The Act of Settlement

The Act of Settlement of 1701 was designed to secure the Protestant succession to the throne, and to strengthen the guarantees for ensuring parliamentary system of government. The constitutional provisions of this act was: (a) It provided that after the death of William and his sister-in-law, Anne, without heirs the English crown was to pass to Electress Sophia  was the grand-daughter of James I of England. There are other nearer heirs but they were all passed over as Catholics. (b) All future kings must belong to the Church of England. (c) England must not be involved in any foreign war without the consent of Parliament. (d) Judges were to receive fixed salaries and were not to be removed from their office except on petition by parliament to the king. This secured the independence of the judges for they were to hold office not at the king’s pleasure but as long as they behaved themselves well. (e) No royal pardon could be produced as an answer to impeachment. This clause finally established the responsibility of the king’s ministers for all acts of state. The Act of Settlement not only addressed the dynastic and religious aspects of succession, it also further restricted the powers and prerogatives of the Crown.