What is prorogation of Parliament?

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Published on LexisPSL on 02/09/2019

The following Public Law Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What is prorogation of Parliament?
  • What is prorogation of Parliament?
  • What is the effect of prorogation?
  • Further reading

What is prorogation of Parliament?

What is prorogation of Parliament?

Prorogation is an act which marks the end of a parliamentary session without the dissolution of Parliament. It occurs between sessions, to break a parliamentary deadlock, or before Parliament is formally dissolved prior to a general election. Prorogation differs from adjournment, during which Parliament does not sit for a period of time, but parliamentary business can still continue as before.

Prorogation is a prerogative act. The Crown, by virtue of section 1 of the Prorogation Act 1867, exercises the power to prorogue Parliament on the advice of the Privy Council, however, whether the Crown must follow this advice is contested. In some Commonwealth jurisdictions, prorogation has been challenged, even refused, by the heads of state, eg in Victoria, Australia in 1867, South Western Australia in 1907 and Canada in 2008.

For background reading on prorogation generally, see:

  1. Practice Note: Head of State and Parliament

  2. Commentary: Prorogation and adjournment: Erskine May Parliamentary Practice [8.5]

  3. Commentary: 838. Prorogation by exercise of the royal prerogative: Halsbury’s Laws of England

What is the effect of prorogation?

The immediate effect of prorogation is to bring the current parliamentary session to an end. No business discussed in the previous session may be brought into the new session. The length of prorogation is determined by the Crown’s proclamation, and effected by commission, identifying the range of days

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