A Dynamic View of Canadian Parliamentary Sovereignty

This paper proposes a re-examination of the essential features of Parliamentary sovereignty in the Canadian context and of its development since Confederation, especially with the adoption of the Constitution Act 1982. The paper then aims at connecting the law of Parliamentary sovereignty and its historical evolution with underlying constitutional theory. While there may be no consensus on which theory best explains Parliamentary sovereignty, the most prevalent Anglo-Canadian legal theories can properly account for changes to it, including limitations from unwritten constitutional principles. Moreover, these theories display the common feature that the courts have a central role in determining the legal content and scope of Parliamentary sovereignty. If Parliamentary sovereignty was once consistent with an orthodox Diceyan account, it is submitted that it has the ability to adapt to relevant socio-political changes even if the adaptation requires the courts to depart from orthodoxy.

This content has been updated on 18 July 2017 at 18 h 12 min.