Many people confuse the United Kingdom with Great Britain, but in fact they are not the same thing. The United Kingdom is a united group of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. These four countries share a group of islands to the northwest of mainland Europe and are united under one government with one monarch. Great Britain comprises only England, Scotland and Wales.
While the UK has four distinct countries, each with its own culture and different dialects, there is a reason that many people confuse the UK with England. For centuries, England was the dominant nation, with the monarch frequently called the "Queen of England." When people think of the UK, the image of the monarch is often the first thing they think of. The kings, queens, princes and princesses of England have become international celebrities. The UK is also known for other cultural icons, like David Beckham, Dr. Who and the Beatles. If you visited the UK, you would want to dine on decadent Cadbury chocolate after a traditional meal of fish and chips, washing it all down with a glass of Guinness stout.
The people of the UK are known as leaders in the arts as well as science and technology. The UK is the place where fashion trends often start and actors or musicians are born. London, the center of it all, is often called a "cultural superpower."
The Legal System in the UK
The common law system originated in the UK and is used in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Although Scotland is also part of the UK, it uses a pluralistic system that is based on the principles of civil law mixed in with some common law principles. The Treaty of Union that joined these independent countries into the UK provided for independent legal systems for each country. Those who study law in the UK typically study in England, so common law is the field of choice.