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The 'Upper House' of the UK legislature - The House of Lords - was, until recently, staffed entirely by hereditary members and important figures in the Church of England.

Nowadays, thanks to the present government's Lords' reform policies, the hereditary peers are being phased out in favour of a more democratic system.

The Lords' primary function is to review legislation passed by the House of Commons and, where applicable, to suspend or veto it. This said, there are limits to the Lords' power: bills relating to the Treasury and financial matters or to manifesto pledges cannot be vetoed, and The Commons can overturn consistent vetoes.

Due to time constraints it is often necessary for new legislation to be introduced to The Lords before The Commons, but all will eventually be viewed by MP's in 'The Lower House'.

Another function of The House of Lords is that of being the UK's ultimate court of appeal: a small collection of important Law Lords sit in the Upper House who hear judicial cases unresolved by Crown Courts.

Amid the many ceremonial activities that take place in The House of Lords, the most famous of which is The State Opening of Parliament. After the members of The Commons have been summoned to The Lords, the present Sovereign is seated on the chamber's throne in full royal regalia to outline the government's upcoming political agenda in "The Queen's Speech".




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