Succession to the Crown Act 1707
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Succession to the Crown Act 1707

Succession to the Crown Act 1707[1]
Long titleAn Act for the Security of Her Majesties Person and Government and of the Succession to the Crown of Great Britain in the Protestant Line.
Citation6 Anne c 41
Territorial extentKingdom of Great Britain
Other legislation
Relates toRegency Act 1705
Status: Amended
[see Browning, Andrew (1996). English Historical Documents, 1660-1714. Psychology Press. ISBN 978-0-415-14371-4. Text of statute as originally enacted]
Revised text of statute as amended

The Succession to the Crown Act 1707 (6 Ann c 41) is an Act of Parliament of the Parliament of Great Britain.[2] It is still partly in force in Great Britain.[3]

The Act was passed at a time when Parliament was anxious to ensure the succession of a Protestant on the death of Queen Anne. It replaced the Regency Act 1705. The Act required privy counsellors and other officers, in the event of Anne's death, to proclaim as her successor the next Protestant in the line of succession to the throne, and made it high treason for any of them to fail to do so.[4]

If the next monarch was overseas at the time of the succession, the government would be run until he or she returned by between seven and fourteen "Lords Justices." Seven of the Lords Justices were named in the Act, and the next monarch could appoint seven more, who would be named in writing, three copies of which were to be sent to the Privy Council in England.[5] The Act made it treason for any unauthorised person to open these, or to neglect to deliver them to the Privy Council.[6] The Lords Justices were to have the power to give royal assent to bills, except that they would be guilty of treason if they amended the Act of Uniformity 1662 or the Protestant Religion and Presbyterian Church Act 1707.[7]

The Act also provided that if Parliament was sitting at the time of the monarch's death, then it would be able to sit for a further six months unless dissolved by a new legitimate monarch.[8][9] Previously the death of the monarch automatically dissolved Parliament. If the monarch were to die and Parliament was not at that time sitting, then it would immediately convene.[10] These clauses remain in force today (without the six-month time limit on Parliament's continued existence, which was repealed in 1878[11]).

The Act also made it treason maliciously, advisedly and directly by writing or printing to maintain and affirm that any person has a right to the Crown otherwise than according to the Act of Settlement and Acts of Union, or that the Crown and Parliament cannot pass statutes for the limitation of the succession to the Crown.[12][13] It was praemunire to say so in speech.[14] These provisions were extended to Scotland by the Treason Act 1708, and were repealed in 1967 (however see the Treason Act 1702 which makes similar provision).

Anne died on 1 August 1714 and was succeeded as a result of the Act of Settlement 1701 by the Elector of Hanover, George Louis, as King George I, who arrived in Great Britain on 18 September 1714.[8]

Sections 1 to 3 were repealed by the Criminal Law Act 1967.[15] The whole Act was formally repealed in the Republic of Ireland by the Statute Law Revision Act 2007.[16]

This Act is not to be confused with 6 Ann. c.14, which is entitled "An act for the better security of Her Majesty's person and government" but which is not about treason.

See also


  1. ^ The citation of this Act by this short title was authorised by section 1 of, and Schedule 1 to, the Short Titles Act 1896. Due to the repeal of those provisions, it is now authorised by section 19(2) of the Interpretation Act 1978.
  2. ^ This Act is chapter 7 in the common printed editions. (See Statute Law Database, "Introduction" note X1.
  3. ^ The Chronological Table of the Statutes, 1235-2010. The Stationery Office. 2011. ISBN 978-0-11-840509-6. Part I. Page 79, read with pages viii and x.
  4. ^ Section 10
  5. ^ Sections 12 and 13
  6. ^ Section 14
  7. ^ Section 17
  8. ^ a b Ann Lyon (2003). Constitutional History of the UK. Routledge Cavendish. p. 279. ISBN 9781859417461. Retrieved 2008.
  9. ^ Section IV
  10. ^ Section V
  11. ^
  12. ^ Section 1
  13. ^ Craies, William Feilden (1911). "Treason" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 27 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 224.
  14. ^ Section 2
  15. ^ Part I of Schedule 4.
  16. ^ "Legislation Directory: Statutes of Great Britain (1707-1800)". Irish Statute Book. Retrieved 2015. 1707 (6 Ann.) c. 41 // Succession to the Crown Act 1707 // Repealed // 28/2007, ss. 2, 3 and Schedule 2, Part 3

External links

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