What is an Act of Parliament?

What is an Act of Parliament?

An Act of Parliament, also known simply as an Act, is a law that has been formally enacted by the UK Parliament. It is the highest form of legislation in the United Kingdom and carries legal authority throughout the country. Acts of Parliament are binding and enforceable, and they establish legal rules and regulations that govern various aspects of society.

An Act of Parliament is the final product of the legislative process, starting from the proposal of a bill to its passage through both Houses of Parliament (the House of Commons and the House of Lords) and obtaining royal assent. Once an Act is enacted, it becomes part of the UK's statute law and is considered primary legislation.

Acts of Parliament can cover a wide range of subjects, including constitutional matters, criminal law, civil law, taxation, social policies, economic regulations, and more. They may create new laws, amend existing laws, repeal outdated laws, or codify legal principles. Acts can have a significant impact on society, shaping rights and obligations, establishing legal frameworks, and providing the basis for government policies and actions.

Each Act of Parliament is given a title and a unique identifying number, such as the Human Rights Act 1998 or the Equality Act 2000. Acts are published and widely available, allowing individuals, businesses, and legal professionals to access and understand the law.

Acts of Parliament are considered the supreme form of legislation in the UK legal system. They have the power to override other forms of law, such as common law (judge-made law) or secondary legislation (regulations or orders made by government bodies under powers granted by an Act). However, Acts can be amended or repealed by subsequent Acts of Parliament, reflecting the evolving nature of legislation.

Acts of Parliament are the key instruments through which the UK Parliament exercises its legislative power, shaping the legal framework that governs the nation and its citizens.
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