ACTS OF PARLIAMENT. An act of Parliament is a resolution or law or declara tion passed by all three branches of the British legislature (the king or queen, lords and com mons) to enforce certain or specified rules of conduct or defining and conferring rights upon persons or withholding them from certain per sons or classes of persons. In acts other than those granting money to the Crown, the enact ing clause reads: "Be it enacted by the King's most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Tem poral and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same.* When money is granted to the Crown the en acting clause is prefaced by the words: "Most gracious Sovereign, we, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled, towards making good the supply which we have cheerfully granted to your Majesty in this session of Parliament, have resolved to grant unto your Majesty the sums hereinafter mentioned; and do therefore most humbly beseech your Majesty that it may be enacted," etc. Thus the collective body of such declarations is the written law or statutes of the realm of the British nation and is the highest legal authority recognized, which can not be amended or repealed without the same authority of Parliament. It binds every sub
ject and every alien (with few exceptions) and, if named therein, the sovereign himself. Unless a specific date be set by the act itself, an act of Parliament takes effect immediately on receiving the sovereign's signature. Acts of Parliament are either public or private. A pub lic act is one relating to the whole Empire or i a main subdivision (in which case it is called general) or a subordinate part (in which case it is called local). Private acts are those which relate to particular persons and private con cerns. (See BILLS, PRIVATE). Originally the whole number of acts passed during each ses sion constituted a single statute having a gen eral title and for this reason acts of Parliament are referred to by the year of the sovereign's reign and the chapter of the statutes of that year, e. g., 2 and 3 Richard III, c. 45. Since the passage of the Short Titles Act of 1892 important acts up to that time may be cited by their short titles, either individually or col lectively. Most of the recent acts have borne short titles. See GREAT BRITAIN — PARLIAMENT.