United Kingdom Legal Research Guide

This in-depth guide will help researchers navigate legal materials for the United Kingdom.

Executive Authority

cabinet-style government, formed by whichever party (or coalition of parties) commands a majority in the House of Commons, wields executive power at the national level in the UK.

The head of the national government, known as the prime minister, is the leader of the largest party in the House of Commons. The prime minister appoints the other members of the cabinet, as well as sub-cabinet officials known as ministers.

Most government ministers are members of the House of Commons affiliated with the same political party as the prime minister, but members of the House of Lords also may serve as ministers.

The national government exercises its authority in the name of the sovereign, a hereditary monarch who serves as the head of state, a role that is largely, though not entirely, ceremonial. The current monarch is King Charles III, who acceded to the throne in 2022 upon the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, the longest serving monarch in British history. 

No. 10 Downing Street

Official Residence of the Prime Minister since 1732
Photo by Sgt. Tom Robinson, RLC, via Flickr
CC BY-NC 2.0 Generic License

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