Ministerial Orders - as Orders in Council - are actually made by
government ministers and formally passed by the Monarch and the
They are used as an alternative to other
legislative forms when there is good reason, for example emergency.
When the Northern Ireland legislative council was suspended good
government of the province was continued by Orders In Council.
Made by the Queen
Orders in Council, are in theory made by the
Queen after consulting the Council.
cabinet is a committee of the Privy Council so all cabinet ministers,
current and past are Privy Councillors.
Privy Council meetings
President of the Council reads out a list of Orders-in-Council and
the Queen says "Agreed" this one word validates the Orders. These
meetings are over in about five minutes.
There are usually only a handful of privy councillors
meetings of the Privy Council occur only on the death of a monarch and the
accession of a new monarch, when the Council issues a proclamation of the
accession and announces the name of the new Sovereign.
Order in Council banning Al−Qa’ida
In 2003 a Privy Council meeting
made an order that banned dealings with Usama
bin Laden, Al-Qa'ida and the Taliban, the meeting made the order that was
laid before Parliament and was immediately law. The minutes of the
Privy Council meeting are
The meeting was at Sandringham on 21 January 2002 and
became law on 25th January 2002 in the form of
The Al-Qa'ida and
Taliban (United Nations Measures) Order 2002.
The order gave effect to a Resolution of the United Nations
to deal with problems in Afghanistan; it is a major piece of legislation
carrying heavy penalties.
Orders in Council
See below for Orders of
Orders in Council are
issued "by and with the advice of Her Majesty's Privy Council", and are
usually classified as secondary legislation (although some can be primary
legislation), and are made under powers given in a parent Act, so
sometimes the Queen is making orders under the authority given to her by
Parliament in the enabling act, hence Orders In Council are delegated
Used for a wide
variety of purposes, such as for transferring responsibilities between
Government Departments, or where it effects the constitution by extending
legislation to the Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
Orders are usually made under the power
conferred by the parent act (for example, for exercising control over
The Order in Council and the petrol strike
An Order in
Council was used
during the 'Petrol Strike' in 2000 - a fast moving protest about fuel
prices which caused panic buying and dry petrol stations by taking special
powers to preserve fuel supplies.
At a Privy
Council meeting at Balmoral
the Queen approved an order in council:
is imminent in the United Kingdom a threatened emergency affecting fuel
supplies which make it necessary in Her Majesty's Opinion that the
government should temporarily have at its disposal exceptional powers for
controlling the sources and availability of energy"
EU legislation and emergencies.
Orders in Council were used
to transfer powers from Ministers of the UK government to those of the
Examples of these are the
The Scotland Act 1998 (Transfer of Functions
to the Scottish Ministers etc.) Order 2003(Statutory
Instrument 2003 No. 415 (S. 5)) and
Assembly of Wales (Transfer of Functions) Order 1999 (SI 1999/672).
Some Orders in Council are actually Statutory Instruments but we have listed them
separately because most text books do.
Council in particular.
Useful because they can
be made when Parliament is not sitting. Can be made by ministers to have
immediate effect and then be approved by the Privy Council (PC) later
(similar to Royal Assent procedure).
Matters that would
ultra vires if passed
under statutory authority are valid if passed under the
Orders usually laid
in draft before Parliament, and are subject to similar controls as other
types of statutory instrument.
Prerogative orders can
be reviewed, in most cases, by the courts.
In 2007 the Court of Appeal ruled that the
Chagos Islanders had been wrongly expelled by the Foreign Secretary from
their homes in the Indian Ocean.
Dependencies such as Guernsey
The laws passed by the Guernsey parliament must be approved by the Privy
Council, which comes under the jurisdiction of Lord Chancellor.
The Government can also impose laws on dependencies by using an Order in
The Privy Council
Much of the
day-to-day work of the Privy Council Office is concerned with the
Chartered Bodies, the 400 or so institutions, charities and
companies who are incorporated by Royal Charter. The Privy Council also
has an important part to play in respect of certain
statutory regulatory bodies covering a number of professions
and in the world of
Councils are held by
The Queen (she is not always personally present) and are attended by Ministers and the Clerk of the Council. At
each meeting the Council will obtain Her Majesty's formal approval to a
number of Orders which have already been discussed and approved by
Ministers, much as Acts of Parliament become law through the giving of
the Royal Assent after having been debated in Parliament.
An example of this
type of SI is the
General Optical Council (Maximum Penalty) Order 1994 (SI
1994/3327) which increased the maximum penalty that could be made by the
GOCs Disciplinary Committee from £1000 to £1600.
A vast number or
orders bring to an end burials at cemeteries that are full.