Blackstone on Parliamentary Sovereignty

Dominic De Saulles on Law and Litigation

From the Commentaries, Volume 1 pp. 160-162.

Blackstone here sets out his expansive view of the powers of Parliament in disagreement with Locke.

III. We are next to examine the laws and customs relating to parliament, thus united together, and considered as one aggregate body.

The power and jurisdiction of parliament, says Sir Edward Coke, is so transcendent and absolute, that it cannot be confined, either for causes or persons, within any bounds. And of this high court, he adds, it may be truly said, “si antiquitatem spectes, est vetustissima; si dignitatem, est honoratissima; si jurisdictionem, est capacissima.”

It hath sovereign and uncontrollable authority in the making, confirming, enlarging, restraining, abrogating, repealing, reviving, and expounding of laws, concerning matters of all possible denominations, ecclesiastical or temporal, civil, military, maritime, or criminal: this being the place where that absolute despotic power, which must in all governments reside somewhere, is intrusted by…

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