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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 ?
Debates over presidential, semi-presidential and parliamentary government systems have continued unabated in Turkey for almost 50 years; however, the future of Turkey's system of government no longer constitutes a ground for theoretical argument, but, rather, is a political reality shaping the agenda of the country, especially in the wake of the election of the president by the public on August 10, 2014.
Indeed, though the notion of a parliamentary government has been used to encourage greater autonomy for the legislative branch, the current move appears to have more to do with shifting the burden of unpopular fiscal austerity measures to parliamentarians and away from the palace.
The Once and Future King may be the best recent statement of die case for the superiority of parliamentary government. But presidentialism has important advantages of its own.
That is the difference between a parliamentary government and a separation-of-powers government."
But this American experiment in parliamentary government failed.
An elected parliamentary government took power in 2011, and the following year, Suu Kyi was elected to parliament, where she is now chairwoman of the Committee for the Rule of Law and Tranquility.
Kyrgyzstan is just building a parliamentary government. "Our Government is changing almost every year.
The issue of a parliamentary government which is the goal of reformers has yet to be fully addressed.
Amman: King Abdullah II on Sunday told newly elected MPs that he seeks to reach "consensus" with them before naming a prime minister, and hailed the "historic transformation" towards parliamentary government in Jordan.
Hammam Said, head of Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood, said that the new government must implement several demands before the Islamic party will agree to participate, including the abolition of the Senate (whose members are appointed by the King), and the establishment of an elected parliamentary government, the daily reported.
During a rare meeting with Abdallah earlier last week, leaders of the Islamic movement insisted on a "parliamentary government" which implicitly means the dissolution of the recently elected lower house and appointing leaders of the largest parliamentary blocs as prime ministers instead of the present pattern of action whereby the monarch chooses premiers according to his discretion.
The Administrative Committee also announced setting up of trade union commissions comprising experts and specialists tasked with preparing proposals on political, economic and social reforms for the establishment of democracy and organisation of transparent elections, ensuring freedom of choice and paving the way for the establishment of a parliamentary government and credible press.

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