(Original post by Aear)
Good point, it must have been the Law Lords then, but I assume it's the same if not similar to the Supreme Court. So then when the Supreme Court rules against a law for whatever reason, Parliament could in theory ignore them totally and do what they want? Over such a ruling, however, they tend to willingly but grudgingly repeal the law in question? If so, then how does the relationship work with the executive? Could the case over notifying the triggering of Article 50 (was it through the Supreme Court, I don't remember?) have been ignored or was it compulsory on the government because they are the executive while the legislature, Parliament, has the unlimited sovereignty? If it in the reverse was ruled that Parliament could not trigger Article 50 and instead the PM must do it, could Parliament have ignored the ruling and passed the bill of notification anyway?
My question about the HRA was its relation to the Supreme Court/Law Lords? It seems to me that if a law contradicts the HRA then that law is considered invalid by the Supreme Court/Law Lords, which I don't understand. It just confuses me substantially with what it can do and its power. I thought that in the event of a contradiction between one law and a newer law, the newer law supersedes the contradictions of the older one and becomes the new law, so surely any law passed after 1998 that contradicts the HRA supersedes the HRA?
A lot of questions and I am just a humble student but I will try answer to the best of my abilities.
Parliament can in theory ignore the Supreme Court, it has no authority legally speaking, the Supreme Court does not have the power of judicial review (unlike in the United States) but it would probably lead to unpopularity among the populous if Parliament ignored the Supreme Court.
In terms of EU law supremacy and the executive, it's important to understand the formulation of EU law the executive are represented by the Council of the EU and the European Council and they sign treaties and laws as the European Parliament do that are fully binding to every EU member state (of course this will not be the case after Brexit). So in fact it means the executive would have signed 2 contradicting laws (The contradiction in Factortame was the Common Fisheries Policy) and in such case EU law is supreme. We signed the Treaty of Rome we signed in effect the Common Fisheries Policy so we binded it into EU law and subsequently into UK law too. It's important to note in terms of EU law, it's not all proposed (and hardly ever is) by a shady European Commission (after-all the Commission works on directives given by the member states) that nobody knows but with the consent of Parliament and successive British Governments (and other EU governments). If there is a contradiction EU law always follows suit for obvious reasons (violation of common-rules in the common market creates unfiar advantages for the UK) so it must take precedent.
The case around triggering Article 50 [of the Lisbon Treaty] was brought to the Supreme Court by Gina Miller who in effect argued that the Prime Minister was violating the constitution effectively an ultra-vires case. Arguing that the Prime Minister must give the parliament permission for Theresa May to trigger Article 50, after-all the whole focus of the British political system is parliamentary sovereignty. The case was nothing to do with the EU, but to do with the Prime Minister exceeding her own power (it's important to note Prime Ministerial power is a shady subject as we have no codified constitution that sets out the Prime Minister's power like the President's power in the U.S.) but the general consensus tends to be that the Prime Minister as he/she is an MP, they are "primus inter pares" (if I spelled that right) or "first among equals". But parliament in effect could have ignored it (which begs the question as to how powerful the Prime Minister is if there is no truly independent judiciary). As for parliamentary sovereignty it is THE most important part of our political process, as I mentioned earlier that the PM is "first among equals" the government is always the party with the most seats in parliament
and if that parliamentary majority is small (or if there is no majority) and cannot pass legislation parliament ultimately has the decision to call another election in a motion of no confidence (although arguably limited by the fixed term parliament act, but obviously parliament could repeal that with a simple majority in parliament)
As for the HRA you are 100% right, as you may tell i'm a politics student, not a law student but in my studies of the judiciary I can tell you (as you probably already know) that the HRA seems to be deemed higher than other laws, this is because in effect it is the only single modern "Bill of Rights" so it tends to take precedent. But as said, parliamentary sovereignty can always repeal the HRA and other laws would apply instead in terms of what judges wish to apply. As I said though, not a law student so I'm unaware of contradictions of laws after the HRA. But it's one of the arguments that the Supreme Court are just "politicians in robes".