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|The Bill of Rights (1688 or 1689)|
|Ratified||December 16, 1689|
|Location||National Archives of the United Kingdom|
|Author(s)||Parliament of England|
|Purpose||Ensure certain freedoms and ensure a Protestant political supremacy.|
Michael Wills MP introduces a national discussion on a possible Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.
The Bill of Rights is an Act of the Parliament of England passed on 16 December 1689. It was a restatement in statutory form of the Declaration of Right presented by theConvention Parliament to William and Mary in March 1689 (or 1688 by Old Style dating), inviting them to become joint sovereigns of England. It lays down limits on the powers of the crown and sets out the rights of Parliament and rules for freedom of speech in Parliament, the requirement to regular elections to Parliament and the right to petition the monarch without fear of retribution. It reestablished the liberty of Protestants to have arms for their defence within the rule of law, and condemned James II of England for "causing several good subjects being Protestants to be disarmed at the same time when papistswere both armed and employed contrary to law".
These ideas about rights reflected those of the political thinker John Locke and they quickly became popular in England. It also sets out—or, in the view of its drafters, restates—certain constitutional requirements of the Crown to seek the consent of the people, as represented in Parliament.
Along with the Act of Settlement (1700 or 1701), the Bill of Rights is still in effect. It is one of the main constitutional laws governing the succession to the throne of the United Kingdom and—following British colonialism, the resultant doctrine of reception, and independence—to the thrones of those other Commonwealth realms, by willing deference to the Act as a British statute or as a patriated part of the particular realm's constitution. Since the implementation of the Statute of Westminster 1931 in each of the Commonwealth realms (on successive dates from 1931 onwards) the Bill of Rights 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.
In the United Kingdom, the Bill of Rights is further accompanied by the Magna Carta, thePetition of Right, Habeas Corpus Act 1679 and Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 as some of the basic documents of the uncodified British constitution. A separate but similar document, theClaim of Right Act, applies in Scotland. The Bill of Rights (1688 or 1689) was one of the inspirations for the United States Bill of Rights.
Provisions of the Act
The Bill of Rights laid out certain basic rights for (at the time) all Englishmen. The Act set out that there should be:
Certain acts of James II were also specifically named and declared illegal by the Bill of Rights, while James' flight from England in the wake of the Glorious Revolution was also declared to be an abdication of the throne.
Also, in a prelude to the Act of Settlement to come twelve years later, the Bill of Rights barred Roman Catholics from the throne of England as "it hath been found by experience that it is inconsistent with the safety and welfare of this Protestant kingdom to be governed by a papist prince"; thus William III and Mary II were named as the successors of James VII and II and that the throne would pass from them first to Mary's heirs, then to her sister, Princess Anne of Denmark and her heirs and, further, to any heirs of William by a later marriage. The monarch was further required to swear a coronation oath to maintain the Protestant religion.
Augmentation and effect
The Bill of Rights was later supplemented by the Act of Settlement in 1701 (while the Claim of Right Act in Scotland was supplemented by the Act of Union, 1707). Both the Bill of Rights and the Claim of Right contributed a great deal to the establishment of the concept of parliamentary sovereignty and the curtailment of the powers of the monarch. Leading, ultimately, to the establishment ofconstitutional monarchy, while also (along with the Penal Laws) settling the political and religious turmoil that had convulsed Scotland, England and Ireland in the 17th century.
It was a predecessor of the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, the United States Bill of Rights, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights. For example, as with the Bill of Rights, the US constitution prohibits excessive bail and "cruel and unusual punishments."
Similarly, "cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments" are banned under Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The bill continues to constantly change and be cited in legal proceedings in the Commonwealth realms. For instance, on 21 July 1995 a libel case brought by Neil Hamilton (then a member of parliament) against The Guardian was stopped after Justice May ruled that the Bill of Rights' prohibition on the courts' ability to question parliamentary proceedings would prevent The Guardian from obtaining a fair hearing. Section 13 of the Defamation Act 1996, was subsequently enacted to permit MPs to waive their parliamentary privilege and thus cite their own speeches if relevant to litigation.
The Bill of Rights was also invoked in New Zealand in the 1976 case of Fitzgerald v. Muldoon and Others,which centred on the purporting of newly appointed Prime Minister Robert Muldoon that he would advise the Governor-General to abolish a superannuationscheme established by the New Zealand Superannuation Act, 1974, without new legislation. Muldoon felt that the dissolution would be immediate and he would later introduce a bill in parliament to retroactively make the abolition legal. This claim was challenged in court and the Chief Justice declared that Muldoon's actions were illegal as they had violated Article 1 of the Bill of Rights, which provides "that the pretended power of dispensing with laws or the execution of laws by regal authority...is illegal."
This Act was retained for the Republic of Ireland by section 2(2)(a) of, and Part 2 of Schedule 1 to, the Statute Law Revision Act 2007. Section 2(3) of that Act repealed:
Two special designs of the British commemorative two pound coins were issued in the United Kingdom in 1989 to celebrate thetercentenary of the Glorious Revolution. One referred to the Bill of Rights and the other to the Claim of Right. Both depict the Royal Cypher of William and Mary and the mace of the House of Commons, one also shows a representation of the St Edward's Crown and another the Crown of Scotland.
In May 2011, the Bill of Rights was inscribed in UNESCO's UK Memory of the World Register.
English Bill of Rights 1689
An Act Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Settling the Succession of the Crown
Whereas the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons assembled at Westminster, lawfully, fully and freely representing all the estates of the people of this realm, did upon the thirteenth day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred eighty-eight [old style date] present unto their Majesties, then called and known by the names and style of William and Mary, prince and princess of Orange, being present in their proper persons, a certain declaration in writing made by the said Lords and Commons in the words following, viz.:
Whereas the late King James the Second, by the assistance of divers evil counsellors, judges and ministers employed by him, did endeavour to subvert and extirpate the Protestant religion and the laws and liberties of this kingdom;
By assuming and exercising a power of dispensing with and suspending of laws and the execution of laws without consent of Parliament;
By committing and prosecuting divers worthy prelates for humbly petitioning to be excused from concurring to the said assumed power;
By issuing and causing to be executed a commission under the great seal for erecting a court called the Court of Commissioners for Ecclesiastical Causes;
By levying money for and to the use of the Crown by pretence of prerogative for other time and in other manner than the same was granted by Parliament;
By raising and keeping a standing army within this kingdom in time of peace without consent of Parliament, and quartering soldiers contrary to law;
By causing several good subjects being Protestants to be disarmed at the same time when papists were both armed and employed contrary to law;
By violating the freedom of election of members to serve in Parliament;
By prosecutions in the Court of King's Bench for matters and causes cognizable only in Parliament, and by divers other arbitrary and illegal courses;
And whereas of late years partial corrupt and unqualified persons have been returned and served on juries in trials, and particularly divers jurors in trials for high treason which were not freeholders;
And excessive bail hath been required of persons committed in criminal cases to elude the benefit of the laws made for the liberty of the subjects;
And excessive fines have been imposed;
And illegal and cruel punishments inflicted;
And several grants and promises made of fines and forfeitures before any conviction or judgment against the persons upon whom the same were to be levied;
All which are utterly and directly contrary to the known laws and statutes and freedom of this realm;
And whereas the said late King James the Second having abdicated the government and the throne being thereby vacant, his Highness the prince of Orange (whom it hath pleased Almighty God to make the glorious instrument of delivering this kingdom from popery and arbitrary power) did (by the advice of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and divers principal persons of the Commons) cause letters to be written to the Lords Spiritual and Temporal being Protestants, and other letters to the several counties, cities, universities, boroughs and cinque ports, for the choosing of such persons to represent them as were of right to be sent to Parliament, to meet and sit at Westminster upon the two and twentieth day of January in this year one thousand six hundred eighty and eight [old style date], in order to such an establishment as that their religion, laws and liberties might not again be in danger of being subverted, upon which letters elections having been accordingly made;
And thereupon the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons, pursuant to their respective letters and elections, being now assembled in a full and free representative of this nation, taking into their most serious consideration the best means for attaining the ends aforesaid, do in the first place (as their ancestors in like case have usually done) for the vindicating and asserting their ancient rights and liberties declare
That the pretended power of suspending the laws or the execution of laws by regal authority without consent of Parliament is illegal;
That the pretended power of dispensing with laws or the execution of laws by regal authority, as it hath been assumed and exercised of late, is illegal;
That the commission for erecting the late Court of Commissioners for Ecclesiastical Causes, and all other commissions and courts of like nature, are illegal and pernicious;
That levying money for or to the use of the Crown by pretence of prerogative, without grant of Parliament, for longer time, or in other manner than the same is or shall be granted, is illegal;
That it is the right of the subjects to petition the king, and all commitments and prosecutions for such petitioning are illegal;
That the raising or keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace, unless it be with consent of Parliament, is against law;
That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law;
That election of members of Parliament ought to be free;
That the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament;
That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted;
That jurors ought to be duly impanelled and returned, and jurors which pass upon men in trials for high treason ought to be freeholders;
That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void;
And that for redress of all grievances, and for the amending, strengthening and preserving of the laws, Parliaments ought to be held frequently.
And they do claim, demand and insist upon all and singular the premises as their undoubted rights and liberties, and that no declarations, judgments, doings or proceedings to the prejudice of the people in any of the said premises ought in any wise to be drawn hereafter into consequence or example; to which demand of their rights they are particularly encouraged by the declaration of his Highness the prince of Orange as being the only means for obtaining a full redress and remedy therein. Having therefore an entire confidence that his said Highness the prince of Orange will perfect the deliverance so far advanced by him, and will still preserve them from the violation of their rights which they have here asserted, and from all other attempts upon their religion, rights and liberties, the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons assembled at Westminster do resolve that Williamand Mary, prince and princess of Orange, be and be declared king and queen of England, France and Ireland and the dominions thereunto belonging, to hold the crown and royal dignity of the said kingdoms and dominions to them, the said prince and princess, during their lives and the life of the survivor to them, and that the sole and full exercise of the regal power be only in and executed by the said prince of Orange in the names of the said prince and princess during their joint lives, and after their deceases the said crown and royal dignity of the same kingdoms and dominions to be to the heirs of the body of the said princess, and for default of such issue to the Princess Anne of Denmark and the heirs of her body, and for default of such issue to the heirs of the body of the said prince of Orange. And the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons do pray the said prince and princess to accept the same accordingly.
And that the oaths hereafter mentioned be taken by all persons of whom the oaths have allegiance and supremacy might be required by law, instead of them; and that the said oaths of allegiance and supremacy be abrogated.
I, A.B., do sincerely promise and swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to their Majesties King William and Queen Mary. So help me God.
I, A.B., do swear that I do from my heart abhor, detest and abjure as impious and heretical this damnable doctrine and position, that princes excommunicated or deprived by the Pope or any authority of the see of Rome may be deposed or murdered by their subjects or any other whatsoever. And I do declare that no foreign prince, person, prelate, state or potentate hath or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within this realm. So help me God.
Upon which their said Majesties did accept the crown and royal dignity of the kingdoms of England, France and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging, according to the resolution and desire of the said Lords and Commons contained in the said declaration. And thereupon their Majesties were pleased that the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons, being the two Houses of Parliament, should continue to sit, and with their Majesties' royal concurrence make effectual provision for the settlement of the religion, laws and liberties of this kingdom, so that the same for the future might not be in danger again of being subverted, to which the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons did agree, and proceed to act accordingly. Now in pursuance of the premises the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons in Parliament assembled, for the ratifying, confirming and establishing the said declaration and the articles, clauses, matters and things therein contained by the force of law made in due form by authority of Parliament, do pray that it may be declared and enacted that all and singular the rights and liberties asserted and claimed in the said declaration are the true, ancient and indubitable rights and liberties of the people of this kingdom, and so shall be esteemed, allowed, adjudged, deemed and taken to be; and that all and every the particulars aforesaid shall be firmly and strictly holden and observed as they are expressed in the said declaration, and all officers and ministers whatsoever shall serve their Majesties and their successors according to the same in all time to come. And the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons, seriously considering how it hath pleased Almighty God in his marvellous providence and merciful goodness to this nation to provide and preserve their said Majesties' royal persons most happily to reign over us upon the throne of their ancestors, for which they render unto him from the bottom of their hearts their humblest thanks and praises, do truly, firmly, assuredly and in the sincerity of their hearts think, and do hereby recognize, acknowledge and declare, that King James the Second having abdicated the government, and their Majesties having accepted the crown and royal dignity as aforesaid, their said Majesties did become, were, are and of right ought to be by the laws of this realm our sovereign liege lord and lady, king and queen of England, France and Ireland and the dominions thereunto belonging, in and to whose princely persons the royal state, crown and dignity of the said realms with all honours, styles, titles, regalities, prerogatives, powers, jurisdictions and authorities to the same belonging and appertaining are most fully, rightfully and entirely invested and incorporated, united and annexed. And for preventing all questions and divisions in this realm by reason of any pretended titles to the crown, and for preserving a certainty in the succession thereof, in and upon which the unity, peace, tranquility and safety of this nation doth under God wholly consist and depend, the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons do beseech their Majesties that it may be enacted, established and declared, that the crown and regal government of the said kingdoms and dominions, with all and singular the premises thereunto belonging and appertaining, shall be and continue to their said Majesties and the survivor of them during their lives and the life of the survivor of them, and that the entire, perfect and full exercise of the regal power and government be only in and executed by his Majesty in the names of both their Majesties during their joint lives; and after their deceases the said crown and premises shall be and remain to the heirs of the body of her Majesty, and for default of such issue to her Royal Highness the Princess Anne of Denmark and the heirs of the body of his said Majesty; and thereunto the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons do in the name of all the people aforesaid most humbly and faithfully submit themselves, their heirs and posterities for ever, and do faithfully promise that they will stand to, maintain and defend their said Majesties, and also the limitation and succession of the crown herein specified and contained, to the utmost of their powers with their lives and estates against all persons whatsoever that shall attempt anything to the contrary. And whereas it hath been found by experience that it is inconsistent with the safety and welfare of this Protestant kingdom to be governed by a popish prince, or by any king or queen marrying a papist, the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons do further pray that it may be enacted, that all and every person and persons that is, are or shall be reconciled to or shall hold communion with the see or Church of Rome, or shall profess the popish religion, or shall marry a papist, shall be excluded and be for ever incapable to inherit, possess or enjoy the crown and government of this realm and Ireland and the dominions thereunto belonging or any part of the same, or to have, use or exercise any regal power, authority or jurisdiction within the same; and in all and every such case or cases the people of these realms shall be and are hereby absolved of their allegiance; and the said crown and government shall from time to time descend to and be enjoyed by such person or persons being Protestants as should have inherited and enjoyed the same in case the said person or persons so reconciled, holding communion or professing or marrying as aforesaid were naturally dead; and that every king and queen of this realm who at any time hereafter shall come to and succeed in the imperial crown of this kingdom shall on the first day of the meeting of the first Parliament next after his or her coming to the crown, sitting in his or her throne in the House of Peers in the presence of the Lords and Commons therein assembled, or at his or her coronation before such person or persons who shall administer the coronation oath to him or her at the time of his or her taking the said oath (which shall first happen), make, subscribe and audibly repeat the declaration mentioned in the statute made in the thirtieth year of the reign of King Charles the Second entitled, _An Act for the more effectual preserving the king's person and government by disabling papists from sitting in either House of Parliament._ But if it shall happen that such king or queen upon his or her succession to the crown of this realm shall be under the age of twelve years, then every such king or queen shall make, subscribe and audibly repeat the same declaration at his or her coronation or the first day of the meeting of the first Parliament as aforesaid which shall first happen after such king or queen shall have attained the said age of twelve years. All which their Majesties are contented and pleased shall be declared, enacted and established by authority of this present Parliament, and shall stand, remain and be the law of this realm for ever; and the same are by their said Majesties, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons in Parliament assembled and by the authority of the same, declared, enacted and established accordingly.
II. And be it further declared and enacted by the authority aforesaid, that from and after this present session of Parliament no dispensation by _non obstante_ of or to any statute or any part thereof shall be allowed, but that the same shall be held void and of no effect, except a dispensation be allowed of in such statute, and except in such cases as shall be specially provided for by one or more bill or bills to be passed during this present session of Parliament.
III. Provided that no charter or grant or pardon granted before the three and twentieth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred eighty-nine shall be any ways impeached or invalidated by this Act, but that the same shall be and remain of the same force and effect in law and no other than as if this Act had never been made.
Below I do attach the Video Clip by:
Speaker(s): Professor Conor Gearty, Professor Francesca Klug, Dr Michael Pinto-Duschinsky
Recorded on 22 November 2012 in Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building.
A debate on the value of the Human Rights Act against a British Bill of Rights.
Conor Gearty is professor of law at LSE.
Francesca Klug is a professorial research fellow at LSE and director of the Human Rights Futures Project.
Michael Pinto-Duschinsky is a senior consultant on constitutional affairs at Policy Exchange and was formerly a member of the UK commission on a bill of rights.
Adrian Sanders, Liberal Democrat MP for Torbay, on the need for a fair voting system, a written constitution and a Bill of RIghts in the UK.
Bill of Rights 
1688 CHAPTER 2 1 Will and Mar Sess 2
An Act declareing the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Setleing the Succession of the Crowne.
X1 Whereas the Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Comons assembled at Westminster lawfully fully and freely representing all the Estates of the People of this Realme did upon the thirteenth day of February in the yeare of our Lord one thousand six hundred eighty eight present unto their Majesties then called and known by the Names and Stile of William and Mary Prince and Princesse of Orange being present in their proper Persons a certaine Declaration in Writeing made by the said Lords and Comons in the Words following viz
The Heads of Declaration of Lords and Commons, recited.
Whereas the late King James the Second by the Assistance of diverse evill Councellors Judges and Ministers imployed by him did endeavour to subvert and extirpate the Protestant Religion and the Lawes and Liberties of this Kingdome.
Dispensing and Suspending Power.
By Assumeing and Exerciseing a Power of Dispensing with and Suspending of Lawes and the Execution of Lawes without Consent of Parlyament.
By Committing and Prosecuting diverse Worthy Prelates for humbly Petitioning to be excused from Concurring to the said Assumed Power.
By issueing and causeing to be executed a Commission under the Great Seale for Erecting a Court called The Court of Commissioners for Ecclesiasticall Causes.
By Levying Money for and to the Use of the Crowne by pretence of Prerogative for other time and in other manner then the same was granted by Parlyament.
By raising and keeping a Standing Army within this Kingdome in time of Peace without Consent of Parlyament and Quartering Soldiers contrary to Law.
Disarming Protestants, &c.
By causing severall good Subjects being Protestants to be disarmed at the same time when Papists were both Armed and Imployed contrary to Law.
By Violating the Freedome of Election of Members to serve in Parlyament.
Il legal Prosecutions.
By Prosecutions in the Court of Kings Bench for Matters and Causes cognizable onely in Parlyament and by diverse other Arbitrary and Illegall Courses.
And whereas of late yeares Partiall Corrupt and Unqualifyed Persons have beene returned and served on Juryes in Tryalls and particularly diverse Jurors in Tryalls for High Treason which were not Freeholders,
And excessive Baile hath beene required of Persons committed in Criminall Cases to elude the Benefitt of the Lawes made for the Liberty of the Subjects.
And excessive Fines have beene imposed.
And illegall and cruell Punishments inflicted.
Grants of Fines, &c. before Conviction, &c.
And severall Grants and Promises made of Fines and Forfeitures before any Conviction or Judgement against the Persons upon whome the same were to be levyed. All which are utterly directly contrary to the knowne Lawes and Statutes and Freedome of this Realme.
Recital that the late King James II. had abdicated the Government, and that the Throne was vacant, and that the Prince of Orange had written Letters to the Lords and Commons for the choosing Representatives in Parliament.
And whereas the said late King James the Second haveing Abdicated the Government and the Throne being thereby Vacant His[X2Hignesse] the Prince of Orange (whome it hath pleased Almighty God to make the glorious Instrument of Delivering this Kingdome from Popery and Arbitrary Power) did (by the Advice of the Lords Spirituall and Temporall and diverse principall Persons of the Commons) cause Letters to be written to the Lords Spirituall and Temporall being Protestants and other Letters to the severall Countyes Cityes Universities Burroughs and Cinque Ports for the Choosing of such Persons to represent them as were of right to be sent to Parlyament to meete and sitt at Westminster upon the two and twentyeth day of January in this Yeare one thousand six hundred eighty and eight in order to such an Establishment as that their Religion Lawes and Liberties might not againe be in danger of being Subverted, Upon which Letters Elections haveing beene accordingly made.
The Subject’s Rights.
And thereupon the said Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons pursuant to their respective Letters and Elections being now assembled in a full and free Representative of this Nation takeing into their most serious Consideration the best meanes for attaining the Ends aforesaid Doe in the first place (as their Auncestors in like Case have usually done) for the Vindicating and Asserting their auntient Rights and Liberties, Declare
That the pretended Power of Suspending of Laws or the Execution of Laws by Regall Authority without Consent of Parlyament is illegall.
Late dispensing Power.
That the pretended Power of Dispensing with Laws or the Execution of Laws by Regall Authoritie as it hath beene assumed and exercised of late is illegall.
Ecclesiastical Courts illegal.
That the Commission for erecting the late Court of Commissioners for Ecclesiasticall Causes and all other Commissions and Courts of like nature are Illegall and Pernicious.
That levying Money for or to the Use of the Crowne by pretence of Prerogative without Grant of Parlyament for longer time or in other manner then the same is or shall be granted is Illegall.
Right to petition.
That it is the Right of the Subjects to petition the King and all Commitments and Prosecutions for such Petitioning are Illegall.
That the raising or keeping a standing Army within the Kingdome in time of Peace unlesse it be with Consent of Parlyament is against Law.
That the Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their Defence suitable to their Conditions and as allowed by Law.
Freedom of Election.
That Election of Members of Parlyament ought to be free.
Freedom of Speech.
That the Freedome of Speech and Debates or Proceedings in Parlyament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any Court or Place out of Parlyament.
That excessive Baile ought not to be required nor excessive Fines imposed nor cruell and unusuall Punishments inflicted.
That Jurors ought to be duely impannelled and returned . . . F1
Grants of Forfeitures.
That all Grants and Promises of Fines and Forfeitures of particular persons before Conviction are illegall and void.
And that for Redresse of all Grievances and for the amending strengthening and preserveing of the Lawes Parlyaments ought to be held frequently.
The said Rights claimed. Tender of the Crown. Regal Power exercised. Limitation of the Crown.
And they doe Claime Demand and Insist upon all and singular the Premises as their undoubted Rights and Liberties and that noe Declarations Judgements Doeings or Proceedings to the Prejudice of the People in any of the said Premisses ought in any wise to be drawne hereafter into Consequence or Example. To which Demand of their Rights they are particularly encouraged by the Declaration of this Highnesse the Prince of Orange as being the onely meanes for obtaining a full Redresse and Remedy therein. Haveing therefore an intire Confidence That his said Highnesse the Prince of Orange will perfect the Deliverance soe farr advanced by him and will still preserve them from the Violation of their Rights which they have here asserted and from all other Attempts upon their Religion Rights and Liberties. The said Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons assembled at Westminster doe Resolve That William and Mary Prince and Princesse of Orange be and be declared King and Queene of England France and Ireland and the Dominions thereunto belonging to hold the Crowne and Royall Dignity of the said Kingdomes and Dominions to them the said Prince and Princesse dureing their Lives and the Life of the Survivour of them And that the sole and full Exercise of the Regall Power be onely in and executed by the said Prince of Orange in the Names of the said Prince and Princesse dureing their joynt Lives And after their Deceases the said Crowne and Royall Dignitie of the said Kingdoms and Dominions to be to the Heires of the Body of the said Princesse And for default of such Issue to the Princesse Anne of Denmarke and the Heires of her Body And for default of such Issue to the Heires of the Body of the said Prince of Orange. And the Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons doe pray the said Prince and (X3) Princesse to accept the same accordingly.
New Oaths of Allegiance, &c.
And that the Oathes hereafter mentioned be taken by all Persons of whome the Oathes of Allegiance and Supremacy might be required by Law instead of them And that the said Oathes of Allegiance and Supremacy be abrogated.
I A B doe sincerely promise and sweare That I will be faithfull and beare true Allegiance to their Majestyes King William and Queene Mary Soe helpe me God.
I A B doe sweare That I doe from my Heart Abhorr, Detest and Abjure as Impious and Hereticall this damnable Doctrine and Position That Princes Excommunicated or Deprived by the Pope or any Authority of the See of Rome may be deposed or murdered by their Subjects or any other whatsoever. And I doe declare That noe Forreigne Prince Person Prelate, State or Potentate hath or ought to have any Jurisdiction Power Superiority Preeminence or Authoritie Ecclesiasticall or Spirituall within this Realme Soe helpe me God.
Acceptance of the Crown. The Two Houses to sit. Subjects’ Liberties to be allowed, and Ministers hereafter to serve according to the same. William and Mary declared King and Queen. Limitation of the Crown. Papists debarred the Crown. Every King, &c. shall make the Declaration of 30 Car. II. If under 12 Years old, to be done after Attainment thereof. King’s and Queen’s Assent
Upon which their said Majestyes did accept the Crowne and Royall Dignitie of the Kingdoms of England France and Ireland and the Dominions thereunto belonging according to the Resolution and Desire of the said Lords and Commons contained in the said Declaration. And thereupon their Majestyes were pleased That the said Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons being the two Houses of Parlyament should continue to sitt and with their Majesties Royall Concurrence make effectuall Provision for the Setlement of the Religion Lawes and Liberties of this Kingdome soe that the same for the future might not be in danger againe of being subverted, To which the said Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons did agree and proceede to act accordingly. Now in pursuance of the Premisses the said Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons in Parlyament assembled for the ratifying confirming and establishing the said Declaration and the Articles Clauses Matters and Things therein contained by the Force of a Law made in due Forme by Authority of Parlyament doe pray that it may be declared and enacted That all and singular the Rights and Liberties asserted and claimed in the said Declaration are the true auntient and indubitable Rights and Liberties of the People of this Kingdome and soe shall be esteemed allowed adjudged deemed and taken to be and that all and every the particulars aforesaid shall be firmly and strictly holden and observed as they are expressed in the said Declaration And all Officers and Ministers whatsoever shall serve their Majestyes and their Successors according to the same in all times to come. And the said Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons seriously considering how it hath pleased Almighty God in his marvellous Providence and mercifull Goodness to this Nation to provide and preserve their said Majestyes Royall Persons most happily to Raigne over us upon the Throne of their Auncestors for which they render unto him from the bottome of their Hearts their humblest Thanks and Praises doe truely firmely assuredly and in the Sincerity of their Hearts thinke and doe hereby recognize acknowledge and declare That King James the Second haveing abdicated the Government and their Majestyes haveing accepted the Crowne and Royall Dignity [X4as] aforesaid Their said Majestyes did become were are and of right ought to be by the Lawes of this Realme our Soveraigne Liege Lord and Lady King and Queene of England France and Ireland and the Dominions thereunto belonging in and to whose Princely Persons the Royall State Crowne and Dignity of the said Realmes with all Honours Stiles Titles Regalities Prerogatives Powers Jurisdictions and Authorities to the same belonging and appertaining are most fully rightfully and intirely invested and incorporated united and annexed And for preventing all Questions and Divisions in this Realme by reason of any pretended Titles to the Crowne and for preserveing a Certainty in the Succession thereof in and upon which the Unity Peace Tranquillity and Safety of this Nation doth under God wholly consist and depend The said Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons doe beseech their Majestyes That it may be enacted established and declared That the Crowne and Regall Government of the said Kingdoms and Dominions with all and singular the Premisses thereunto belonging and appertaining shall bee and continue to their said Majestyes and the Survivour of them dureing their Lives and the Life of the Survivour of them And that the entire perfect and full Exercise of the Regall Power and Government be onely in and executed by his Majestie in the Names of both their Majestyes dureing their joynt Lives And after their deceases the said Crowne and Premisses shall be and remaine to the Heires of the Body of her Majestie and for default of such Issue to her Royall Highnesse the Princess Anne of Denmarke and the Heires of her Body and for default of such Issue to the Heires of the Body of his said Majestie And thereunto the said Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons doe in the Name of all the People aforesaid most humbly and faithfully submitt themselves their Heires and Posterities for ever and doe faithfully promise That they will stand to maintaine and defend their said Majesties and alsoe the Limitation and Succession of the Crowne herein specified and contained to the utmost of their Powers with their Lives and Estates against all Persons whatsoever that shall attempt any thing to the contrary. And whereas it hath beene found by Experience that it is inconsistent with the Safety and Welfaire of this Protestant Kingdome to be governed by a Popish Prince or by any King or Queene marrying a Papist the said Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons doe further pray that it may be enacted That all and every person and persons that is are or shall be reconciled to or shall hold Communion with the See or Church of Rome or shall professe the Popish Religion or shall marry a Papist shall be excluded and be for ever uncapeable to inherit possesse or enjoy the Crowne and Government of this Realme and Ireland and the Dominions thereunto belonging or any part of the same or to have use or exercise any Regall Power Authoritie or Jurisdiction within the same [X5And in all and every such Case or Cases the People of these Realmes shall be and are hereby absolved of their Allegiance] And the said Crowne and Government shall from time to time descend to and be enjoyed by such person or persons being Protestants as should have inherited and enjoyed the same in case the said person or persons soe reconciled holding Communion or Professing or Marrying as aforesaid were naturally dead [X6And that every King and Queene of this Realme who at any time hereafter shall come to and succeede in the Imperiall Crowne of this Kingdome shall on the first day of the meeting of the first Parlyament next after his or her comeing to the Crowne sitting in his or her Throne in the House of Peeres in the presence of the Lords and Commons therein assembled or at his or her Coronation before such person or persons who shall administer the Coronation Oath to him or her at the time of his or her takeing the said Oath (which shall first happen) make subscribe and audibly repeate the Declaration mentioned in the Statute made in the thirtyeth yeare of the Raigne of King Charles the Second Entituled An Act for the more effectuall Preserveing the Kings Person and Government by disableing Papists from sitting in either House of Parlyament But if it shall happen that such King or Queene upon his or her Succession to the Crowne of this Realme shall be under the Age of twelve yeares then every such King or Queene shall make subscribe and audibly repeate the said Declaration at his or her Coronation or the first day of the meeting of the first Parlyament as aforesaid which shall first happen after such King or Queene shall have attained the said Age of twelve yeares.] All which Their Majestyes are contented and pleased shall be declared enacted and established by authoritie of this present Parliament and shall stand remaine and be the Law of this Realme for ever And the same are by their said Majesties by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons in Parlyament assembled and by the authoritie of the same declared enacted and established accordingly
X1The Bill of Rights is assigned to the year 1688 on legislation.gov.uk (as it was previously in successive official editions of the revised statutes from which the online version is derived) although the Act received Royal Assent on 16th December 1689. This follows the practice adopted in The Statutes of the Realm, Vol. VI (1819), in the Chronological Table in that volume and all subsequent Chronological Tables of the Statutes, which attach all the Acts in 1 Will and Mar sess 2 to the year 1688. The first Parliament of William and Mary (the Convention Parliament) convened on 13th February 1689 (1688 in the old style calendar - until 1st Jan 1752 the calendar year began on March 25th). It appears that all the Acts of that Parliament (both sessions) were treated as being Acts of 1688 using the old method of reckoning, according to which, until 1793, all Acts passed in a session of Parliament with no specified commencement date were deemed to be passed in the year in which that session began (see Acts of Parliament (Commencement) Act 1793 (c 13)). The Short Titles Act 1896 (c. 14) gave to chapter 2 of 1 Will and Mar sess 2 the title "The Bill of Rights", without attributing it to any calendar year. In the Republic of Ireland, the Short Titles Act 1896 (c 14) has been amended to add "1688" to the short title of The Bill of Rights as it continues to have effect there (see Statute Law Revision Act 2007, Act of the Oireachtas No 28 of 2007, s 5(a)).
X2Variant reading of the text noted in The Statutes of the Realm as follows: Highnesse O. [O. refers to a collection in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge]
X3Variant reading of the text noted in The Statutes of the Realm as follows: and O. [O. refers to a collection in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge]
X4interlined on the Roll.
X5annexed to the Original Act in a separate Schedule.
X6annexed to the Original Act in a separate Schedule.
F1Words repealed by (E.W.) Juries Act 1825 (c. 50), s. 62 and (N.I.) Statute Law Revision Act 1950 (c. 6), Sch. 1
Modifications etc. (not altering text)
C1Short title "The Bill of Rights" given by Short Titles Act 1896 (c. 14), Sch. 1
C2Act declared to be a Statute by Crown and Parliament Recognition Act 1689 (c. 1)
C3S. 1 amended by Accession Declaration Act 1910 (c. 29), s. 1
II Non obstantes made void.
Noe Dispensation by Non obstante of or to any Statute or any part thereof shall be allowed but the same shall be held void and of noe effect Except a Dispensation be allowed of in such Statute . . . F1
F1Words repealed by Statute Law Revision Act 1948 (c. 62), Sch. 1
III. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F1
F1S. 3 repealed by Statute Law Revision Act 1867 (c. 59)
Does the UK Need Its Own Bill of Rights?
Divergent views from two men who sat on the Commission on a Bill of Rights, Martin Howe QC and Philippe Sands QC, at Chatham House on 14 January 2013. Chair: Elizabeth Wilmshurst, Chatham House.
Full event audio and transcript:
The legal system is currently structured so as to keep communities subordinate to corporate power. The Community Bill of Rights is a way for communities to assert their inherent rights through the law. This is grassroots activism. It also strips corporations of their personhood where they propose to violate the rights of the community, making corporations subservient to the people as they should be.