The United Kingdom is home to one of the world’s oldest parliamentary democracies. Whilst the Monarch is the official Head of State and signs bills into law, power over making legislation lies with the two chambers of Parliament; the House of Commons and the House of Lords, which meet at Westminster. In addition, the UK has devolved assemblies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which have power over various aspects of the law within their respective borders.
This section contains information about how the various institutions of government in the UK function and interact.
This section details the processes of law-making in the UK’s system, highlighting the typical stages that a bill will pass through from pre-drafting consultation to Royal Assent. It also examines the various forms of scrutiny that laws undergo before, during and after their passage through the Houses of Parliament.
This scrutiny takes many forms, from open consultation by the government during the policy-making phase, to select committees within Parliament, to external examination by the media.
This section looks at the people, MPs and Peers, who sit in the Houses of Parliament. It explains the different ways in which the two types of Member represent the people of the UK, their differing responsibilities and powers.
This section also studies the work of Parliament on an individual level and details the staff, resources and mechanisms available to Members that allow them to perform their functions.
We go into greater detail about how business is conducted day-to-day, including how timetables are determined, the rules of debate in each of the main chambers, the function of specific instruments such as Early Day Motions and Adjournment Debates, and the roles of specific actors such as the Speaker and Clerks.
This section also provides examples of how the principles and features of institutional design discussed in other sections work in practice.