According to the Peerage Act 1963, anyone may disclaim a hereditary title of nobility within one year of inheriting it, or within one year of the passage of the Act. Since the latter deadline has long since lapsed, is there currently any way to disclaim or renounce a peerage after having held it for more than a year?

For instance, say the Earl of Exampleshire, who has held the title since 1990, becomes a fervent republican and wishes to completely dissociate himself from any noble rank. Short of lobbying for and obtaining new legislation (possibly in the form of a private act), or being attainted for a heinous crime, is there any legal mechanism by which said Earl could rid himself of his title and all its attendant privileges and obligations?

If the only realistic options involve the consent of the government or the legislative action of Parliament, and the government/Parliament refuses to cooperate, would the Earl have any recourse to the European Court of Human Rights? That is, is there anything in the European Convention on Human Rights that could plausibly be construed as applying to such a case?

  • 2
    One question relating to human rights would be: what does he lose from holding this title? Oct 13 '20 at 12:58
  • 1
    This is one of those really interesting theoretical questions that aren't immediately relevant to most people but help us understand how the law works. Thanks! Oct 13 '20 at 17:04
  • 1
    A disclaimer is a refusal to accept a gift or inheritance which can't be done except as noted. But a sub-monarchy level abdication or renunciation of a title might be possible. It is complicated by the fact that most titles carry nominal obligations (or sometimes not so nominal obligations) in addition to privileges.
    – ohwilleke
    Oct 13 '20 at 22:10
  • @ohwilleke: Thanks for explaining the terminology. I'll edit the question accordingly.
    – Psychonaut
    Oct 14 '20 at 7:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.