Governing the UK - Parliament (2)

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Parliamentary Sovereignty

Unit 2 Topic 1

  • The most important principle in the British Constitution.

Sovereignty: absolute power or authority.

Parliamentary authority: Parl't is the supreme legal authority in the UK.

Comparison within the USA

  • UK has an uncodified constitution.
  • USA has a codified constitution.
  • The USA constitution is entrenched (difficult to change).
  • This means the USA has 'higher law'.
  • They have rights that cannot be removed by the legislature.
  • The supreme court can rule legislation to be unconstitutional. They can strike it down.

USA continued

  • 2nd amendment; right to bear arms.
  • The judiciary interpret both common and higher (constitutional) law, including cases to do with the 2nd Amendment. They can strike down any proposed laws or amendments.

UK Parliament

  • "Parliament has the right to make or unmake any law whatever; and further, that no person or body is recognised by the law of England as having a right to override or set aside the legislation of Parliament."

Three features of parliamentary sovereignty:

  • Parliament can make law in any area.
  • No Parliament can bind its successor (a Parliament cannot pass a law that cannot be changed or reversed by a future Parliament).
  • No body except Parliament can change or reverse a law passed by Parliament.

Functions of Parliament

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