England and Wales (Welsh: Lloegr a Chymru) is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four nations of the United Kingdom. "England and Wales" forms the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England and follows a single legal system, known as English law.
The devolved National Assembly for Wales (Welsh: Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru) was created in 1999 by the Parliament of the United Kingdom under the Government of Wales Act 1998 and provides a degree of self-government in Wales. The powers of the Assembly were expanded by the Government of Wales Act 2006, which allows it to pass its own laws, and the Act also formally separated the Welsh Government from the Assembly. There is no equivalent body for England, which is directly governed by the Parliament and the government of the United Kingdom.
Welsh: Lloegr a Chymru
England and Wales
|Location||Within the UK|
|Membership||Part of a constitutional monarchy|
|151,149 km2 (58,359 sq mi)|
• 2011 estimate
During the Roman occupation of Britain, the area of present-day England and Wales was administered as a single unit, with the exception of the land to the north of Hadrian's Wall – though the Roman-occupied area varied in extent, and for a time extended to the Antonine/Severan Wall. At that time, most of the native inhabitants of Roman Britain spoke Brythonic languages, and were all regarded as Britons, divided into numerous tribes. After the conquest, the Romans administered this region as a single unit, the province of Britain.
Long after the departure of the Romans, the Britons in what became Wales developed their own system of law, first codified by Hywel Dda (Hywel the Good; reigned 942–950) when he was king of most of present-day Wales; in England Anglo-Saxon law was initially codified by Alfred the Great in his Legal Code, c. 893. However, after the Norman invasion of Wales in the 11th century, English law came to apply in the parts of Wales conquered by the Normans (the Welsh Marches). In 1283, the English, led by Edward I, with the biggest army brought together in England since the 11th century, conquered the remainder of Wales, then organised as the Principality of Wales. This was then united with the English crown by the Statute of Rhuddlan of 1284. This aimed to replace Welsh criminal law with English law.
Welsh law continued to be used for civil cases until the annexation of Wales to England in the 16th century. The Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542 then consolidated the administration of all the Welsh territories and incorporated them fully into the legal system of the Kingdom of England.
Prior to 1746 it was not clear whether a reference to "England" in legislation included Wales, and so in 1746 Parliament passed the Wales and Berwick Act. This specified that in all prior and future laws, references to "England" would by default include Wales (and Berwick). The Wales and Berwick Act was repealed in 1967, although the statutory definition of "England" created by that Act still applies for laws passed before 1967. In new legislation since 1967, what was referred to as "England" is now "England and Wales", while references to "England" and "Wales" refer to those political divisions.
England and Wales are treated as a single unit for some purposes, because the two form the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England. The continuance of Scots law was guaranteed under the 1706 Treaty of Union that led to the Acts of Union 1707, and as a consequence English law—and after 1801, Irish law—continued to be separate. Following the two Acts of Union, Parliament can restrict the effect of its laws to part of the realm, and generally the effect of laws, where restricted, was originally applied to one or more of the former kingdoms. Thus, most laws applicable to England also applied to Wales. However, Parliament now passes laws applicable to Wales and not to England (and vice versa), a practice which was rare before the middle of the 20th century. Examples are the Welsh Language Acts 1967 and 1993 and the Government of Wales Act 1998. Measures and Acts of the National Assembly for Wales passed since the Government of Wales Act 2006 apply in Wales but not in England.
Following the Government of Wales Act, effective since May 2007, the National Assembly for Wales can legislate on matters devolved to it. Following a referendum on 3 March 2011, the Welsh Assembly gained direct law-making powers, without the need to consult Westminster. This was the first time in almost 500 years that Wales had its own powers to legislate. Each piece of Welsh legislation is known as an Act of the Assembly.
For a company to be incorporated in the United Kingdom, its application for registration with Companies House must state "whether the company's registered office is to be situated in England and Wales (or in Wales), in Scotland or in Northern Ireland", which will determine the law applicable to that business entity. A registered office must be specified as "in Wales" if the company wishes to use a name ending cyfyngedig or cyf, rather than Limited or Ltd. or to avail itself of certain other privileges relating to the official use of the Welsh language.
Outside the legal system, the position is mixed. Some organisations combine as "England and Wales", others are separate.
The national parks of England and Wales have a distinctive legislative framework and history.
The Archbishop of Westminster heads the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster, in England. The incumbent is the Metropolitan of the Province of Westminster, Chief Metropolitan of England and Wales and, as a matter of custom, is elected President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, and therefore de facto spokesman of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. All previous Archbishops of Westminster have become Cardinals.
Although all the bishops of the restored diocesan episcopacy took new titles, like that of Westminster, they saw themselves in continuity with the pre-Reformation Church and post-Reformation Vicars Apostolic and Titular Bishops. Westminster, in particular, saw itself as the continuity of Canterbury, hence the similarity of the coat of arms of the two Sees, with Westminster believing it has more right to it since it features the pallium, a distinctly Catholic symbol of communion with the Holy See.Attorney General for England and Wales
Her Majesty's Attorney General for England and Wales, usually known simply as the Attorney General (A-G), is one of the Law Officers of the Crown. The Attorney General serves as the chief legal adviser to the Crown and the Government in England and Wales, and though they maintain their own office, they are still subordinate to the Cabinet-level Secretary of State for Justice (Lord Chancellor). The Solicitor General for England and Wales serves as the next in command and is subordinate to the Attorney General.
The position of Attorney General existed since at least 1243, when records show a professional attorney was hired to represent the King's interests in court. The position first took on a political role in 1461 when the holder of the office was summoned to the House of Lords to advise the government there on legal matters. In 1673 the Attorney General officially became the Crown's adviser and representative in legal matters, although still specialising in litigation rather than advice. The beginning of the twentieth century saw a shift away from litigation and more towards legal advice. Today prosecutions are carried out by the Crown Prosecution Service and most legal advice to government departments is provided by the Government Legal Service, both under the supervision of the Attorney General.
The job of the Attorney General is a demanding one, and Sir Patrick Hastings wrote while serving that "to be a law officer is to be in hell". Duties include superintending the Crown Prosecution Service, the Serious Fraud Office, and other government lawyers with the authority to prosecute cases. Additionally, the Attorney General superintends the Government Legal Department (formerly the Treasury Solicitor's Department), HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate and the Service Prosecuting Authority. The Attorney advises the government, individual government departments and individual government ministers on legal matters, answering questions in Parliament and bringing "unduly lenient" sentences and points of law to the Court of Appeal of England and Wales. Since the passing of the Law Officers Act 1997 duties can be delegated to the Solicitor General, and any actions are treated as if they came from the Attorney General.Catholic Church in England and Wales
The Catholic Church in England and Wales (Latin: Ecclesia Catholica in Anglia et Cambria) (Welsh: Yr Eglwys Gatholig yng Nghymru a Lloegr) is part of the worldwide Catholic Church in full communion with the Pope. It traces its history to the apostles through Catholic Christendom, the Western Latin Church, particularised and recorded in Roman Britain as far back as the 1st century. Later, in the 6th century, the church was judicially bonded to the Apostolic See of Rome, when Gregory the Great through his Benedictine and Roman missionary, Augustine of Canterbury, established a direct link from the Kingdom of Kent to the Holy See in 597 AD. This ancient link to Irenaeus's source of Christian guidance, the See of Rome, has enriched its inter-church identity, not only across Britain and continental Europe but also and especially globally within what is sometimes referred to as the "Catholic Communion of Churches".Today the English Catholic Church regards Augustine as one of its regional founders, bonding the present head of the Catholic Church in England directly to Pope Gregory's modern day successor, Pope Francis. This unbroken line of history, going back to Augustine, is symbolised in the bestowal of the pallium, a papal liturgical vestment (a woolen cloak) on the Catholic successor to St Augustine, the Archbishop of Westminster.
To highlight this episcopal and historic continuity, the Archdiocese of Westminster uses the installation rites of pre-Reformation Catholic archbishops of Canterbury and earlier archbishops of Westminster for the installation of each new Archbishop of Westminster. Thus, just as Pope Gregory conferred the pallium or woolen cloak on St Augustine, Pope Francis (in that corresponding ancient practice) conferred the same symbol of unity on the current head of the Catholic Church in England, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, when he took office.Along with the 22 Latin Rite dioceses, there are two dioceses of the Eastern Catholic Church: the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Holy Family of London and the Syro-Malabar Catholic Eparchy of Great Britain.
At the 2001 United Kingdom census, there were 4.2 million Catholics in England and Wales, some 8% of the population. One hundred years earlier, in 1901, they represented only 4.2% of the population. In 1981, 8.7% of the population of England and Wales were Catholic. In 2009, an Ipsos Mori poll found that 9.6%, or 5.2 million persons, were Catholic in England and Wales. Sizable populations include North West England, where one in five is Catholic, a result of large-scale Irish migration in the nineteenth century as well as the high number of English recusants in Lancashire.Charity Commission for England and Wales
The Charity Commission for England and Wales is the non-ministerial government department that regulates registered charities in England and Wales and maintains the Central Register of Charities.
The Charity Commission answers directly to the UK Parliament rather than to Government ministers. It is governed by a board, which is assisted by the Chief Executive (currently Helen Stephenson CBE who succeeded Paula Sussex in July 2017) and an executive team.The current Chair is Tina Stowell, Baroness Stowell of Beeston MBE, who succeeded William Shawcross in 2018.
The commission has four sites in London, Taunton, Liverpool and Newport. Its website lists the latest accounts submitted by charities in England and Wales.Court of Appeal (England and Wales)
The Court of Appeal (COA, formally "Her Majesty's Court of Appeal in England") is the highest court within the Senior Courts of England and Wales, and second in the legal system of England and Wales only to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. The COA was created in 1875, and today comprises 39 Lord Justices of Appeal and Lady Justices of Appeal.The court has two divisions, Criminal and Civil, led by the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls respectively. Criminal appeals are heard in the Criminal Division, and civil appeals in the Civil Division. The Criminal Division also hears appeals from the Crown Court, while the Civil Division hears appeals from the County Court, High Court of Justice and Family Court. Permission to appeal is normally required from either the lower court or the Court of Appeal itself; and with permission, further appeal may lie to the Supreme Court.Courts of England and Wales
The Courts of England and Wales, supported administratively by Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service, are the civil and criminal courts responsible for the administration of justice in England and Wales.
The United Kingdom does not have a single unified legal system—England and Wales has one system, Scotland another, and Northern Ireland a third. There are exceptions to this rule; for example in immigration law, the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal's jurisdiction covers the whole of the United Kingdom, while in employment law there is a single system of employment tribunals for England, Wales, and Scotland but not Northern Ireland. Additionally, the Military Court Service has jurisdiction over all members of the armed forces of the United Kingdom in relation to offences against military law.
The Court of Appeal, the High Court, the Crown Court, the County Court, and the magistrates' courts are administered by Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service, an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice.Crown Court
The Crown Court of England and Wales is, together with the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal, one of the constituent parts of the Senior Courts of England and Wales. It is the highest court of first instance in criminal cases; however, for some purposes the Crown Court is hierarchically subordinate to the High Court and its Divisional Courts.
The Crown Court sits in around 92 locations in England and Wales. The administration of the Crown Court is conducted through HM Courts and Tribunals Service. Previously conducted across six circuits (Midland, Northern, North Eastern, South Eastern, Wales & Chester and Western), HM Courts and Tribunals Service is now divided into seven regions: Midlands, North East, North West, South East, South West, London and Wales. The Wales region was identified separately, having regard to the devolved legislative powers of the Welsh Government. When the Crown Court sits in the City of London it is known as the Central Criminal Court. The "Central Criminal Court" at the Old Bailey, originally established by its own Act of Parliament, is a Crown Court centre, and is the venue at which many of the most serious criminal cases are heard.
The Crown Court carries out four principal types of activity: appeals from decisions of magistrates; sentencing of defendants committed from magistrates’ courts, jury trials, and the sentencing of those who are convicted in the Crown Court, either after trial or on pleading guilty. The average time from receipt by the Crown Court to completion was 177 days by the start of 2016.Rather than speaking of a location at which the Crown Court sits, it is common practice to refer to any venue as a Crown Court, e.g., Teesside Crown Court.Directly elected mayors in England and Wales
Directly elected mayors in England and Wales are local government executive leaders who have been directly elected by the people who live in a local authority area. The first such political post was the Mayor of London, created as the executive of the Greater London Authority in 2000 as part of a reform of the local government of Greater London. Since the Local Government Act 2000, all of the several hundred principal local councils in England and Wales are required to review their executive arrangements.
Most local authorities opt for the "leader and cabinet" model where the council leader is selected from the councillors, but in some areas the council proposes to adopt the "mayor and cabinet" model. Following a successful "yes" vote in a local referendum, a directly elected mayor is established to replace the council leader. Since 2007, councils can adopt the elected mayoral model without a referendum. Most authorities with elected mayors already had a ceremonial mayor and the two roles continue to exist concurrently. As of May 2015, 16 council areas are using the "mayor and cabinet" model of governance with a directly elected executive mayor.England and Wales Cricket Board
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is the governing body of cricket in England and Wales. It was created on 1 January 1997 combining the roles of the Test and County Cricket Board, the National Cricket Association and the Cricket Council. Like many sports-governing bodies in the United Kingdom it is a company limited by guarantee, a legal status which enables it to concentrate on maximising its funding of the sport rather than making a return for investors. The ECB's head offices are at Lord's in London. Although the organisation is the England and Wales Cricket Board, it is referred to as the ECB not the EWCB as a result of a decision taken in the run-up to the launch of ECB in January 1997 by those from within the game given the task of overseeing the transition from the previous bodies from which ECB was formed.English law
English law is the common law legal system of England and Wales, comprising mainly criminal law and civil law, each branch having its own courts and procedures.Green Party of England and Wales
The Green Party of England and Wales (GPEW; Welsh: Plaid Werdd Cymru a Lloegr) is a green, left-wing political party in England and Wales. Headquartered in London, since September 2018, its co-leaders are Siân Berry and Jonathan Bartley. The Green Party has one representative in the House of Commons, one in the House of Lords, and three in the European Parliament. In addition, it has various councillors in UK local government and two members of the London Assembly.The party's ideology combines environmentalism with left-wing economic policies, including well-funded, locally controlled public services within the confines of a steady state economy, and it supports proportional representation. It also takes a progressive approach to social policies such as civil liberties, animal rights, LGBT rights and drug policy reform. The party also believes strongly in nonviolence, basic income, a living wage, and democratic participation. The party comprises various regional divisions, including the semi-autonomous Wales Green Party. Internationally, the party is affiliated to the Global Greens and the European Green Party.
The Green Party of England and Wales was established in 1990 alongside the Scottish Green Party and the Green Party in Northern Ireland through the division of the pre-existing Green Party, a group which had originally been established as the PEOPLE Party in 1973. Experiencing centralising reforms spearheaded by the Green 2000 group in the early 1990s, the party sought to emphasise growth in local governance, doing so throughout the 1990s. In 2010, the party gained its first MP in former leader Caroline Lucas, who represents the constituency of Brighton Pavilion.High Court of Justice
The High Court of Justice in England is, together with the Court of Appeal and the Crown Court, one of the Senior Courts of England and Wales. Its name is abbreviated as EWHC for legal citation purposes.
The High Court deals at first instance with all high value and high importance cases, and also has a supervisory jurisdiction over all subordinate courts and tribunals, with a few statutory exceptions.
The High Court consists of three divisions: the Queen's Bench Division, the Chancery Division, and the Family Division. Their jurisdictions overlap in some cases, and cases started in one division may be transferred by court order to another where appropriate. The differences of procedure and practice between divisions are partly historical, derived from the separate courts which were merged into the single High Court by the 19th-century Judicature Acts, but are mainly driven by the usual nature of their work, for example, conflicting evidence of fact is quite commonly given in person in the Queen's Bench Division, but evidence by affidavit is more usual in the Chancery Division which is primarily concerned with points of law.
Most High Court proceedings are heard by a single judge, but certain kinds of proceedings, especially in the Queen's Bench Division, are assigned to a Divisional Court, a bench of two or more judges. Exceptionally the court may sit with a jury, but in practice normally only in defamation cases or cases against the police. Litigants are normally represented by counsel, but may be represented by solicitors qualified to hold a right of audience, or they may act in person.
In principle the High Court is bound by its own previous decisions, but there are conflicting authorities as to what extent this is so. Appeal from the High Court in civil matters normally lies to the Court of Appeal, and thence in cases of importance to the Supreme Court (the House of Lords before 2009); in some cases a "leapfrog" appeal may be made directly to the Supreme Court. In criminal matters appeals from the Queen's Bench Divisional Court are made directly to the Supreme Court.
The High Court is based at the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand in the City of Westminster, London. It has district registries across England and Wales and almost all High Court proceedings may be issued and heard at a district registry.Home Secretary
Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Home Department, normally referred to as the Home Secretary, is a senior official as one of the Great Offices of State within Her Majesty's Government and head of the Home Office. It is a British Cabinet level position.
The Home Secretary is responsible for the internal affairs of England and Wales, and for immigration and citizenship for the United Kingdom. The remit of the Home Office also includes policing in England and Wales and matters of national security, as the Security Service (MI5) is directly accountable to the Home Secretary. Formerly, the Home Secretary was the minister responsible for prisons and probation in England and Wales; however in 2007 those responsibilities were transferred to the newly created Ministry of Justice under the Lord Chancellor. A high profile position, it is widely recognised as one of the most prestigious and important roles in the British Cabinet.
The position of Home Secretary has been held by Sajid Javid since 30 April 2018.Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales is the Head of the Judiciary of England and Wales and the President of the Courts of England and Wales.
Historically, the officeholder was the second-highest judge of the Courts of England and Wales, after the Lord Chancellor, but became the top judge as a result of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, which removed the judicial functions from the office of Lord Chancellor, altered the duties of the Lord Chief Justice and changed the relationship between the two offices. The Lord Chief Justice ordinarily serves as President of the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal and Head of Criminal Justice, but under the 2005 Act can appoint another judge to these positions.
The Lord Chief Justice's equivalent in Scotland is the Lord President of the Court of Session, who also holds the post of Lord Justice-General in the High Court of Justiciary. There is also a Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, successor to the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland of the pre-Partition era. For the entire United Kingdom judiciary, there is a President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, though that court does not have final jurisdiction over Scottish criminal law.
The current Lord Chief Justice is Lord Burnett of Maldon (Lord Burnett), who assumed the role on 2 October 2017.National parks of England and Wales
The national parks of England and Wales are areas of relatively undeveloped and scenic landscape that are designated under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. Despite their similar name, national parks in England and Wales are quite different from national parks in many other countries, which are usually owned and managed by the government as a protected community resource, and which do not usually include permanent human communities. In England and Wales, designation as a national park may include substantial settlements and human land uses which are often integral parts of the landscape, and land within a national park remains largely in private ownership.
There are currently thirteen national parks (Welsh: parciau cenedlaethol) in England and Wales. Each park is operated by its own national park authority, with two "statutory purposes":
to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area, and
to promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the park's special qualities by the public.When national parks carry out these purposes they also have the duty to:
seek to foster the economic and social well-being of local communities within the national parks.An estimated 110 million people visit the national parks of England and Wales each year. Recreation and tourism bring visitors and funds into the parks, to sustain their conservation efforts and support the local population through jobs and businesses. These visitors also bring problems, such as erosion and traffic congestion, and conflicts over the use of the parks' resources. Access to cultivated land is restricted to bridleways, public footpaths, and permissive paths, with most (but not all) uncultivated areas in England and Wales having right of access for walking under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.Old Bailey
The Central Criminal Court of England and Wales (commonly called the Old Bailey, after the street on which it stands) is a court in London and one of a number of buildings housing the Crown Court. Part of the present building stands on the site of the medieval Newgate gaol, on a road named Old Bailey that follows the line of the City of London's fortified wall (or bailey), which runs from Ludgate Hill to the junction of Newgate Street and Holborn Viaduct. The Old Bailey has been housed in several structures near this location since the sixteenth century, and its present building dates from 1902.
The Crown Court sitting at the Central Criminal Court deals with major criminal cases from within Greater London and in exceptional cases, from other parts of England and Wales. Trials at the Old Bailey, as at other courts, are open to the public; however, they are subject to stringent security procedures.Solicitor
A solicitor is a legal practitioner who traditionally deals with most of the legal matters in some jurisdictions. A person must have legally-defined qualifications, which vary from one jurisdiction to another, to be described as a solicitor and enabled to practise there as such. For example, in England and Wales a solicitor is admitted to practise under the provisions of the Solicitors Act 1974. With some exceptions, practising solicitors must possess a practising certificate. There are many more solicitors than barristers in England; they undertake the general aspects of giving legal advice and conducting legal proceedings.In the jurisdictions of England and Wales and in Northern Ireland, in a few Australian states, Hong Kong, South Africa (where they are called attorneys) and the Republic of Ireland, the legal profession is split between solicitors and barristers (called advocates in some countries, for example Scotland), and a lawyer will usually only hold one of the two titles. However, in Canada, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and most Australian states, the legal profession is now for practical purposes "fused", allowing lawyers to hold the title of "barrister and solicitor" and practise as both. Some legal graduates will start off as one and then also qualify as the other.Solicitor General for England and Wales
Her Majesty's Solicitor General for England and Wales, known informally as the Solicitor General, is one of the Law Officers of the Crown, and the deputy of the Attorney General, whose duty is to advise the Crown and Cabinet on the law. He or she can exercise the powers of the Attorney General in the Attorney General's absence.
There is also a Solicitor General for Scotland, who is the deputy of the Lord Advocate. As well as the Sovereign's Solicitor General, the Prince of Wales and a Queen consort (when the Sovereign is male) are also entitled to have an Attorney and Solicitor General, though the present Prince of Wales has only an Attorney General and no Solicitor General.
The Solicitor General is addressed in court as "Mr Solicitor" or ''Ms Solicitor''. Despite the title, the position is usually held by a barrister. Robert Buckland, MP for South Swindon, was confirmed in the post on 15 July 2014, replacing Sir Oliver Heald.United Reformed Church
The United Reformed Church (URC) is a Protestant Christian church in the United Kingdom. It has approximately 46,500 members in 1,383 congregations with 608 active ministers, including 13 church related community workers.