Parliament Sovereignty

The doctrine of parliament sovereignty of the United Kingdom has been regarded as the most fundamental element of the British constitution. It can be summarised in three points; parliament has the power to make any law they wish, and no parliament can create a law that a future parliament cannot change and only parliament can change or reverse a law passed by parliament. It gives unconditional power to the Westminster Parliament. A.V. Dicey describes it as ‘the dominant characteristic of our political institutions', ‘the very keystone of the law of constitution'.
Consequently, it is said that the courts have no authority to judge statutes invalid, and that there are no fundamental constitutional laws that parliament cannot change, other than the doctrine of parliament sovereignty itself.
Therefore, the only instance when courts are willing to question the legitimacy of statutes is when there is a question as to them not being passed using the correct procedure; which is passing through both Houses and receiving the Royal Assent. This is known as the 'Enrolled Bill' rule. This is demonstrated in the case of Edinburgh & Dalkeith Railway Co. v Wauchope (1842) 8 Cl & F 710, where Lord Campbell quoted – “ all that a court of justice can do is to look at the Parliamentary roll “.
These views were again supported in the cases of Ex Parte Canon Selwyn (1872) J.P. 54 and Pickin v British Railways Board [1974] AC 763. Both the Parliament Act 1911 and 1949 and The Regency Act 1937 and 1953 changed the Enrolled Bill Rule.
A statement by Megarry V-C, suggests that even if parliament had not done all it should to pass an act, the courts will still not get involved, and it would not be investigated as long as necessary assents have been given: ‘the duty of the court is to obey and apply every Act of Parliament, and the court cannot hold any such Act to be ultra vires.'
Sir John Laws has argued that true sovereignty belongs not to parliament, but to the unwritten...