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    Firstly, is the UK High Court the same thing as the UK Supreme Court? In my Politics lesson, my teacher told me about the Single European Act allowing any fishing boats from European member countries to fish in British waters. Factortame, a Spanish fishing fleet, were prevented from fishing in Britain and when they appealed to the UK High Court they said they couldn't overturn an act of Parliament. The ECJ then told the UK High Court that they should follow European laws should they conflict with UK ones. This really confused me - firstly, I thought Parliament are sovereign so why was it up to the UK high court to decide? If it's because it's up to judges to interpret the constitution..isn't that a feature of a codified constitution, and the UK has an uncodified constitution. Also, are the ECJ more powerful than the UK High Court?
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    There isn't a UK High Court. There's a High Court for England and Wales, another for Scotland and another for Northern Ireland. There is a Supreme Court for the UK, which replaced the judicial functions of the House of Lords recently.

    Traditionally, no court could overturn a British Act of Parliament. That changed under the European Communities Act 1972. European law - in certain circumstances at least - has primacy over UK law and it is expected that the British courts will make rulings to that effect, but ultimately it can go all the way to the ECJ.

    A codified constitution is simply putting a constitution together in one or a set of documents. It's a presentational issue. The supremacy of EU law is a modern invention - arguably if the UK Parliament made it clear that it intended to violate European law then maybe the courts would uphold it. Then again, that's just a matter of theoretical debate.

    The UK courts are generally bound to follow the decisions of the ECJ.
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    (Original post by anna_disraeli)
    Firstly, is the UK High Court the same thing as the UK Supreme Court? In my Politics lesson, my teacher told me about the Single European Act allowing any fishing boats from European member countries to fish in British waters. Factortame, a Spanish fishing fleet, were prevented from fishing in Britain and when they appealed to the UK High Court they said they couldn't overturn an act of Parliament. The ECJ then told the UK High Court that they should follow European laws should they conflict with UK ones. This really confused me - firstly, I thought Parliament are sovereign so why was it up to the UK high court to decide? If it's because it's up to judges to interpret the constitution..isn't that a feature of a codified constitution, and the UK has an uncodified constitution. Also, are the ECJ more powerful than the UK High Court?
    I would agree with everything Lib said.

    In addition:

    Parliament IS supreme/sovereign. The argument for this is that if Parliament wanted to, they could repeal the ECA 1972 which would mean we don't have to give effect to European Law.

    Others argue that Parliament is NOT supreme, because how realistic/practical would it be for us to simply repeal the ECA 1972? Not very! We are in pretty deep - although in theory, it can be done.

    Remember, at the time of the Factortame case you are talking about - no one really knew the real effect that the ECA 1972 would have. The case is really important because it clarified the position of having an Act of Parliament that conflicts with EU law.

    Hope this helps!
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    You may also want to Google "Preliminary Reference Procedure under Article 234" - I think it's 234 anyway.

    This might help you understand a bit more.
 
 
 
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