Introduction to Law Coursework

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The task of the constitution is to make, spread, and regulate state power. It is the duty of the constitution to work informing the structure of the state, the higher institutions of the state, the governing principles and their connections with each other and with the citizens of the state. From the whole definition of the constitution, Britain is different because it has a different form of the constitution as they have an unwritten constitution. They do not have a single law book that depicts the fundamental laws stating the way a state works. 

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Sovereignty is a term where it considers rights to be the priority and this denotes the nation only and is not stated for only an individual. The nation possesses the indefeasible right to destroy any form of government that does not work properly and develop a type of government that will match with the interests, development, and happiness. The functioning body of the United Kingdom’s constitution is based on a central concept regarding parliamentary sovereignty. There has been a constant subordination in the parliament of the monarchy which has led to a rise in the parliamentary government’s democratic methods. There has been a dilemma of the fact that whether parliament has the prime ability to legislate or not. Also known as parliamentary supremacy, the idea of parliamentary sovereignty comprises various concurrent principles and this builds it to be a difficult concept to attach in its boundary. With this understanding, it has been seen that with the passing year’s sovereignty is seemingly getting merged with the constitutional concept. This is primarily because parliamentary sovereignty can no longer provide constitutional rights to the nation and with the passing of years, it is failing to guarantee even. Parliamentary sovereignty is no longer seen as the backbone of the constitution and is regarded as a different identity. International law has made several restrictions on parliamentary sovereignty to act on the nation’s rights.

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Sources of UK Constitution

The government of the United Kingdom has always maintained a position in the cornerstone of the constitution. It has been noted that the first parliament belonged to Simon de Montfort in 1265, consequently by the middle of the thirteenth century, the rise of monarchical rule occurred. During the seventeenth century, the king and the parliament got involved in conflicts which led to the prime incidents in the unfolding of Parliamentary sovereignty.  Over the years the constitution of the United Kingdom has evolved and developed. Unlike other countries like Germany, Russia, and more there have been no revolutions or attacks of the enemy. There have been no invasions in the UK ever and hence there has been no wiping away of the arrangements of the constitution and have made them start again. The uncodified constitution of Britain does not exist in a single document to denote the framework of the government. There are two types of sources of law that are divided into primary sources and secondary sources. There are various types of primary sources of the UK constitution that comprises of a mixture of Statute Law (Acts of Parliament), Common law (extracted from precedents and customs), Conventions (long-established procedures), Works of Authority (textbooks by constitutional scholars including Bagehot and Dicey, currently European Union law.) The European countries and the United States of America contain codified constitutions that have a higher status than the ordinary law. The secondary sources of law contain the textbooks and commentaries written and made by the legal writers, the legal experts who give opinions and ideas, and the decisions that are made by the courts or any other senior authority of any other jurisdiction and it can be of foreign jurisdiction also. All of the sources are treated as persuasive and the court takes that into account when a decision is made but however, the court does not have any mandatory rules for applying the sources


With the inclusion of these sources, it is defined that the constitution of Britain is flexible. They have no special sort of legal procedure for amending the constitution. This means that the Parliament is capable of changing the composition of the House of Lords bypassing the 1999 Act, in this case, the Judiciary has no authority to challenge the power. This denotes the way the UK constitution works in governing the society that is adjustable. The sources of the constitution that comprises of the statute law like the representation of the People Act, 1969, the common law includes the legal precedents and judicial decisions, the conventions are the collective responsibility of the Cabinet, the EU  law consists of the European Communities Act, 1972, the Royal Prerogative includes the power to declare war and here the Prime Minister has the maximum power, the major works of the authority and constitutional documents that includes the law of the constitution (1885) and Magna Carta (1215).

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The Statute law is passed by an Act of Parliament and is a written law. It is a type of law that in the courts is enforceable. It is not necessary that all statutes will have an embodied principle that will deliberately affect the constitution. The rest of them are applicable as they affect the way in which it is governed and the sort of relationship that is maintained in the state. It contains the Representation of the People Acts of 1918, 1928, and 1969. The beginning of female suffrage in Great Britain arises with the 1918 Representation of the People Act. In the House of Commons, the bill was passed by a huge majority of heads (385 for the issue and 55 against the issue). The total number of supporters for this act surprised the Suffragettes and the rest half of the suffragist movements. The coming of the 1918 Representation of the People Act gave the authority to the women above the age of 30 the right to vote. However, not all women were allowed to vote but primarily it was a great start. The implementation of this act, it allowed women to vote and be equal to men. After a wait of ten years, equality was completely made. In 1928, the Equal Franchise Act was enacted whereby the maximum number of women became eligible to cast a vote. With the enactment of the Equal Franchise Act, the age of voting was lowered to the age of 18. The EU laws and treaties EU have become a major source of the British constitution. If there is an occurrence of a conflict between the EU law and UK law, then the EU law is considered. The EU law is extremely crucial for economic and social legislation. When there is already a set of circumstances given, a convention is then practised to regularly observe the scene. Hence, the constitutional conventions are made of a set of rules that are made over time with constant practice and is situational based. In this case, the government exercises its powers that are related to the need of the situation. These conventions are not always legally binding. There are widely recognised sources of guidance included in the major works of authority and for this reason, it is termed as authoritative. Although not completely but partially it contains sort of a written account and is seen as the way the operation of the constitution proceeds. This includes Erskine May (1844), Walter Bagehot (1867), A.V. Dicey (1885).

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Defining the English Legal System & Administration of UK

Great Britain and Northern Ireland belonging to the United Kingdom comprises four countries that include England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. These are the main jurisdictions of the United Kingdom. The jurisdiction contains its own laws, the framework of the court system, lawyers and judges. Even Though, in a single jurisdiction law is applied that is extracted from the legislation comprising the Acts of Parliament and Statutory Instruments that can have an equal application or might have a replica of the applied in other jurisdictions. In other courts where each jurisdiction is able to decide the cases in a different manner based on what other jurisdictions have already planned on the case. However, whatever decisions are made the final decision is sent to the Supreme Court of the United States of America. It has been significantly noted that the process of devolution has derived focus in the different variations between the laws of Wales and those that are mentioned in England and also the various regions that are situated in England. In various regions of the jurisdiction of England and Wales, the Acts of Parliament can result in the effect in a different way, also even in different times, there are various effects. These include plenty of similarities with other jurisdictions in the legal system of England and Wales

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The laws are made so that the enacted rules can govern the behaviour of the citizens and the non-citizens existing within society. The scientific laws that are discerned from the notice of the whole universe and are immutable, rather the legal laws are made and enacted by the people of the society and in future can result in a change due to the interference of the people of the society. This thing is however authentic as this is related to the law that is based on religion, philosophy, and politics. In this sense there exist two types of sources of law one being primary and the other being secondary. The English legal system is considered as the common law that refers to England and Wales. This consists mainly of criminal and civil law. Each of the branches in the criminal and civil law section has its separate courts as well as procedures. The basic source of the foundation of the prime source of the English legal system has been historically made earlier. Out of the lot the highly authoritative law is considered to be the statutory legislation that consists of Acts of Parliament, regulation, and by-laws. If there is an absence of the basics of the law that is based on the statutory level then the common law that is related to it has its focus compelled of principle gets accumulated to the unwanted source of law. All of this is based on the judicial decisions that also comprise the customs made decisions and also its usage that is related to it. 

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In Britain, it is considered that they follow constitutional monarchism. Within the state, the laws of the constitution and the administration are established and regulated. The primary internal level of governance also encompasses supranational legal orders just similar to the European Union. The laws enacted by the constitution and the administration are generally concerned with the link between internal as well as external legal faculty. In the multiple layers of government and also located beyond the states there exists an interaction among them all. The section of the law is one of the fastest and wittiest sections of the law. This portion generally deals with areas that have tremendous controversy regarding the political aspects. There also arise fundamental laws that engage the relationship between law as well as the politics related to it. Through this, the legitimate foundations and scope of legal and political ownership are created

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English Court System in the UK

The court structure of the United Kingdom is extremely complicated and in some of the parts it is also confusing and that is sole because it hasn’t been designed from the scratch but has rather been evaluated from the basics for a huge span of time of nearly 1000 years. In a specific type of court, there are different types of cases. For example: in the magistrate court all sorts of criminal cases are being discussed but the cases that are extremely serious will be sent to the crown court. The appeals that come from the crown court will be shifted to the high court and further, it may also reach the court of appeal or the Supreme Court also. The magistrates sometimes deal with the civil cases but if the case is serious then it might as well go to the county court. In the different divisions of the high court and court of appeal, it is noted to reach. The system of the tribunals has made a separate structure to deal with the cases and appeals, but the upper tribunal and the employment appeals tribunal might pass different chambers of the decisions that have been made. The structure of the court covers England and Wales. The tribunals’ system that is available in the court system covers England, Wales, and if there exist some specific reasons then Northern Ireland and Scotland might also include in that. Depending on the cases are shifted into various courts systems and accordingly, they follow the structure of the court and accordingly the judge’s deal with the cases that come up to the different sectors of the court. There exist five levels of the court system for England and Wales as well. This comprises the Supreme Court (previously was in the authority of the House of Lords) and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Court of Appeal, High Court, Crown Court and County Courts, Magistrates’ Courts and the Tribunal Service. Based on this, the court system that is of a similar kind is based in Northern Ireland and there exists a different system of the court existing in Scotland. 

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Parliament Sovereignty 

In the constitution of the United Kingdom, parliamentary sovereignty is considered to be a major principle. With the inclusion of this, the Parliament is able to be a crucial legal authority in Britain that functions in the making or in abolishing of any law. The courts however are not permitted to overrule its legislation and even the Parliament is not allowed to enact any sort of laws that cannot be changed by the parliaments in the future. In the constitution of the United Kingdom parliamentary sovereignty is an extremely crucial part. The constitution of the United Kingdom is referred to as implied. However, this is not completely correct as it might not have a single text as compared to the USA or Germany. The enormous parts of the law have been noted and written and in the parliament, these laws have been passed that is stated as the statute law. Based on this reason the constitution of the United Kingdom is generally trimmed as being half-written and completely uncodified. 

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With the passing of years, the parliamentary laws that have been passed have occasionally made a line of application for parliamentary sovereignty. Due to these parliamentary laws, the developments in the political aspect including in the UK as well as outside the UK has been impacted. The parliamentary laws comprises of distribution of authority to major bodies like the parliament of the Scotts and Senedd Cymru, the Human Rights Act 1998, the laws were devoid for the entry of the United Kingdom to the union of the Europeans’ in 1973 and made a partial exit in 2020, and in 2009 the establishment of the Supreme Court in the United Kingdom was decided that have resulted to an end of the functions of the House of Lords acting as the United Kingdom’s final court of appeal. All of these developments that were included do not directly affect fundamentally the principle of parliamentary sovereignty. By implementing these changes the parliament has the authority to apply these laws and form the structure accordingly

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More than 900 years have passed and the Palace of Westminster is standing as the central depository power. By the rule of the sovereign, there has been notable development of parliamentary sovereignty. The parliament has also asserted its authority on the monarchy with the technique of a modern democratic legislature.  Based on the subordination of the monarchy under the parliament along with the growing democratic methods of the government that is based in the parliament. In this aspect, the dilemma of the parliament holding a strong position to function and whether it should process or not is a big issue. Parliamentary sovereignty is entirely based on the aspects the parliament of the United Kingdom showcases perfect and immense power. It is regarded whether there are any types of supreme ability through which the parliament of the United Kingdom will have the ultimate authority. It also checks if there is any sort of law that it is unable to pass. Compared to other constitutions of other countries where there is a written constitution available that actively binds the parliament together and both functions together to check actively the fundamental laws of the society. As the United Kingdom does not have a codified constitution of its own hence it acts in a certain way that is different from the other countries. The parliament in the United Kingdom is considered to be the central relationship to the institutions of the state. 

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Based on the traditional view the parliament generally possesses the power to create a law that is related to inbounding the successors it has. The current condition of the United Kingdom is that it is not connected to the international Treaty of Union that is related between England and Scotland from 1706 or by 1707 that has resulted in the forming of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. The terms that the Treaty holds cannot be altered in certain of its provisions. For example, there exists a separate entity of the Scottish legal system and officially the restrictions that are possessed are merging as a limitation prevailing on the sovereignty of the parliament of the United Kingdom. Interchangeably the terms of parliamentary sovereignty and parliamentary supremacy are used. The sovereignty is considered as a whole related to the evaluation of the nation. The aspect of parliament and sovereignty is however cannot be combined in all cases. 

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Potential Restriction on Parliamentary Sovereignty Relating to the International Treaties 

The legal system of the United Kingdom is stated to be the fundamental rule of parliamentary sovereignty. On the contrary parliamentary sovereignty can enforce any sort of a lawyer whenever they feel so and also the courts will not even question the reason behind it, an Act of parliament will not be enquired and neither the rule that has been enacted will be considered to be invalid. In the whole function, the thing which is questionable is the traditional model of parliamentary sovereignty. However, the courts do not interfere in the enactment of the laws by parliamentary sovereignty but it might breach into the matter occasionally. For example: in the Acts of parliament that was focused known as ouster or preclusive or clauses, the courts have had a major authority in it, that has been seen to be limiting as well as excluding the jurisdiction of the courts based a specified matter that in a particular sense do not even bear a relatable consequence. This has already been the case in terms of the Anisminic v Foreign Compensation Commission. Similarly, when the case of the factor time occurred, the Appellate Committee that belonged to the House of Lords agreed for an injunction to save the sections of the Merchant Shipping Act 1988 from the time it was enacted

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The supporters of the traditional view of parliamentary sovereignty generally take into account the cases that affect the consequences where the courts do not participate the way they are supposed to do in the Act of Parliament. Based on the rules of the Act of Parliament the court does not function which leads to an abrupt consequence of the cases. Instead, the courts are running contrary to the Act of Parliament and are gradually teaming with the things that the Parliament might have thought of processing.

Factortame shows that there exist a lot of limits in the level of the legislative competence of parliament that refers to the duty the court upholds. These types of arguments are usually teamed up by the narratives from some of the judges to the point that parliamentary sovereignty is not perfect. 


To conclude the essay has been studied the way the British constitution works and the sources that it has to make the function continuous. The importance of the English legal system and details of the administration of the court system in the UK has been discussed. The parliamentary sovereignty and the type of international treaty that is present and acts as a potential limitation have been discussed. The different types and sources of law that helps in the structure formation and conduct of the sovereignty have been included in the essay that comprises statute law, house of commons, house of lords, monarchy, and more. There has been a detailed discussion included of the type of parliamentary framework of the countries of the United Kingdom. 

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