Parliament

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Parliament

in the constitutional law of the UK, originally a body summoned to assist the monarch in discussing important matters and dispensing justice and hearing grievances. In modern times it is divided into two houses: the House of Commons, which is democratically elected, and the House of Lords, which is inhabited by hereditary and appointed peers. It sits in Westminster (formerly a royal palace) and is now under the control of the Speaker of the House of Commons. Still known as the High Court of Parliament, its functions are not simply legislative, although that is its most important role today. It is summoned by exercise of the royal prerogative, and this meeting is known as a Parliament that lasts until that Parliament is dissolved. While convened, it divides into sessions, now two a year, each session being terminated by prorogation (again an exercise of the prerogative). The Meeting of Parliament Act 1694 provides (following the Triennial Act 1664) that Parliaments must be called at least once every three years. The convention that requires the important Finance, Army, Air Force and Navy Acts to be re-enacted annually means that Parliament sits at least once a year, although having become the modern government of a modern nation it is in almost constant session.

Its pomp and ceremony are legendary. The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod leads the members of the House of Commons to the House of Lords on the opening of Parliament. The Queen usually attends the opening of a Parliament, and, indeed, each session, to give the Queen's speech (drafted in fact by the cabinet), setting out the legislative programme. A Bill for the Suppression of Clandestine Outlawries is read at the start of every session except the first to show the world that the Commons can initiate bills not in the Queen's speech. In the Lords, the debate on the Queen's speech takes place after a formal reading of the Select Vestries Bill and in the form of a debate on a loyal address.

The Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 represent the present state of the long-running struggle between Lords and Commons, and reflects the fact that universal suffrage, which began in 1832 with the great Reform Act, has strengthened the hand of the Commons over the Lords. The thrust of the Acts read together is that the Lords can at best delay a Bill by sending it back to the Commons, who then have only to bide their time to turn it into law. The 1949 Act was actually passed under the provisions of the 1911 Act, and it was this 1949 provision that effectively made the power a delaying one instead of one that might have allowed a longer period and one in which the electorate has a say in an important matter over which the two houses had disagreed. Its constitutionality has been challenged in the courts but unsuccessfully. See also NATIONAL ASSEMBLY FOR WALES, SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT.

Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

PARLIAMENT. This word, derived from the French parlement, in the English law, is used to designate the legislative branch of the government of Great Britain, composed of the house of lords, and the house of commons.
     2. It is an error to regard the king of Great Britain as forming a part of parliament. The connexion between the king and the lords spiritual, the lords temporal, and the commons, which, when assembled in parliament, form the, three states of the realm, is the same as that which subsists between the king and those states -- the people at large -- out of parliament; Colton's Records, 710; the king not being, in either case, a member, branch, or co-estate, but standing solely in the relation of sovereign or head. Rot. Par. vol. iii,. 623 a.; 2 Mann. & Gr. 457 n.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
This "fourth report" should not be confused with the "Fifth Communication From the Commission to the Council and the Eruopean Parlaiment on the Application of Articles Four and Five of Directive 89/552/EEC," supra note 7.
Mrs Follett, who entered Parlaiment in 1997, employed two staff who handled administrative work.
They also met the European parliament's director-generals, who administer the parlaiment's decisions.
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It is important to respect the opinion of the Council and European Parlaiment. I cannot support a Council proposal which the EP will not support," German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters ahead of the summit.
The session was informed about the professional opinion of the National Audit Office regarding the Consolidated Final Account of the State, and decided to take the required constitutional procedures ahead of referring the two reports to the parlaiment before May 31, as required by the Constitution.
ISLAMABAD -- After much heated dabates in the Parlaiment and public anger for improper treatment to the elephant Kaavan at Marghazar Zoo, the Capital Development Authority has decided to handover its care to International Wildlife Organization CDA source informed reporter here on Tuesday that the attached workers of elephant will serve under the supervision of International Wildlife Organization.
Islamabad, May 28 - All political parties represented in the nationl parlaiment Thursday asssured full support to the government on Chia-Pakistran Economic Corridor (CPEC) project envisaging 46 billion dollar Chinese investment.
"Members of the Parlaiment should fall under lustration as well: we have same people in the Parliament as during Bakiev's tenure.
Used to being able to aorder the musica in Bulgarian mediascape, political parties reacted with panic when journalists started actually doing their duty: they revoked the press accreditation of a Dimitar Anestev from nation-wide BTV station who, while trapped inside Parlaiment with them, attempted live coverage of their reactions.
Khan said that the ECP had forwarded an Election Reforms bills to the government to ensure free and fair elections seeking 30 days for strict scrutiny of the nomination papers of the candidates but Law Minister Farooq H Naik has refused to get the bill passed from the parlaiment.
According to a statement issued by SCAF on its facebook page, the council's role in advising SCAF on laws and international treaties would end once an elected parlaiment convenes in March.