Changing the Rules of Succession to the Throne

27 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2011

See all articles by Anne Twomey

Anne Twomey

The University of Sydney - Faculty of Law

Date Written: October 12, 2011


The British Government is considering changing the rules of succession to the Crown to remove discrimination against women and Catholics. This article discusses the consequences of this proposal for the 'Realms', being the other fifteen countries of which the Queen is Sovereign. It discusses the relevance of the Statute of Westminster and whether parliamentary assent of the Realms is required. It also analyses the impact of such a change on a number of Realms, including Australia, New Zealand and Canada. It considers whether the British changes would automatically affect who becomes Sovereign in these Realms, or whether each Realm would have to change its own laws. In those Realms that are federations, consideration is also given to the source of constitutional power to make such legislative changes.

Keywords: succession to throne, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Tuvalu, Antigua, Statute of Westminster, Crown, Queen, discrimination, Catholics, Commonwealth of Nations, abdication, Realms, federations, divisibility of Crown

JEL Classification: K10, K30

Suggested Citation

Twomey, Anne, Changing the Rules of Succession to the Throne (October 12, 2011). Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 11/71, Available at SSRN:

Anne Twomey (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney - Faculty of Law ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006

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