Although not sovereign states, England, Scotland and Wales are countries and Northern Ireland is a country or province (depending on context), which collectively form the United Kingdomâ€”a sovereign state that is also commonly referred to as a country. The United Kingdom is a union of four separate countries brought about by a series of international treaties and legislated for by several Acts of Union. These include the Acts of Union 1707 in both the English and Scottish parliaments, although by then England and Wales had already united. While a political union was created, Scotland and England retained distinct churches, legal systems and education systems, as a result, the issue of sovereignty is different in the two countries: in Scotland sovereignty lies with the people, whereas in England sovereignty lies with Parliament and the Monarch. Lord President (Lord Cooper) stated that "the principle of the unlimited sovereignty of Parliament is a distinctively English principle which has no counterpart in Scottish Constitutional Law", and that legislation contrary to the Act of Union would not necessarily be regarded as constitutionally valid.
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