⇒ ‘The Six Books of the Commonwealth’ (1576) by Jean Bodin was written during religious turmoil in Europe and was the first person to devise separation of sovereignty and the sovereign
⇒ Thomas Hobbes (‘Leviathan’ (1651)) said that sovereign power results from a social contract between individuals i.e. the sovereign has power because the people agree to it
⇒ John Locke (Two Treatises of Government (1689)) said that sovereign power results from a social contract between individuals and the sovereign – the sovereign is a party to the social contract so can be held accountable i.e. the people agree with the sovereign power to rule over them to live in a more harmonious society
⇒ Nick Barber (2011) defined parliamentary sovereignty as follows: “Whatever the Queen-in-parliament enacts as a statute is law”
⇒ A V Dicey’s definition (1885): “The principle of parliamentary sovereignty means neither more nor less than this: namely, that Parliament thus defined has, under the English constitution, the right to make or unmake any law whatever; and, further, that no person or body recognised by the law of England as having a right to override or set aside legislation of Parliament”
⇒ It could be argued that it came from The English Revolution (1688 and the events leading to the Bill of Rights 1689)
⇒ From the common law?
⇒ AV Dicey and other constitutional theorists?
⇒ All three?
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⇒ Whilst parliamentary sovereignty is often referred to as the essential (or most important) aspect of the British constitution, it has an ambiguous legal status.
⇒ We can point to legal sources supporting its existence, but we can also point to other legal sources demonstrating its qualified/limited status.
⇒ 1) No institution has the power to question the validity of a statute
⇒ 2) If there is a conflict between an older and a newer statute, the newer statute will prevail
⇒ 3) The parliament may not impose substantive limits on itself
⇒ In Pickin v British Railways Board  it was said that the court cannot interfere with the sovereignty of parliament
⇒ A legal challenge was lodged against the validity of the Hunting Act 2004, which criminalised the hunting of foxes with dogs. The claimants sought to have the Act quashed: this isn’t permitted in common law so this would be achieved through designating the Act as a piece of secondary or delegated legislation which may be quashed. The claimants argued the the Act was secondary or delegated legislation (i.e. not primary legislation—an ‘Act of Parliament’) because it had been passed using the Parliament Act 1911 as amended by the Parliament Act 1949
⇒ The Parliament Act 1911 allows for the House of Commons to force through most (but not all) types of primary legislation without the consent of the House of Lords. The power of the House of Lords would be limited to that of delay: it could delay the Bill until the third parliamentary session or year of the Bill being heard
⇒ The Parliament Act 1949 sought to reduce the power of delay by a further year: it would now be possible for the House of Commons to bypass the Lords over two parliamentary sessions (technically reducing the delay to little more than a year). However, the Lords did not consent to such a reduction in their powers - so the Parliament Act 1911 was invoked to pass the 1949 Act, i.e. without the consent of the Lords they allowed the 1949 Act to be passed to reduce their power
⇒ The claimants argued the 1949 Act was not a valid Act of Parliament, since the 1911 Act never envisaged that it would be use to amend its own terms i.e. they never thought they would use the 1911 Act to amend the 1911 Act. Consequently, they argued any Act passed after 1949 using the Parliament Act (as amended by the 1949 Act) would not be a valid Act of Parliament.
⇒ Following existing precedent (such as Pickin v British Railways Board ), the sovereignty of Parliament was ‘recognised’ by the court. The 1949 Act, as well as the Hunting Act 2004, were deemed to be valid Acts of Parliament. The court evidenced a great deal of deference towards Parliament—particularly in respect of Parliament’s ability to decide how it conducts itself and decides how an Act of Parliament may be lawfully enacted
⇒ However Lord Steyn and Lord Hope wanted to emphasise that parliament was not free to do whatever it likes: “We do not in the United Kingdom have an uncontrolled constitution” –per Lord Steyn at 
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