sekiharatae (sekiharatae) wrote in little_details,

Questions on hereditary peerages and seats in the House of Lords

I have some questions regarding the inheritance and use of terms such as 'dormant', 'abeyant', 'disclaimed', 'forfeit', etc. with respect to peerages and seats in the House of Lords.  Although I have reviewed Debrett's, the Parliament website, and various pages on wikipedia (including Hereditary Peer, Abeyance, Attainder, the Peerage Act of 1963, House of Lords, and the House of Lords Act of 1999), I am still not completely certain about some specifics.  Any help is appreciated.

The story takes place after the aforementioned Peerage Act of 1963, but before the House of Lords Act.  In all the questions below, I am speaking about hereditary peers, and thus hereditary (and guaranteed, considering the time period) seats in the House of Lords.  For ease of discussion, I'd like to assume that in all cases the inheritance is clear -- there is no question as to who should inherit the title or seat.

Can an under-aged child claim a title (for example, upon the death of his parents)?   If not, would the title be described as dormant?  Abeyant?  Some other term? Would the same term apply to the unclaimed seat in the House of Lords? 

As something of a follow-on to the above:  if an individual can claim a title at or before the age of majority (18), how is the seat in the House of Lords described?  Is it dormant until the peer reaches the age of 21?  This is especially confusing as there is a clause regarding disclaiming a seat in the case of succession before age 21, but claiming one's seat was (at some point) part of the 'right of passage' of inheriting a title.  (So how can you succeed to a peerage without taking your seat?)

If a title and seat have been claimed, but the peer chooses not to attend the House of Lords, is this merely described as being 'absent'?  Or is there some other term?

Thank you in advance.

Mods:  I'm sorry, I'm not sure what the appropriate tags for this are. 
Tags: uk: nobility
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