Courts in the UK can strike down — in other words, quash or set aside — some types of legislation. They can, for instance, strike down legislation enacted by devolved bodies such as the Scottish Parliament if the Scottish Parliament, in making a law, has gone beyond its legal powers. Similarly, courts can strike down ‘secondary’ or ‘delegated’ legislation. This is legislation made by Government Ministers under powers given to them by Parliament. If Ministers go beyond the powers they have been given to make laws, courts can strike down such laws. But courts in the UK cannot strike down Acts of the UK Parliament. This is because Pariament is sovereign. Some judges have occasionally suggested that if Parliament were to make an extreme law, a court might refuse to enforce it, but this has never happened in practice. Instead, when faced with an Act of Parliament that seems to conflict with an important constitutional principle or right, courts generally try to interpret the legislation in a way that is sympathetic to the principle or right in question.

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