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The United Kingdom constitutional law concerns the governance of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. With the oldest continuous political system on Earth, the British constitution is not contained in a single code but principles have emerged over the centuries from statute, case law, political conventions and social consensus. In 1215, Magna Carta required the King to call "common counsel" or Parliament, hold courts in a fixed place, guarantee fair trials, guarantee free movement of people, and free the church from the state; it also enshrined the rights of "common" people to use the land. After the English Civil War and the Glorious Revolution 1688, Parliament won supremacy over the monarch, as well as the church and the courts, and the Bill of Rights 1689 recorded t

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  • The United Kingdom constitutional law concerns the governance of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. With the oldest continuous political system on Earth, the British constitution is not contained in a single code but principles have emerged over the centuries from statute, case law, political conventions and social consensus. In 1215, Magna Carta required the King to call "common counsel" or Parliament, hold courts in a fixed place, guarantee fair trials, guarantee free movement of people, and free the church from the state; it also enshrined the rights of "common" people to use the land. After the English Civil War and the Glorious Revolution 1688, Parliament won supremacy over the monarch, as well as the church and the courts, and the Bill of Rights 1689 recorded that the "election of members of Parliament ought to be free". The Act of Union 1707 unified England, Wales and Scotland, while Ireland was joined in 1800, but the Republic of Ireland formally separated between 1916 and 1921 through bitter armed conflict. By the Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act 1928, almost every adult man and woman was finally entitled to vote for Parliament. The UK was a founding member of the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations, the Commonwealth, the Council of Europe, the European Union, and the World Trade Organization (WTO). The principles of parliamentary sovereignty, the rule of law, democracy and internationalism guide the UK's modern political system. The central institutions of modern government are Parliament, the judiciary, the executive, the civil service and public bodies which implement policies, and regional and local governments. Parliament is composed of the House of Commons, elected by voter constituencies, and the House of Lords which is mostly appointed on the recommendation of cross-political party groups. To make a new Act of Parliament, the highest form of law, both Houses must read, amend, or approve proposed legislation three times. The judiciary is headed by a twelve-member Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. Underneath are the Court of Appeal for England and Wales, the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland, and the Court of Session for Scotland. Below these lie a system of high courts, Crown courts, or tribunals depending on the subject in the case. Courts interpret statutes, progress the common law and principles of equity, and can control the discretion of the executive. UK courts are usually thought to have no power to declare an Act of Parliament unconstitutional. The executive is headed by the Prime Minister, who must command a majority in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister appoints a cabinet of people who lead each department, and form Her Majesty's Government. The Queen herself is a ceremonial figurehead, who gives royal assent to new laws. By constitutional convention, the monarch does not usurp the democratic process and has not refused royal assent since the Scottish Militia Bill in 1708. Beyond the Parliament and cabinet, a civil service and a large number of public bodies, from the Department of Education to the National Health Service, deliver public services that implement the law and fulfil political, economic and social rights. In practice, most constitutional litigation occurs through administrative law disputes, concerning the operation of public bodies, and human rights. The courts have an inherent power of judicial review, to ensure that every institution under law acts according to law. Except for Parliament itself, courts may declare acts of any institution or public figure void, to ensure that discretion is only used reasonably or proportionately. Since it joined the European Convention on Human Rights in 1950, and particularly after the Human Rights Act 1998, courts are required to review whether legislation is compatible with international human rights norms. These protect everyone's rights against government or corporate power, including liberty against arbitrary arrest and detention, the right to privacy against unlawful surveillance, the right to freedom of expression, freedom of association including joining trade unions and taking strike action, and the freedom of assembly and protest. Every public body and private bodies that affect people's rights and freedoms are accountable under the law. (en)
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  • #c6dbf7 (en)
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  • While eight in England remain unrepresented, in the twelve regions of the UK, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and London have their own Parliaments or Assemblies. Each have varying powers, for instance, over transport, the environment, housing, and some limited parts of labour rights, and tax. (en)
dbp:date
  • September 2020 (en)
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  • right (en)
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  • Greater (en)
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  • 'The great end, for which men entered into society, was to secure their property. That right is preserved sacred and incommunicable in all instances, where it has not been taken away or abridged by some public law... wherein every man by common consent gives up that right, for the sake of justice and the general good. By the laws of England, every invasion of private property, be it ever so minute, is a trespass. No man can set his foot upon my ground without my licence, but he is liable to an action, though the damage be nothing... If no excuse can be found or produced, the silence of the books is an authority against the defendant, and the plaintiff must have judgment.' (en)
dbp:reason
  • Update needed in light of Brexit referendum result and subsequent withdrawal of UK from the EU. (en)
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  • right (en)
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  • Entick v Carrington [1765] EWHC KB J98, Lord Camden CJ (en)
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  • 30 (xsd:integer)
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  • The United Kingdom constitutional law concerns the governance of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. With the oldest continuous political system on Earth, the British constitution is not contained in a single code but principles have emerged over the centuries from statute, case law, political conventions and social consensus. In 1215, Magna Carta required the King to call "common counsel" or Parliament, hold courts in a fixed place, guarantee fair trials, guarantee free movement of people, and free the church from the state; it also enshrined the rights of "common" people to use the land. After the English Civil War and the Glorious Revolution 1688, Parliament won supremacy over the monarch, as well as the church and the courts, and the Bill of Rights 1689 recorded t (en)
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  • United Kingdom constitutional law (en)
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