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A Good Parliamentary Sovereignty Essay

Writing an essay can be both engaging as well as a difficult task. Essays can often seem difficult to write and can frequently make the person writing them feel as if they are bogged down with information and statistics that don’t help them present a case but rather hinder any chance of them getting to the end of the essay and convincing the person reading it that their argument is correct. Essays on complicated subjects can be particularly vexing and difficult to understand and one such subject is parliamentary sovereignty. The concept and meaning of parliamentary sovereignty is a vast one and some academics have spent decades chronicling it and attempting fully to understand its meaning. In the shifting world that we live, it can seem impossible to understand an institutional concept that is so shrouded in mystery and contrary opinions that you may just want to feel as if you cannot possibly hope to understand it and give up. However, don’t worry as this article will break down what parliamentary sovereignty is and help you to write the best parliamentary sovereignty essay that you can.



When writing an essay for a subject like parliamentary sovereignty it is important to find your evidence. Regardless of the question, essays such as the one you will be writing are heavily evidence based. This means that, rather than putting forward a theoretical argument and using that as the main body of your essay, an essay dealing with a matter like parliamentary sovereignty needs to have as much evidence supporting it as possible.

Without a great deal of evidence, your essay will lack any authority and will be simply expressing opinions rather than using evidence to forward an argument and answer the question. Of course, it goes without saying, that the evidence you should use should be relevant to the question and reflect an argument that answers it – you won’t get many marks if you simply include a mass of evidence that isn’t relevant to the specific question that you have been asked.

It is highly important to ensure that the evidence you use is not only varied but is also of a high quality; this doesn’t mean that you should only use quotes from Hansard, but it means that it is evidence that has some substance to it. For instance, if you answer questions related to whether parliamentary sovereignty meant that legislation passed in Parliament at one point should not be repealed later, as the sovereignty of parliament should be absolute and extend over time, you could use Thomas Paine’s argument in the Rights of Man that each parliament is only sovereign at the time of its election because otherwise we would be bound over by laws that are not relevant to the people of that day and are not accepted by them. You could then support your use of Paine by using the case of Vauxhall Estate Ltd vs Liverpool Corporation which centred on a dispute between the Housing Act of 1925 and the Land Acquisition Act of 1919. This ruling found that Parliament was unable to legally bind its successor sessions (i.e. subsequent parliaments, formed after each general election). This evidence is quality evidence because not only does it use the opinion of one of the foremost philosophers of his time but is combined with legal evidence that helps to prove the argument you are making. Rather than simply using opinion to support your argument or evidence that isn’t of a particularly convincing quality you are using evidence that will be more likely to convince the person reading your essay that it is not only convincing but also authoritative.


When finding evidence, it is particularly important that, as mentioned above, you find quality evidence which will help support your argument. The best place to get evidence that is of a high standard for essays about parliamentary sovereignty is from court cases and Acts of Parliament themselves. There are numerous cases which deal with issues relating to Parliament’s sovereignty and how limited or even whether it is limited, Parliament is. Of course, you should try to get evidence that is not simply from court cases or from Acts of Parliament.

You should try and use a mixture of evidence because you may be criticised for an overreliance on a evidence that will limit your interpretation of the question and the subject at hand. However, you must be able to asses the reliability of evidence – whilst it may seem good to use a quote from an MP during the debate for the Exiting the European Union Bill which implies that Parliament shouldn’t have the ability to exit the European Union in the manner it is, this is an opinion and should not be held in the same regards as a successful legal case or an Act of Parliament. Simply because the opinion is stated by an MP in the House of Commons does not mean it is any more reliable than your own opinion.

Similarly, it is important to be aware that you should not take all evidence as if it were holy writ. You should feel confident in criticising the outcomes of the Supreme Court cases or of the Act of Parliament that you use as evidence. You shouldn’t see your evidence as impervious to criticism – if your argument suggests that there is some flaw in the thinking behind Acts of Parliament or you disagree with a academic on the subject, don’t feel as if you have to agree with them simply because they are an academic or they have an opinion that is different to yours. This doesn’t mean that you should criticise them without cause – that would simply make your argument seem as if it doesn’t have substance or that you are simply being argumentative for the sake of it. If, however, you have a disagreement with a source and you can support with evidence from someone else, then you shouldn’t hesitate in presenting that argument and evidence.

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Once you have thoroughly thought about your evidence, it is time to consider your plan. Planning your essay is as important as writing it or finding the evidence that you need to create your argument. Your plan is important because without it you will go into your essay unprepared – you need a plan to convert your ideas and evidence into an argument, rather than attempting to present a series of somewhat linked ideas. A plan means your essay will have not only structure but consistency and when you are dealing with a subject like parliamentary sovereignty it is important to have both; when dealing with complex legal and philosophical issues it is vital to ensure that you don’t lose the reader at any point or else you will likely to not receive the marks that you would otherwise get if you essay was more consistent. Here are the main points that you should focus on when planning:

  • Focus. When planning your essay, focus is vital. Focussing on the question is important as many students fail to properly understand the question and instead answer the question that they think they are meant to answer. This results in all sorts of problems, not simply a loss of marks but also making the essay confusing and lacking in cogency. Make sure that when you are planning and writing your essay that you ensure that you are fully focussed not only on answering the question but ensuring that you use evidence that is relevant to the question so that your answer has credibility to it and you will be certain to do well.
  • Order. When writing your essay, it is important, as with any essay, to ensure that you use your strongest argument first and then follow through your essay with your sub arguments or weaker argument. This will give your argument a feeling of order and substance, that argument after argument naturally follow on from one another. This will also mean that if you are writing your essay under timed conditions that you will have more time to spend on your stronger arguments and that, if you must, you can be broader with your weaker arguments. This does not mean, of course, that you should brush over these arguments naturally. This should only be done if you are working against the clock and don’t have enough time to complete them to the highest possible standard. You must ensure that you write your essay to the highest possible standard and ensure that it is not filled with any lack of evidence or order; failing to maintain a level or order and evidence in your essay will only weaken it and make it not as strong as it otherwise would be.
  • Persuasive Writing. When writing your essay, it is important to remember that though you are using an argument you are attempting to persuade, not to lecture. You must make sure that your language is persuasive and isn’t seen as overly argumentative. You aren’t trying to force the reader into agreeing with you – you are attempting to convince them that you are right and that they should agree with you because you have provided evidence that counters other argument to the contrary and ensures that the person reading your essay wants to agree with your rather than being forced to accept that you are right. This cannot simply be achieved through the use of evidence, but you must also use persuasive writing; you must make your argument sound reasonable, make it sound as if it is the only possible solution to the question and ensure that the reader truly believes that you are right, that there isn’t a reasonable arguments against what you are stating. This will also allow your criticism of other argument or points of view to be reasonable and therefore you will be able to ensure that your essay is seen as not only authoritative because of its use of evidence but also reasoned and well argued.

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