English law means the legal system of England and Wales. While Wales now has a devolved Assembly, any legislation which that Assembly passes is enacted in particular circumscribed policy areas defined by the Government of Wales Act 2006, other legislation of the British Parliament, or by Orders in Council given under the authority of the 2006 Act. The essence of English common law is that it is made by judges sitting in courts, applying legal precedent (stare decisis) to the facts before them. A decision of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, the highest civil appeal court of the United Kingdom, is binding on every other court. For example, murder is a common law crime rather than one established by an Act of Parliament. Common law can be amended or repealed by Parliament; murder, for example, now carries a mandatory life sentence rather than the death penalty. Unlike Scotland and Northern Ireland, Wales is not a separate jurisdiction within the United Kingdom. The customary laws of Wales within the Kingdom of England were abolished by King Henry VIII’s Laws in Wales Acts which brought Wales into legal conformity with England. Between 1746 and 1967, any reference to England in legislation was deemed to include Wales. This ceased with the enactment of the Welsh Language Act 1967 and the jurisdiction is now commonly referred to as “England and Wales”. Although devolution has accorded some degree of political autonomy to Wales in the National Assembly for Wales, it did not have the ability to pass primary legislation until the Government of Wales Act 2006 came into force after the 2007 Welsh general election. The legal system administered through both civil and criminal courts remains unified throughout England and Wales. This is different from the situation of Northern Ireland, for example, which did not cease to be a distinct jurisdiction when its legislature was suspended (see Northern Ireland (Temporary Provisions) Act 1972). A major difference is also the use of the Welsh language, as laws concerning it apply in Wales and not in the rest of the United Kingdom. The Welsh Language Act 1993 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which put the Welsh language on an equal footing with the English language in Wales with regard to the public sector. Welsh may also be spoken in Welsh courts.