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Legal skills and debates in Scotland
Legal skills and debates in Scotland

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3.2.3  Questioning parliamentary sovereignty

On the face of it Parliament (whether the Scottish or UK Parliament) is elected and therefore representative of the people. In this sense it is also legitimate and supreme in the law-making arena. Certainly, the judiciary is there to uphold and apply the law, but no more than that. It is not elected, not representative and in these senses not legitimate. However, it might be argued that Parliament for a number of reasons is not representative and the judiciary is democratically legitimised by virtue of its constitutional role. The rule of law is a central principle of the UK’s democratic constitution. Judicial independence is an important aspect of the rule of law because it ensures that the law is applied equally to every citizen that no one is beyond its reach. The task of applying the law is carried out by the judiciary and for this it needs to be free from outside influence. The rule of law implies higher legal principles that govern the legislation created by Parliament and these are monitored and enforced by an independent judiciary.