Separation of powers in the United Kingdom

The conception of the separation of powers has been applied to the United Kingdom and the nature of its executive (UK government, Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive), judicial (England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) and legislative (UK Parliament, Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales and Northern Ireland Assembly) functions. Historically, the apparent merger of the executive and the legislature, with a powerful Prime Minister drawn from the largest party in parliament and usually with a safe majority, led theorists to contend that the separation of powers is not applicable to the United Kingdom. However, in recent years it does seem to have been adopted as a necessary part of the UK constitution. The independence of the judiciary has never been questioned as a principle, although application is problematic. Personnel have been increasingly isolated from the other organs of government, no longer sitting in the House of Lords or in the Cabinet. The court's ability to legislate through precedent, its inability to question validly enacted law through legislative supremacy and parliamentary sovereignty, and the role of the Europe-wide institutions to legislate, execute and judge on matters also define the boundaries of the UK system. The Welsh Government (Welsh: Llywodraeth Cymru) is the executive branch of the devolved government in Wales. It is accountable to the National Assembly for Wales, the legislature which represents the interests of the Welsh people and makes laws for Wales. The National Assembly was created by the Government of Wales Act 1998. T e Welsh Government and the National Assembly for Wales were established as separate institutions under the Government of Wales Act 2006. The Government is referred to in that Act as the Welsh Assembly Government, but to prevent confusion about the respective roles and responsibilities of the National Assembly and the Government, the devolved administration became known as the Welsh Government in May 2011, following the precedent set by the Scottish Government rename in 2007. The Welsh Government consists of the First Minister, usually the leader of the largest party in the National Assembly for Wales; up to twelve ministers and deputy ministers, appointed by the First Minister; and a Counsel General, nominated by the First Minister and approved by the National Assembly. The current First Minister is Carwyn Jones, formally appointed by the Queen on 12 May 2011, who appointed ten ministers and deputy ministers. The Counsel General is Theodore Huckle QC. The Scottish Government (Scottish Gaelic: Riaghaltas na h-Alba, Scots: Scots Govrenment) is the executive branch of the devolved government of Scotland. It is accountable to the Scottish Parliament. The government was established in 1999 as the Scottish Executive under section 44(1) of the Scotland Act 1998. It was formally renamed in law as the Scottish Government at the beginning of July 2012, when section 12(1) of the Scotland Act 2012 came into force. The Scottish Government is led by the First Minister, who selects all the remaining Cabinet Secretaries and junior Ministers. The First Minister and the Cabinet Secretaries constitute the Cabinet.