Conduct comprising a breach of allegiance owed to the sovereign or the state. Under the Treason Act 1351, high treason included violating the king's wife, eldest unmarried daughter, or wife of the king's eldest son; openly attempting to prevent the heir to the throne from succeeding; and killing the chancellor or any judge while performing their duties. Treason was redefined by the Treason Act 1795 and the principal forms now include: (1) compassing the death or serious injury of the sovereign or his (or her) spouse or eldest son; (2) levying war against the sovereign in his (or her) realm, which includes any insurrection against the authority of the sovereign or of the government that goes beyond riot or violent disorder; (3) giving aid or comfort to the sovereign's enemies in wartime. The penalty for treason (fixed by law) was formerly death but is now life imprisonment.
Subjects: Law — History.