Carwyn Jones: Is Dicey dicey?

UK Constitutional Law Association

For nearly a hundred and fifty years, parliamentary sovereignty or supremacy (the terms are used interchangeably) has been taken as immutable and unchanging by the UK Parliament and the courts. As devolution has developed, the concept deserves greater examination to see whether the concept is as sound as it has been supposed. 

There is nothing in statute law that defines parliamentary sovereignty. Indeed, before the late Victorian era it had never been expressly advocated in any context. The only mention of anything close to a declaration of sovereignty can be found in the words of the Earl of Shaftesbury who said, in 1689:

The Parliament of England is the supreme and absolute power, which gives life and motion to the English Government 

(Bradley in Jowell et al (eds.) (The Changing Constitution, 6th Edition Oxford University Press) 

There could of course be much debate about what this phraseactuallymeans. So soon…

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