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How Has The Human Rights Act Affected Parliamentary Supremacy?

1548 words - 6 pages

Parliamentary supremacy has changed over vast number of years, especially since the Human Rights Act 1998 was introduced. The role of the courts has also changed as they have been given more responsibility since the introduction of the act. This had meant the role of the courts has been heightened. The rule of law has stated that the law is supreme and that everyone is subject to it and the separation of powers makes sure that power is controlled and exercised properly. The cases representing my views will indicate that before the act was introduced, parliament had more power and were very influential. However, the cases after the act was introduced, there was an increase in the number of cases indicating the new powers of the court.The article written by Mills had proved that the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) plays an important role in making sure that the judicial process evolve as opposed to erode away. Therefore, it can be thought that the ECHR allows the courts extra power. This can be illustrated in the case of Stafford v United Kingdom (2002) ,regarding the decision made by the Home Secretary to keep murderers in prison after the Parole Board had decided they could be released. The Court of Human Rights had ruled that the Home Secretary had no power to decide whether the murderers should stay in prison. Mills had stated in his article that "the judges have denied the supremacy of Parliament in order to better achieve a particular moral objective" . This can be interpreted as the judges gaining more power so that they are able to lower the supremacy of Parliament when making decisions.The article written by Barber, had mentioned that "the exercise of this power can be shown to be effective; the judges are obeyed" showing that as the judges are given more power, they gain more respect which makes the power given to them, more valuable. Barber continues to state that "the courts and Parliament must recognise that judges have a dual authority. They have legal authority to apply, develop, and change statute within the legal sphere." This provides emphasis on judges who have been given more authority since the introduction of the Human Rights Act 1998. The article written by McAlister, states that the court s are beginning to become supreme. This is because "a form of judicial review of legislation is already expanding the constitutional work of the judiciary in our top level courts. If a statute is at odds with European Union law, the courts can point out the inconsistency and make a declaration of incompatibility. They would give their reasons and it is then for the executive and legislature to put it right if they so choose." This shows that the role of the courts is powerful in relation to the executive and the legislature.The view that parliament is supreme, can be supported by Dicey's theory that parliament has the ultimate power to make the law and it can change any law that has been enacted. Dicey also states that no person...

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