Parliamentary sovereignty, constitutional theory and practice from a Scottish perspective

  • Emma Gray

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The classic account of parliamentary sovereignty, captured in the work of A.V Dicey, has long been regarded as the fundamental doctrine of the UK constitution. The orthodox view is that the UK Parliament has unrestricted law making power which no other body can invalidate. However, overtime the relevance of the traditional doctrine has faced challenge from within the political, legal and common law constitution.;In this context, the focus of this thesis is to assess the impact that the Scottish constitutional trajectory has had on the orthodox understanding of sovereignty in the UK. This research has been prompted by the potential profound implications of the UK's pending exit from the European Union, which has intensified the debate around the understanding of sovereignty in the UK. Against this backdrop, the political and legal implications of the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence continue to develop, therefore this research will contribute to the sovereignty debate from a Scottish perspective.;Devolution in Scotland gives institutional expression to Scottish constitutional differences: differences that have existed within the Union since 1707. Arguably, the introduction and development of the settlement has entrenched constitutional distinctions between Scotland and UK. Indeed, the territorial dimensions of the UK constitution were fully tested when the question of Scottish independence was brought on to the political agenda.;Although Scotland voted to remain within the UK, the political response to the 'No' vote initiated the devolution of further power to Scotland. Consequently, the Scotland Act 2016 has introduced changes of potential constitutional significance. All of the above will be examined in great detail throughout this research, to reveal the pressure that the Scottish constitutional trajectory has placed on the classic account of parliamentary sovereignty. It will be concluded that the challenges to the doctrine continue to intensify overtime as the UK constitution evolves.
Date of Award30 Oct 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SupervisorChristopher McCorkindale (Supervisor) & Elaine Webster (Supervisor)

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