastly and perhaps most importantly according to the doctrine of Parliamentary Sovereignty, the UK courts are not competent to question an act of Parliament. Is that fact true today though ? According to recent and past cases it is not.A very important piece of EU legislation is Article 177 as this saw the abdication of the role of the House of Lords as the highest court in England and wales. Basically, this article allows a domestic court to refer to the European Court of Justice for reference if they cannot distinguish a remedy to a case that involves UK law in the light of EU law. The case of Factortame illustrates this.Regulations, Directives and Decisions are obligatory Acts of the European Union. Under Article 189(2) ' a Regulation...

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