Discuss the Important role of sovereign, authority

Discuss the Important role of sovereign, authority


Law, as it is the command of the Sovereign, which means that law has its source in sovereign authority, law is accompanied by sanctions, and the command to be a law should compel a course of conduct. The definition of law describe that the law has a sovereign authority and there cannot be any law without the sovereign power. If there is no sovereign authority law cannot be imposed or there will be no law.

Sovereign authority:

Bodin defined sovereignty as the ‘absolute and perpetual power of a commonwealth’. Sovereignty means ultimate power. The authority, which makes decisions or laws, is called sovereign authority. The sovereignty or supremacy of parliament is the dominant characteristics of our political institution. Sovereignty as doctrine has long caused controversy amongst philosophers, lawyers and political scientists and is a concept, which assumes – as does the rule of law – differing interpretation according to the prospective being adopted.

Internal and External sovereignty:

Internal sovereignty is the relationship between a sovereign power and its own subjects. With Sovereignty meaning holding supreme, independent authority over a region or state, Internal Sovereignty refers to the internal affairs of the state and the location of supreme power within it. A state that has internal sovereignty is one with a government that has been elected by the people and has the popular legitimacy. Internal sovereignty examines the internal affairs of a state and how it operates.

External sovereignty concerns the relationship between a sovereign power and other states. External sovereignty is connected with questions of international law.

History of sovereignty:

To start with the history of the notion of sovereignty in international law, it is almost identical with the full-scale history of international law itself. The Peace of Westphalia that brought the Thirty Years’ War to an end in 1648 added a new chapter of State sovereignty to the modern history of international law. Before the Thirty Years’ War, which was partly a religious war, the European world of Christendom was largely a diarchic one of pope and emperor. But as a result of its defeat,[1] the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved into hundreds of relatively independent authorities with more or less equal sovereignty over their populations and territories, which theoretically marked the birth of the modern nation-State system. This meant the secular authorities taking over the religious power in the political world of Europe, where a common European international public law or the “droid public de l’ Europe” prevailed among the sovereign Christian European States. State sovereignty gradually grew stronger thereafter. During the 17th and 18th centuries the principle of exclusive territorial jurisdiction was developed, eliminating the medieval medley of overlapping layers of jurisdiction in favor of linear territorial delimitations, for example, with regard to territorial waters, for which a three-mile zone was seen as a minimum standard.[2]Thus State sovereignty meant a State’s independence from and legal impermeability in relation to foreign powers on the one hand and the State’s exclusive jurisdiction and supremacy over its territory and inhabitants on the other. The legitimacy of the sovereign State was considered to be no longer religious but secular, its ratio essential being self-assertion and survival. As a corollary of such a notion of sovereignty, the principle of non-intervention in domestic affairs developed in parallel with it to preserve the State’s jealousy to

Protect its sovereignty. However, the idea of Hobbes (1588-1679) and Spinoza

(1632-1677) That States were in a “state of nature” warring against each other under the circumstances of no superior authority existing above them led on to the subsequent theory of “absolute sovereignty”. History shows that this notion of absolute sovereignty was resorted to off and on during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

Sovereign authority, law and people:

As sovereignty lies with about people and the constitution declares it, which means the sovereign authority is for the people’s rights and any law cant violate human rights of the people of the country. The government is the representative of people of the country to dictate the people in a right way of constitution.

How the sovereign authority maintained:

The Sovereign, having no force other than the legislative power, acts only by means of the laws; and the laws being solely the authentic acts of the general will, the Sovereign cannot act save when the people is assembled. The person in assembly, I shall be told, is a mere chimera. It is so to day, but two thousand years ago it was not so. Has man’s nature changed?

The bounds of possibility, in moral matters, are less narrow than we imagine: it is our weaknesses, our vices and our prejudices that confine them. Base souls have no belief in great men; vile slaves smile in mockery at the name of liberty.

Let us judge of what can be done by what has been done. I shall say nothing of the Republics of ancient Greece; but the Roman Republic was, to my mind, a great State, and the town of Rome a great town. The last census showed that there were in Rome four hundred thousand citizens capable of bearing arms, and the last computation of the population of the Empire showed over four million citizens, excluding subjects, foreigners, women, children and slaves.

What difficulties might not be supposed to stand in the way of the frequent assemblage of the vast population of this capital and its neighborhood? Yet few weeks passed without the Roman people being in assembly, and even being so several times. It exercised not only the rights of Sovereignty, but also a part of those of government. It dealt with certain matters, and judged certain cases, and these whole people were found in the public meeting-place hardly less often as magistrates than as citizens.

If we went back to the earliest history of nations, we should find that most ancient governments, even those of monarchical form, such as the Macedonian and the Frankish, had similar councils. In any case, the one incontestable fact I have given is an answer to all difficulties; it is good logic to reason from the actual to the possible.

Law and arbitrary use of power:

The government is liable for imposing the law and they maintain according to the constitution of Bangladesh. Sovereignty lies with the highest authority of the state. According to Bangladesh constitution the people are the highest authority of the country as same as the U.S.A. The British authority lies in the queen of parliament. Now the people of Bangladesh votes for the government and they make any kind of change needed as per the need of people. An authority must not misuse the power for there own will. Law refrain them from using the arbitrary power, because the person of the country is the sovereign power or authority.

Why sovereignty is important for law:

Sovereignty is extremely important in the world today. The battle of sovereignty can be seen throughout Western Europe, and particularly in Great Britain with the upcoming elections, regarding the possible expansion of the European Union.

Individual nations have the right to legislate according to their own account, and it remains unlikely that supranational organization such as the EU will gain the complete and total support necessary to infringe on sovereignty.

Additionally, the current conflict in Iraq can be seen as one of the most blatant examples of one country infringing upon another’s sovereignty and right to self-determination.

A final example would the secession of Kosovo in 2007. The move was a political choice to grant sovereignty to a group of people that felt that their rights and interests were not being properly represented, in over all we can say that there cannot be any law without any sovereign authority.


Sovereignty is the fundamental rule of the common law, for it is the judges who uphold parliament’s sovereignty. For as long as the judges accept the sovereignty of parliament, sovereignty will remain the ultimate rule of the constitution. Sovereign authority is the ultimate power of the state, which regulates law. If there would not have been a sovereign authority, the laws could not be imposed. The law is sourced by the sovereign authority and it is the command of authority. Therefore, there cannot be any law without sovereign authority


1. Jean Bodin, On Sovereignty: Four Chapters from the Six Books of the

2. Dicey, 1885, p 39.

3. Heywood, Andrew. “Political theory” pg. 92.

4. A Concise History of the Law of Nations, rev. ed. (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1954), at 116.

5. Steinberger, loc. cit., note 1, at 507.

6. Hilaire,Barnett. (2006) 6th edition, Constitutional and Administrative Law.

Other references:





[1] A Concise History of the Law of Nations, rev. ed. (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1954), at 116.

[2] Steinberger, loc. cit., note 1, at 507.