England and Wales are two individual nations within the United Kingdom. However, for many administrative and legal purposes they are treated as the single entity England and Wales. Specifically, the two nations share the same legal system, the successor to that of the Kingdom of England, and as a consequence, most laws.
The other parts of the United Kingdom, that is, Scotland and Northern Ireland, often have laws very different from those of England and Wales. Scotland in particular has an entirely independent court system, and it is more frequent to have legislation for England, Wales and Northern Ireland than for England, Wales and Scotland.
As another example, in the sport of cricket, England and Wales field a single representative team in international competition, whereas Scotland is treated as a separate entity. The England and Wales team (often abbreviated simply as England) is administered by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Wales was annexed to the English crown by the 1536/1543 Acts of Union, but references in legislation for 'England' were still taken as excluding Wales. The Wales and Berwick Act 1746 meant that in all future laws, 'England' would by default include Wales (and Berwick-upon-Tweed). The de-annexation of Wales was gradual — Cardiff was proclaimed as the Welsh capital in 1955, and in 1967 the Wales and Berwick Act insofar as it applied to Wales was repealed.
Last updated: 06-02-2005 13:25:26