Bill of Right 1689
What was it?
The Bill of Rights laid out certain basic rights for (at the time) all Englishmen.
•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 for regular elections to Parliament
•and the right to petition the monarch without fear of retribution.
The Act set out that there should be:
•no royal interference with the law. Though the sovereign remains the fount of
justice, he or she cannot unilaterally establish new courts or act as a judge.
•no taxation by Royal Prerogative. The agreement of the parliament became
necessary for the implementation of any new taxes
•freedom to petition the monarch without fear of retribution
•no standing army may be maintained during a time of peace without the consent
•no royal interference in the freedom of the people to have arms for their own
defence as suitable to their class and as allowed by law (simultaneously restoring
rights previously taken from Protestants by James II)
•no royal interference in the election of members of parliament
•no excessive bail or "cruel and unusual" punishments may be imposed
To what extent did these documents mark the beginning of a new constitutional
dispensation in Britain?
•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 of constitutional monarchy, while also
(along with the Penal Laws) (John Locke)
Bill of Rights and the later Act of Settlement and how they related to the conflicts of the
• Settling the political and religious turmoil that had convulsed Scotland,
England and Ireland in the 17th century.
•It reestablished the liberty of Protestants to have arms for their defence within the
rule of law,
•It also includes no right of taxation without Parliament’s agreement (Civil War
was paid for by imposing massive taxation- 15-20% direct tax which lead to
economic recession post war).
•Cahrles I claimed the right to increase taxes and otherwise rule without the
involvement of Parliament, and he eventually provoked the English Civil War. In
1649, he was tried for treason and was beheaded.
•To protect the interests of the Protestant population against subversion 'from
above' by a Catholic Monarch or politicians. No Roman Catholic could ever
become sovreign of England.