Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 32 (1):179-195 (2012)

Jeffrey Goldsworthy's book, Parliamentary Sovereignty: Contemporary Debates, offers a modern defence of the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty. But it fails to offer a sufficiently clear interpretation of the statement that Parliament can do anything except limit its powers, a statement open to many different interpretations. In 1972, during the passage of the European Communities Bill, law officers declared that it was logically impossible for Parliament to abridge its sovereignty. In consequence of the European Communities Act 1972, the doctrine has undergone a subtle alteration of meaning. The European Union Act 2011 also poses problems for Goldsworthy's position since it imposes a referendum requirement on any significant future transfer of power to the European Union. Such legislation cannot be understood in terms of the manner and form interpretation of the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty; and the question of whether the courts can disapply legislation infringing human rights remains open. Questions of the sort, ‘Can Parliament do x?’, are better replaced by questions of the sort ‘What are the rules which regulate Parliament?’. Goldsworthy's work constitutes a brave attempt to rescue the essentially metaphysical doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty. Nevertheless, the doctrine seems to obscure rather than clarify constitutional issues
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DOI 10.1093/ojls/gqr027
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Strained Interpretations.Adam Perry - 2019 - Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 39 (2):316-343.

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