Dicey’s not having any “legal limits [placed] on

Dicey’s view of Parliamentary sovereignty is that Parliament holds “supreme legal authority in the UK”, enabling “it to make, amend or repeal any law”; also implying that Parliament can influence our constitution, at its fundamental level. Despite parliamentary sovereignty, having been regarded as not having any “legal limits placed on its power…unlimited legislative competence”, Dicey’s view of Parliament’s power, has been criticised as outdated. At the time of writing his thesis,130 years ago, he wrote the “sovereignty of Parliament is from a legal point of view the dominant characteristic of our political institution”. Academics such as Mark Elliot stated that you could not mistake parliamentary sovereignty as having been “caught and killed” in regards to how the “UK constitution had changed significantly”. I reason that instead of Dicey’s view being outdated, the question should instead be whether parliamentary sovereignty still holds absolute power, despite the UK having been transformed…’.  Historically, cases such as The Septennial Act show us how Dicey would argue that absolute power resides within Parliament. The Act enabled the “duration of Parliament to be extended from three to seven years”, which authorised the ruling government in the “House of Commons… to be prolonged for four years beyond the time the House was elected”. From this, it can be argued, that Dicey’s thesis about absolute power residing with Parliament, is suitable as Parliament is seen to be able to enact what they wish.  One complication is that the act precedes 200 years; since then, as previously mentioned, Parliament has evolved over the past centuries. Nowadays an attempt to have parliamentary session extended, would likely include the involvement of the judiciary, as well as taking into account the reaction of the populace. The current political system has undergone reforms as well as introduced mechanisms, which either did not exist or have recently been developed in the past century. These enable the scrutiny of Parliament alongside limiting their power; resulting in Parliament, no longer being able to supersede other political institutions, but instead must now work in cooperation, rather than merely enact its own will.  Another development that has occurred is the exertion of the people’s will, which has led to subsequent reforms, which among other things, called for solidification of ‘checks and balances’, which exists due to the separation of powers. The doctrine has several objectives; one being “the prevention of tyranny”, as well as “preserving the liberty of the individual against inappropriate governmental interference”.   The 2009 MP scandal also furthered a series of crackdowns, not only on Parliament’s actions but also for the justification of actions taken. Members of Parliament are called into question during general elections, where the public can remove an MP’s seat if they believe they have not fulfilled their role appropriately, during their term. However general elections have often been criticised as being unable to attain the objective of scrutinising members of Parliament and subsequently are unable to curtail Parliament’s power. Concerning Dicey’s stand point on Parliament’s power, it can also be seen that a majority of mechanisms in place, are instead used to target government actions. While the government is drawn from Parliament, Parliament becomes their scrutiniser, and if need be then interrogate their actions. Select committees; for example, the Brexit committee chaired by (Lady Brenn) summoned David Davis the Brexit secretary, “to explain why MPs had not received more information for … forecasts of the economic impact of Brexit on British industries” who upon further questioning revealed no such report was finalised. Implementation of acts such as the Freedom of information act (FOIA) has been seen to further transparency of Parliament’s actions. In Evans, the case, “created a discussion over; the rule of law, separation of powers and parliamentary sovereignty… regarding whether judicial review is enough to strike down a government Ministers decision …. with powers granted by Parliament”.Focusing on parliamentary sovereignty, Lord Reed stated that “The principle of legality means… Parliament cannot itself override fundamental rights or the rule of law … also that it cannot confer on another body…the power to do so”. From this we have to consider the rule of law’s influence upon parliamentary sovereignty; alongside the separation of powers doctrine – all three, important aspects of the constitution, are intertwined when discussing power exercised. The separation of powers doctrine, prevents the government using powers of veto, averting a tyranny occurring over the court’s decision.  Which is shown in Evans’ to have succeeded; the letter of Prince Charles being released into the hands of the journalist. Dicey’s version of parliamentary sovereignty can be called into question, as the power conferred to the government, by Parliament, was overruled by the courts.   Despite the courts being able to secure the letter’s release, the underlying fact is that the power, used by government, originated from Parliament, revealing that power is still vested within Parliament solidifying Dicey’s idea that absolute power resides there. The contradiction is that there now exists the likelihood of power exercised by Parliament being overruled by institutions such as the courts, especially in regards to when an individual’s freedom is infringed, or when the rule of law is disregarded. To a degree, you can argue that the courts do inhibit parliament’s power, but the power wielded by Parliament can be regarded as a tool. This tool is to be used as fit, as long as it does not infringe upon the “fundamental rights of individuals of or the rule of law”. As such I would argue that Diceyan views on Parliament’s power can be consented too, but the power itself abides by rules previously laid down before the institution of Parliament had existed.    Despite the Acts intention, in a similar matter to where mechanisms were introduced to regulate Parliament, the several regulations and criteria attached to the FOIA act meant that in most cases Parliament, as well as other political institutions could divulge from giving information. Again, supporting the argument that parliamentary sovereignty is not inhibited by legislation and acts.      In regards to whether parliamentary sovereignty still means, that “no person or body is recognised…as having a right to override…”,must be scrutinised, due to the recent increase of other political institutions powers, one example would be the judiciary. During 2005, a series of reforms under the Constitutional Reform Act (2005) aided the solidification of the judiciary’s independence. As a result, this could be argued to be a reduction of parliamentary sovereignty as well as subsequently resulting in Parliament having a stronger adversary to keep their powers in check. Referring to the separation of powers aim to limit and prevent “the abuse of power”, especially in regards to human rights. For instance, the Anti Terrorism act passed enabled the holding of suspected terrorists for 90 days. The act was struck down by the courts as it was declared as having an impact on an individual’s freedom, in this case, parliament allowed for the courts to uphold the European Court of Human Rights, by enacting the European Communities Act (1972), to aid the creation of legislation, but this does not impact Parliament’s power, merely instead bringing it into line with the rest of the world.   Contrary to Evans, the judiciary has also enabled Parliament to exercise their absolute power; In the case of Miller, upon the disagreement over the triggering over the article 50, the question put forward was whether it could be done with prerogative powers alone. The court ruled against the notion, stating that Parliament must give certification for the action to proceed; Lord Oliver stated “As a matter of the constitutional law… the Royal Prerogative… does not extend to altering the law or conferring rights upon individuals or depriving individuals of rights which they enjoy in domestic law without the intervention of Parliament”. In reflection, it can be argued that Miller expands on Dicey’s argument that, “no person or body recognised … as having a right to override or set legislation of Parliament” also supplying the fact that the wishes of Parliament cannot be circumvented by the executive. Taking everything into account; Dicey’s view has been described as outdated, when referring to the power of Parliament, especially when concerning other political institutions as well as various reforms means that the relationship between the judiciary, Parliament and the executive has changed and become more entwined. One prevents the others from gaining too much power. Regardless Dicey’s view, is still not fundamentally wrong; despite the various influences on Parliament; such as the judiciary, the European Union, as well as the people. Alongside evolution which has progressed since the 19th century, the underlying principle is that power still originates from Parliament and can be dispersed to other institutions. However, even the modernisation and reforms have not changed where power is sourced.