Demise of the Crown

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8.12The demise of the Crown is the only contingency upon which Parliament is required to meet without summons in the usual form. By the Succession to the Crown Act 1707, on the demise of the Crown, Parliament, if sitting, is immediately to proceed to act; and if adjourned or prorogued is immediately to meet and sit. In such circumstances, Parliament has met on Sunday.1 The case of a demise of the Crown after a proclamation has been given summoning a new Parliament is governed by the Representation of the People Act 1985, s 20 (as amended by the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Act 2022); the default is that polling day (and the day that Parliament first meets) is postponed by a fortnight but each of them may, by Royal Proclamation on the advice of the Privy Council, be moved by up to seven days either side of this default 14-day postponement. By the Representation of the People Act 1867,2 the Parliament in being at the demise of the Crown continues as long as it would otherwise have done.


  1. 1. CJ (1714–18) 3; ibid (1757–61) 933; ibid (1820) 89. For other occasions of the demise of the Crown, see ibid (1727–32) 5; ibid (1830) 589; ibid (1837) 490, ibid (1901) 5; ibid (1910) 147; ibid (1935–36) 50; ibid (1936–37) 59; ibid (1951–52) 88.
  2. 2. Section 51.