The protection of rights and a written Constitution
in Writing the United Kingdom Constitution
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This chapter explains the way in which rights have traditionally been protected by law in the UK. It highlights the role of judges in making such laws but points out that unlike their counter-parts in the USA judges in the UK have not given themselves the power to declare Acts of Parliament to be invalid. The two central pillars of the UK’s Constitution are set out – the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty and the principle of the rule of law – and a hypothetical scenario is presented to speculate on whether the latter could trump the former on a future occasion. While no court has yet held an Act of Parliament to be invalid it is possible that in future a court will issue a declaration of inva-lidity with suspensory effect or that a court will declare new common law that operates only prospectively and not at all retrospectively. The usefulness of creating a category of con-stitutional rights is raised and attention is the given to why there needs to be a new Bill of Rights for the UK to better guarantee a wider set of rights than are at present protected.


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