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Friday, June 11, 2010

Presumption that Parliament observed procedures for enactment of Law

In the case cited below it was aptly observed by LORD BINGHAM OF CORNHILL that Judiciary has no authority to look into Parliamentary proceedings for the purpose of enactment and process. Courts have no powers whether explicit or implicit in this regard.
In Pickin v British Railways Board [1974] AC 765  it was decided that

"the courts in this country have no power to declare enacted law to be invalid"
(per Lord Simon of Glaisdale at p 798).

In Pickin, unlike the present case, it was sought to investigate the internal workings and procedures of Parliament to demonstrate that it had been misled and so had proceeded on a false basis. [ see Lord Reid at p 787, Lord Morris of Borth-y-Gest at p 790, Lord Wilberforce at p 796, Lord Simon of Glaisdale at p 800 and Lord Cross of Chelsea at p 802. Lord Reid quoted with approval a passage of Lord Campbell's opinion in Edinburgh and Dalkeith Railway Co v Wauchope (1842) 8 Cl & F 710, 725] This was held to be illegitimate where he said:

"All that a Court of Justice can do is to look to the Parliamentary roll: if from that it should appear that a bill has passed both Houses and received the Royal assent, no Court of Justice can inquire into the mode in which it was introduced into Parliament, nor into what was done previous to its introduction, or what passed in Parliament during its various stages through both Houses."

Here, the court looks to the parliamentary roll and sees bills (the 1949 Act, and then the 2004 Act) which have not passed both Houses. The issue concerns no question of parliamentary procedure such as would, and could only, be the subject of parliamentary inquiry, but a question whether, in Lord Simon's language, these Acts are "enacted law." 

Thus it is a strong presumption and works without any rebutt.It is based on the presumption that Parliament makes no mistakes. It may not be derived on any presumption but It is observed.

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