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Constitution of the United Kingdom

The constitution of the United Kingdom is the system of rules that shapes the political
governance of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The UK 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, free the church from the state, and enshrined the rights of "common"
people to use the land.[2] 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 its fundamental unit of right in "Person" and 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 1801, but the Republic of Ireland formally separated
between 1916 and 1921. 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).[3] The principles of Parliamentary sovereignty, the rule of law, democracy, and
internationalism guide the UK's modern political system to advance the social and economic
development of its people.

The central institutions of modern constitutional 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 a democratic vote,
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
UK Supreme Court, and underneath are the Court of Appeal for England and Wales, the Court of
Session for Scotland, the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland, and 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.

Salient features of uk constitution