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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter February 8, 2017

Parliamentary Sovereignty – A Doctrine Unfit for Purpose

Alexander Orakhelashvili
From the journal ICL Journal


Parliamentary sovereignty in the British constitutional context is expressive of the utilitarian philosophy which dictates that government is there to gratify the wishes and interests of the majority to the greatest extent possible. This approach, at times cast in more moderate terms as ‘democratic legitimacy’, arguably reflects the majoritarian underpinnings of British parliamentarism. A close look on the workings of ‘parliamentary sovereignty’ reveals, however, that its discrete constitutional relevance is not great. Courts in the English legal system retain their full-fl edged law-making power, and are entitled to balance the legislation-backed public utility by common law constitutional considerations. The examination of the relevant aspects of English law shows that parliamentary sovereignty is neither sufficient nor necessary for properly articulating and giving effect to the demands of public utility.

Published Online: 2017-2-8
Published in Print: 2015-12-1

© 2017 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

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