Treason Act 1702

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The Treason Act 1702[1] (1 Anne stat. 2 c. 21[2]) is an Act of the Parliament of England, passed to enforce the line of succession to the English throne (today the British throne), previously established by the Bill of Rights 1689 and the Act of Settlement 1701.

The Act makes it treason to "endeavour to deprive or hinder any person who shall be the next in succession to the crown for the time being ... from succeeding after the decease of her Majesty (whom God long preserve) to the imperial crown of this realm and the dominions and territories thereunto belonging".

Originally a capital offence, the penalty was reduced in 1998 to life imprisonment.

Although the Act was passed by the English Parliament, it was later extended to Scotland by the Treason Act 1708, following the Union of the two kingdoms in the previous year. The Parliament of Ireland passed a law to the same effect in 1703, the Treason Act (Ireland) 1703 (c.5). This is still in force in Northern Ireland.

In fiction[edit]

  • In the movie King Ralph, Ralph used the Treason Act of 1702 as his justification in ordering the arrest of Lord Graves (John Hurt) on the grounds that Graves had interfered with Ralph's succession to the throne. After silently going through the Mnemonic Verse, he mentioned it was passed by William III, when in fact it was passed in the first year of Queen Anne's reign.
  • In the movie Johnny English, the "jumped-up frenchman" Pascal Sauvage (John Malkovich), is tried for treason when he tries to seize the throne, and the audience is told the penalty is still death by hanging. However, as the film was released after the penalty was downgraded to life imprisonment in 1998, it renders the imposition of the death penalty inaccurate.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ This Act does not have a statutory short title, but is commonly known by this name; The Stationery Office, Chronological Table of the Statutes, 2007, p.76
  2. ^ Some volumes cite it as c.17

External links[edit]