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The Sovereignty of Parliament – History and Philosophy - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Sovereignty of Parliament: History and Philosophy

Jeffrey Goldsworthy


The doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty has long been regarded as the most fundamental element of the British Constitution. It holds that Parliament has unlimited legislative authority, and that the courts have no authority to judge statutes invalid. This doctrine has now been criticized on historical and philosophical grounds, and critics claim that it is a relatively recent invention of academic lawyers that superseded an earlier tradition in which Parliament's authority was limited to common law. The critics also argue that it is based on a misunderstanding of the relationship between sta ... More

Keywords: British Constitution, legislative authority, Parliament's authority, common law, statutory law, legislative sovereignty, historical origins, political thinkers, judges, doctrine

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2001 Print ISBN-13: 9780199248087
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199248087.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Jeffrey Goldsworthy, author
Professor of Law at Monash University, Australia