Dissolution of Parliament

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8.4Parliaments are dissolved either by the passage of time or by proclamation. Under the Septennial Act 1715, a Parliament ceased to exist after seven years from the day on which, by writ of summons, it was appointed to meet; this period was reduced to five years by the Parliament Act 1911 (s 7); the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Act 2022 now provides that ‘If it has not been dissolved earlier, a Parliament dissolves at the beginning of the day that is the fifth anniversary of the day on which it first met.’1 In the exceptional circumstances of world war, the Parliaments which assembled in 1911 and 1935 were prolonged beyond this limit by annual statutes to 1919 and 1945 respectively. Parliament is not dissolved by the demise of the Crown.2


  1. 1. The Septennial Act was repealed by the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, itself repealed by s 1 of the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Act 2022.
  2. 2. Representation of the People Act 1867 (c 102), s 51. Before the Triennial Act 1694 there was no limit to the duration of a Parliament.