Parliamentary supremacy the enrolled bill rule
Produced in partnership with Carl Gardner of Head of Legal
Parliamentary supremacy the enrolled bill rule

The following Public Law guidance note Produced in partnership with Carl Gardner of Head of Legal provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Parliamentary supremacy the enrolled bill rule
  • Early origins of the principle
  • Bill of Rights
  • The Wauchope case
  • The Pickin case
  • R (Jackson) v Attorney General—the Hunting Act case

It is not possible to successfully argue that an Act of Parliament is invalid because of flaws, or even fraud, in the legislative process.

Early origins of the principle

Arguably the principle is derived from that laid down in The Prince's Case. The case involved a challenge to the grant of the Duchy of Cornwall by charter made by authority of Parliament. Coke CJ decided that it was an Act of Parliament, having been assented to by King, Lords and Commons, and therefore had the full force and authority of an Act of Parliament.

'If an Act of Parliament be penned by assent of the King, and of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and of the Commons, or, it is enacted by authority of Parliament, it is a good Act;…there are a good many statutes which are indicted quod dominus Rex statuit: yet if they be entered in the Parliament roll, and always allowed for Acts of Parliament, it shall be intended that it was by authority of Parliament…'

Bill of Rights

In its modern form, however, the principle flows from article 9 of the Bill of Rights 1688 (BR 1688), which says:

'debates or proceedings in Parlyament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parlyament.'

The Wauchope case

In Edinburgh and Dalkeith