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King-in-parliament (or, during the reign of a female monarch, Queen-in-parliament, or gender-neutrally Crown-in-parliament) is a constitutional law concept used within Commonwealth realms that refers to the Crown in its legislative role, acting with the advice and consent of the parliament (including, if the parliament is bicameral, both the lower house and upper house). Bills passed by the houses are sent to the sovereign or their representative (such as the or governor-general, lieutenant-governor, or governor), for royal assent in order to enact them into laws as Acts of parliament. An Act may also provide for secondary legislation, which can be made by executive officers of the Crown, although subject to the simple approval or dissallowance by parliament.

Fusion of powers

The concept of the Crown as a part of parliament is related to the idea of the fusion of powers, meaning that the executive branch and legislative branch of government are fused together. This is a key concept of the Westminster system of government, developed in England and used in countries in the Commonwealth of Nations and beyond. It is in contradistinction to the idea of the separation of powers. The specific language of "the Crown", "the King", or "the Queen" in parliament used in the Commonwealth realms also alludes to the constitutional theory that ultimate authority or sovereignty rests with the monarch, but is delegated to elected or appointed officials. In Commonwealth realms that are federations, the concept of the Crown-in-the-Legislature only applies to those units which are considered separate divisions of the monarchy, sovereign within their own sphere, such as Australian states or the Canadian provinces. By contrast to states or provinces, no equivalent constitutional concept exists in the Australian territories and Canadian territories, which are not sovereign. The legislature of a territory does not receive its authority directly from the monarch, being instead delegated by the federal parliament. Similarly, the idea of crown-in-council in city councils and other local governments within Commonwealth realms is not applicable as the authority of local governments is derived from a charter or Act that can be unilaterally amended by a higher level of government.

Practical role in legislating

King George VI, accompanied by Queen Elizabeth, grants royal assent to laws in the Canadian Senate, 19 May 1939

Because of the sovereign's place in the enactment of laws, the enacting clause of acts of Parliament may mention him or her, as well as the other one or two bodies of parliament. For example, British acts of parliament will start with: "Be it enacted by the King's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows..." (The phrasing, however, is different when the bill is passed under the provisions of the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949, without the consent of the House of Lords.) Similarly, Canadian acts of Parliament typically contain the following enacting clause: "Now, therefore, His Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows..."

Because the King remains a part of parliament, the enacting clause does not need to explicitly mention him, as in realms such as Australia and Tuvalu, where the clause is simply "The Parliament of Australia enacts" and "Enacted by the Parliament of Tuvalu...", respectively. This may represent a distinction between whether parliament or the King is the primary legislator, however.[1] Similarly, the Canadian province of Quebec does not use a Westminster-style enacting clause. Provincial statutes instead use the clause: "The Parliament of Québec enacts as follows."[citation needed]

The Scottish Parliament follows a different approach. Although its acts require Royal Assent, the Scottish Parliament's authority is delegated from the United Kingdom Parliament, and there is no directly equivalent concept of "King-in-(Scottish) Parliament". Instead of the enacting clause seen in UK acts, acts of the Scottish Parliament bear the following text above the long title: "The Bill for this Act of the Scottish Parliament was passed by the Parliament on (date) and received Royal Assent on (date)".


  1. ^ Greg Taylor (2006). The Constitution of Victoria. The Federation Press.