Tuesday, 18 June, 2013
07:30 GMT 11:30 Moscow
Local Time: 11:30
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The country is situated in the British Isles in western Europe.
The population is 59.2 million as of 2003.
The capital city is London.
The administrative divisions consist of four historical and geographical areas – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. There are 39 counties, six metropolitan counties and a special administrative entity, London, in England. There are eight counties in Wales, 26 districts in Northern Ireland and 12 regions in Scotland. The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are independent administrative entities.
The official language is English.
The currency is the pound sterling (£1 = 100 pence since 1970).
The political system is a constitutional monarchy.
The head of state is the monarch who has the exclusive right to appoint the prime minister and authorize him or her to form the government and open the sessions of parliament. Under the Act of Settlement of 1701, the British monarch must be a member of the Church of England.
The current monarch is Elizabeth II who was enthroned on February 6, 1952.
The legislative power is exercised by the monarch and parliament. Parliament consists of two houses – the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The House of Lords consists of representatives of aristocracy, peers, both hereditary and life peers as well as law lords who are top court members and Anglican bishops – in all, 25 Anglican archbishops and bishops. The House of Lords was reformed in 1999, which put an end to hereditary peers. The hereditary right to be a member of the Lords and vote until the second phase of the reform was retained by 102 hereditary peers, of whom 92 were granted the right through secret ballot by their aristocratic colleagues, with 10 caving in to the government’s ultimatum to switch the hereditary peerage for life one. The right to participate in the work of the House of Lords was retained by the lords who were given their peerage by the monarch in recognition of their personal services and on advice of the government. The House of Lords is the highest court of appeal.
The executive power is exercised by the government headed by the prime minister who is appointed by the monarch. The members of the government must be members of parliament. The current premier is Anthony Blair.
The court system is as follows: the lowest degree of jurisdiction is enjoyed by deputy judges in counties. More high-profile cases are judged by county courts. Criminal cases that are out of competence of magistrates and justices of the peace in cities are judged by the Crown Court established in 1971. The Court of Appeal is the next level of the court system. The Crown Court, the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal are the Supreme Court of Judicature entitled to set precedents. The same judges (sometimes, in cooperation with their colleagues from the overseas territories) set up the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council to examine certain cases. The court system in Scotland rests upon the Old French law. There are administrative courts (tribunals) in England but they operate under the aegis of executive bodies and are not administrative justice bodies.
The principal economic indices are as follows:
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