The Historical Origins of EU Law Primacy, Its Interaction with UK Parliamentary Sovereignty and Brexit Consequences on Other EU Member States

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Table of Contents: I. Introduction. – II. Orthodox views of parliamentary sovereignty. – II.1. Diceyan orthodoxy observed in Miller. – II.2. Diceyan orthodoxy observed in Cherry/Miller (No 2). – II.3. Hueston’s manner and form observed in the use of referendums. – II.4. Popular sovereignty through referendums. – II.5. Parliamentary sovereignty as it stands. – III. Existing views of EU law primacy. – III.1. Heterarchical model of EU law primacy. – III.2. UK’s perspective on EU law primacy while in the EU. – III.3. Germany’s perspective on EU law primacy as a Member State. – III.4. CJEU’s perspective on EU law primacy. – III.5. Primacy as it now stands. – IV. Has parliamentary sovereignty been affected by Brexit? – IV.1. Remodelling conflict as a separation of power. – IV.2. Did Brexit really lead to a truly sovereign parliament? – V. Concluding remarks.

Abstract: Brexit was designed to restore legislative supremacy, or what is known as parliamentary sovereignty, to the United Kingdom. This Article seeks to analyse if this had been done satisfactorily by analysing the interaction of the two major doctrines of (i UK parliamentary sovereignty, and (ii EU law primacy from the point at which the UK became a part of the EU to the point at which the UK exited from the EU. The Article will first consider the doctrine of UK parliamentary sovereignty from the perspective of the UK and provide an analysis of the current position where the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty stands. This Article will then consider the doctrine of EU law primacy and provide a historical analysis of the doctrine, including prevailing views of the primacy doctrine from the lens of Germany, UK and the CJEU. Finally, the Article will then attempt to discuss whether Brexit has actually done much to affect the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty by discussing the UK’s international obligations.

Keywords: Brexit – EU law – parliamentary sovereignty – primacy– United Kingdom – constitutional law.

European Papers, Vol. 7, 2022, No 3, pp. 1447-1470
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/626

* Lecturer of Law, Singapore University of Social Sciences,


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