The Functions of the Parliament in the English Bill of Rights

Topics: Bill Of Rights

The English Bills of Rights of 1689 is an essential constitutional document which separates regal authority from parliamentarian power. From this stage, Parliament is empowered with the rights to legitimize or proscribe the rule of an English sovereign. This Bill of Rights was introduced after The Glorious Revolution where James II was dethroned and this document precludes the possibility of all future Catholic Kings of England. Parliament becomes a dominant branch of government where members are called Lords or Commons. This division of power between Parliament and the Crown represents a rupture from the traditional way of rule according to the dictates of the King.

This step resulted from the despotic, nepotistic, biased and corrupt rule of James II (Catholic King of England). He tried to change laws illegally, executed other laws without the consent of Parliament, and misappropriated funds to himself through heavy taxation, exorbitant bails and fines. In law and in practice he favoured Catholics according them more rights than the Protestants of England.

James II placed himself above the laws of the land violating many statutes of the realm.

The Bill of Rights stipulates conditions to the enthronement of prospective monarchs William III of Orange and Mary of Orange. Members of the Royal Family do have the authority or right neither to tamper with laws nor to change statutes without due process and consultation with the Parliament. The levy of heavy taxes, fines and bails is outlawed to prevent the illegal embezzlement of government funds to the king’s treasury.

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Subjects are empowered to petition the King, hold audience and confer with him on any matters affecting the welfare of the kingdom. Violation of Rights and Liberties based on Religion are outlawed: laws which favour Catholics and which disadvantage Protestants are dissolved. The free election of Members of Parliament is mandated to take place without the interference of the King. Parliamentary proceedings and discussions cannot be disputed by the King. Cruel punishments, executions and fines are banned. Jurors and Judges which try and adjudicate cases must be qualified, and must be freeholders (landowners of the citizenry). The functions of Parliament are set down as those of amending, strengthening and preserving laws as well as deciding upon English royal succession. To attain to this goal, parliamentary sessions are regularized. It is noteworthy that all Parliamentarians are professed Protestants.

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The Functions of the Parliament in the English Bill of Rights. (2021, Dec 23). Retrieved from

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