The Scottish Parliament and law making
The Scottish Parliament and law making

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

2.2 Royal Assent

The monarch formally assents to a Bill in order for it to pass into law. Royal Assent has never been withheld in recent times. Queen Anne was the last monarch to withhold Royal Assent, when she blocked a Scottish Militia Bill in 1707. The Queen feared a Scottish militia might be turned against the monarchy.

Bills of the UK Parliament receiving Royal Assent on 27 April 2017
Figure 9 Bills of the UK Parliament receiving Royal Assent on 27 April 2017

Since the sixteenth century no monarch has actually signed a Bill themselves. Instead, the monarch  signs what are known as Letters Patent which announce that the monarch has given their assent. Alternatively, the Queen signs a document known as a Commission which commands certain Lords, known as Royal Commissioners, to let both Houses of Parliament know that Royal Assent has been given.

Once Royal Assent has been given, the Bill is an Act of the UK Parliament.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371