Act of Settlement 1701

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The Act of Settlement is an act of the Parliament of England, originally filed in 1700, and passed in 1701, to settle the succession to the English throne on the Electress Sophia of Hanover—a granddaughter of James I—and her Protestant heirs. The act was later extended to Scotland as a result of the Treaty of Union (Article II), enacted in the Acts of Union 1707 before it was ever needed. Along with the Bill of Rights 1689, it remains today one of the main constitutional laws governing the succession to not only the throne of the United Kingdom, but, following British colonialism, the resultant doctrine of reception, and independence, also to those of the other Commonwealth realms, whether by willing deference to the act as a British statute or as a patriated part of the particular realm's constitution.[1] Since the implementation of the Statute of Westminster in each of the Commonwealth realms (on successive dates from 1931 onwards), the Act of Settlement cannot be altered in any realm except by that realm's own parliament, and then, by convention, and as it touches on the succession to the shared throne, only with the consent of all the other realms.[2]

Because of a change in the way bills are named, the act is also sometimes referred to as the Act of Settlement 1700. The measure contains neither date in its title, making the minor name ambiguity in some references to it now a matter of mere historical trivia. Today it is generally referred to as the Act of Settlement 1701.


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