The Parliament and the parliamentary sovereignity
Legislation: law passed directly or indirectly by Parliament. It’s not only the laws this is all pieces that the parliament adopt or that he delegated at other parties to adapt.
I) the Parliament:
The etymology of the word: the word is originate in the French word. (church men). . At that time, the language used by the monarch and the elite was French. It comes from the word “parler”.
The Parliament today is composed of 3 bodies:
- – , now the queen.
- – .
- – .
A) The house of Commons (HC): (peut être traduit par assembléenationale mais pas très approrié) :
It’s close to “comment”. The commons were the none nobles and the none church men.
King Eduard the 1st which who in 1275 called his first Parliament. He called not only the and but also the (chevaliers) (zone rurale) and he called also (bourgeoisie) who represented the . In the 14th century, two distinct houses of Parliament emerged.
Today the house of Commons is a democratically elected chamber of Parliament. There are 650 members of Parliament (MPs) as they are 650 constituencies (local division in England to elect a representant, a MPs). Every five years an election is organized, but very often there is an election before the expiration because of the politic games. The system is quite easy, , there is no proportionate system.
MPs aren’t only for England, there are also for Scotland, Wales and NIThis isn’t the English Parliament. .
It’s organized on the basis of political parties. There are 3 main political parties in England today which are the . Nearly all members of Parliament represent a political party.
As the cabinet is formed only of members of Parliament that means that . It’s the concept of . It came from the opposition, when there are elections
Government opposite to the shadow government in House of Common =>voir plan de la chambre des Communes.
Distinction between frontbenchers and backbenchers. The frontbenchers (who sit in the front) are members of Parliament who are members of the government. The backbenchers are Member of Parliament who aren’t part of the government.
B) The house of Lords (HL):
Unlike the members of Parliament they aren’t elected. The majority are appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister or of the House of Lords appointment commission.
Before the Lords had inherited titles (nobles and churchmen). It’s not a democratic system. It has been a long struggle to change that. But it changes in 1999 with the House Of Lords Act. This act removed the right of most hereditary peers to sit and vote in House Of Lords. . The 92 hereditary peers (paires) is a . The lords that have been expulsed maybe candidate to be elected when one of the 92 dies.
Today there are around 160 Lords. There are 2 categories of Lords:
– The : different kinds of lords temporal:
- Life peers: a peer is a member of the House of Lords. They are people appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister or the appointment commission of the House of Lords.
- Elected hereditary peers:these are the 92 remaining peers.
- Until 2009: judicial peers. They were the members of the HL who are from the judicial comity. The HL doesn’t have a judicial function anymore and
Lords temporal because there are Lords spiritual who are 26 bishops of the Church of England. This presence of church men is still controverted in England. Why only the church of England? . We mustn’t forget that there is a democratic process since 1999. There was a bill, a proposal to review the composition of the HL which was presented in 2011. It was presented that 80% of the Lords will be elected and not appoint.
There is more benches in the middle for independent lords.
They share the task with the members of Parliament of making law, of considering what public policy should be and thirdly the government is responsible before the House of Lords and the HC (holding government to account). They ask questions to the government.
II) The parliamentary sovereignty:
Parliamentary sovereignty is a principle of the UK constitution; it makes parliament the supreme legal authority in the UK. When we said that the Parliament is sovereign that means that nobody over the parliament exist in the UK.
This parliamentary sovereignty has several legal consequences:
- 1) No judicial review in England: judicial review means the possibility for courts to examine whether an act is in conformity with the constitution or not. For instance, in the USA there is a judicial review. Judges may decide that an act that is invoked before them, that this act is contrary to the US constitution and therefore they decide to not apply it. This isn’t possible in England since what the parliament does is sovereign, nobody can judge what the parliament is doing. That means that the legal system as in France doesn’t apply in the UK, the law can’t be attacked by anyone like in France.
- 2) Any earlier inconsistent legislation is automatically repealed. If the parliament decides to adopt a new act and if this act contradicts an earlier act then this new act will automatically repealed the other act.Because the current parliament has always right.
- 3) Contrary to the French Constitution, Parliament may pass any kind of law without restrictions;there is no limitation as to the issues that the Parliament can deal with. There is only one formal limitation: the parliament cannot pass a law that attempts to bind its successor either as to the content of legislation all the manner and form of enactment, he cannot forbid a future action of the parliament because the future parliament will be sovereign too.
The acts of parliament are in England the supreme form of law.
However there are some developments which affect this PS.
Over the years, parliament has passed laws that limit the application of PS. These laws reflect political developments but within onside the UK:
- – The devolution of power to bodies like the Scottish parliament and Welsh Assembly.It has given some limitations to the PS.
- – The Human Rights Act in 1998 which is the act that transposes European convention in the English legal system. This act has given some limitations to the PS.
- – The UK’s entry to the European Union in 1972. EU law has to be applied by the courts and whether a contradiction exists between EU law and UK law because the EU law prevails.
- – The decision to establish a UK Supreme Court in 2009, which ends the HL function as the UK’s final appeal, court of appeal. Parliament lost a portion of his sovereignty during this process.
These recent developments have limited the Parliament sovereignty.
Nonetheless, we should still remember that Parliament is sovereign and that Parliament could repeal any of the laws implementing these changes.
This principle is important to understand the process of legislation in England.
- English legal system and difference with the civil law
- Distinction between Common law and equity
- Distinction between Common Law and statute law (written law)
- House of Lords, House of Commons and the parliamentary sovereignity
- The legislation : Source of English law
- Statutory interpretation
- Case Law and precedent in the English Legal System
- Stare decisis or the doctrine of binding precedent
- Judge-Made Law
- What is Equity in English Common Law Tradition ?
- Equity in the english legal system
- Custome Law and Soft Law
- Treaties : Ratification and Provisional Application
- Application of european law by English courts
- How does the European court of Human Rights affect the UK?
- Foreign Law in the English Courts : conflict of laws rule
- Lower courts : Magistrate’s courts, Crown court, county court
- High Court : Chancery and Queen’s Bench Division
- Supreme court and Court of appeal
- Lord Chancellor, lord Chief Justice (authorities of the judicial system)
- The independence of the judiciary in England and Wales
- Lawyers in the english legal system : Solicitors and Barristers
- English Law – English legal system