Advertisement
Legal Dictionary

sovereign

Legal Definition of sovereign

Noun

  1. A technical word for the monarch (king or queen) of a particular country as in "the Sovereign of England is Queen Elizabeth."

Adjective

  1. The other meaning of the word is to describe the supreme legislative powers of a state: that they are totally independent and free from any outside political control or authority over their decisions. The people of Quebec for example, has, at times, supported governments which have proposed that Quebec become a "sovereign" state; that all legislative authority of the government of Canada over their territory cease and that the government of Quebec be enabled to regulate in any matter at all; and that the government of Quebec represent itself internationally.

Definition of sovereign

Etymology

    From Old French soverain

Pronunciation

Adjective

sovereign (comparative more sovereign, superlative most sovereign)

  1. Exercising power of rule.

    sovereign nation

  2. Exceptional in quality.

    sovereign remedy

  3. Having supreme, ultimate power.

Synonyms

  • autonomous
  • supreme

Noun

sovereign (plural sovereigns)

  1. A monarch; the ruler of a country.
  2. One who is not a subject to a ruler or nation.
  3. A gold coin minted by the United Kingdom.
  4. A very large champagne bottle with the capacity of about 25 liters, equivalent to 33⅓ standard bottles.

Synonyms

Derived terms

  • sovereignty

See also

  • half sovereign/half-sovereign

Further reading

Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided. The concept has been discussed, debated and questioned throughout history, from the time of the Romans through to the present day, although it has changed in its definition, concept, and application throughout, especially during the Age of Enlightenment. The current notion of state sovereignty were laid down in the Treaty of Westphalia (1648), which, in relation to states, codified the basic principles of territorial integrity, border inviolability, and supremacy of the state (rather than the Church). A sovereign is a supreme lawmaking authority.

Relation to rule of law

Another topic is whether the law is held to be sovereign, that is, whether it is above political or other interference. Sovereign law constitutes a true state of law, meaning the letter of the law (if constitutionally correct) is applicable and enforceable, even when against the political will of the nation, as long as not formally changed following the constitutional procedure. Strictly speaking, any deviation from this principle constitutes a revolution or a coup d'état, regardless of the intentions.

References:

  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.



SHARE THIS PAGE


TOP LEGAL TERMS THIS WEEK
1.     adjudication order
2.     Miranda warning
3.     AORO
4.     stare decisis
5.     appellant
6.     vicarious liability
7.     lex patriae
8.     common law
9.     respondeat superior
10.     murder