Judicial Control of Parliamentary Procedure: Theoretical Framework Analyses

Zsolt Szabó


Parliamentary procedures are undoubtedly at the heart of (national) parliamentary sovereignty. However, in the last two decades, courts, including supranational ones (e.g. ECtHR), are increasingly getting involved in assessing the application of parliamentary rules and procedures. This increasing judicial activism highlights the importance of finding the equilibrium between the right to an effective judicial remedy, which inevitably should encompass parliamentary decisions, and the principles of separation of powers and parliamentary autonomy. This paper analyses a possible theoretical framework of (judicial) remedies against parliamentary procedural decisions, distinguishing between types of procedural rules, applicants, fora, extents of judicial activism and types of judicial review. It concludes that the different types of remedies are highly dependent on the political landscape and the government structure. It is yet advisable that a permanent, extra-parliamentary forum, a kind of “House-Rules-Court” should be established in countries, where the House Speaker does not enjoy full respect and neutrality.


Constitutional Court; Judicial Remedy; Parliamentary Procedure; Parliamentary Sovereignty; Procedural Review

Full Text:



Aleman, Eduardo and Geroge Tsebelis. “Introduction.” In Legislative Institutions and Lawmaking in Latin America, edited by Eduardo Alemán and George Tsebelis. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), 5.

Bar-Siman-Tov, Ittai. “In Wake of Controversial Enactment Process of Trump’s Tax Bill, Israeli SC Offers a Novel Approach to Regulating Omnibus Legislation.” I.CON NECT blog, 13 December 2017, http://www.iconnectblog.com/2017/12/ in-wake-of-controversial-enactment-process-of-trumps-tax-bill-israeli-sc- offers-a-novel-approach-to-regulating-omnibus-legislation.

Bar-Siman-Tov, Ittai. “The Role of Courts in Improving the Legislative Process.” The Theory and Practice of Legislation 3, no. 3 (September 2015): 295–313. DOI:10.1080/20508840.2015.1133169.

Bar-Siman-Tov, Ittai. “Semiprocedural Judicial Review.” Legisprudence 6, no. 3 (December 2012): 271. DOI:10.5235/17521467.6.3.271.

Bar-Siman-Tov, Ittai. “The Puzzling Resistance to Judicial Review of the Legislative Process.” Boston Law Review 91 (May 2011): 1915. https://papers.ssrn.com/ sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1843564.

Epping, Volker and Christian Hillgruber. Kommentar zum Grundgesetz [Commentary to the German Fundamental Law]. München: Beck, 2009.

Erdős, Csaba. Hungarian Parliamentary Law under the Control of the Strasbourg Court In Legal studies on the contemporary Hungarian Legal System. Győr: Széchenyi István University, 2014, 27-38.

Gardbaum, Stephen. “Due Process of Lawmaking Revisited.” Journal of Constitutional Law 21, no. 1 (October 2018), https://scholarship.law.upenn. edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1670&context=jcl.

Gardbaum, Stephen. “Pushing the Boundaries: Judicial Review of Legislative Procedures in South Africa.” Constitutional Court Review 9, no.1 (December 2019), https://doi.org/10.2989/CCR.2019.0001.

Goet, Niels D., Thomas G. Fleming and Radoslaw Zubek. “Procedural Change in the UK House of Commons 1811–2015.” Legislative Studies Quaterly 45, no. 1 (February 2020), https://doi.org/10.1111/lsq.12249.

Goet, Niels D., Thomas G. Fleming and Radoslaw Zubek. “Procedural Change in the UK House of Commons, 1811–2015.” Legislative Studies Quaterly 45, no. 1 ( February 2020).

Haug, Volker. Bindungsprobleme und Rechtsnatur parlamentarischer Geschaftsordnungen [Binding Problems and the Legal Nature of Parliamentary Rules of Procedure]. Berlin: Duncker und Humblot, 1994.

Jain, D.C. "Judicial Review of Parliamentary Privileges: Functional Relationship of Courts and Legislatures in India.” Journal of the Indian Law Institute, 9 no. 2 (1967): 205–222., http://www.jstor.org/stable/43949934.

Lazarus, Liora and Natasha Simonsen. “Judicial Review and Parliamentary Debate: Enriching the Doctrine of Due Deference.” In Parliament and Human Rights: Redressing the Democratic Deficit, edited by Murray Hunt, Hayley Hooper and Paul Yowell. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014, 385.

Lenaerts, Koen. “The European Court of Justice and Process Oriented Review.” Research Papers in Law, College of Bruges, 2012. https://www.coleurope.eu/ sites/default/files/research-paper/researchpaper_1_2012_lenaerts_final_0.pdf.

Lenaerts, Koen. “The European Court of Justice and Process-Oriented Review.” (Research Papers in Law 1, Bruges, College of Bruges, 2012) https://www. coleurope.eu/sites/default/files/research-paper/researchpaper_1_2012_ lenaerts_final_0.pdf.

May, Thomas Erskine. Erskine May’s Treatise on The Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament. New York City: LexisNexis, 2019. erskinemay. parliament.uk.

Nussberger, Angelika. “Procedural Review by the ECtHR: View from the Court.” In Procedural Review in Fundamental Rights Cases, edited by Gerards, Janneke and Brems, Eva, 161-176. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.

“Parliamentary Privilege.” Presented to Parliament by the Leader of the House of Commons and Lord Privy Seal by Command of Her Majesty, 2012. www. gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/79390/ consultation.pdf.

Roznai, Yaniv. “Constitutional Paternalism: The Israeli Supreme Court as Guardian of the Knesset.” IACL-AIDC Blog May 17, 2019 https://blog-iacl-aidc.org/2019- posts/2019/5/17/constitutional-paternalism-the-israeli-supreme-court-as- guardian-of-the-knesset.

Saul, Matthew. “The European Court of Human Rights’ Margin of Appreciation and the Processes of National Parliaments.” Human Rights Law Review 15, no. 4 (December 2015): 745–774, https://doi.org/10.1093/hrlr/ngv027.

Szabó, Zsolt. “How to Resist Political Pressure against a Constitutional Court?” JTIBlog, published 4 November 2022, jog.tk.hu/blog, https://jog.tk.hu/ blog/2022/11/how-to-resist-political-pressure-against-a-cc#_ftn3.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.31078/consrev911

Article Metrics

Abstract view : 308 times
PDF view : 179 times


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2023 Constitutional Review