Orders of Council

Decisions of the Privy Council are recorded in Orders which have the force of law. Such Orders come in many forms, but the basic distinction is between Orders in Council and Orders of Council.

Orders of Council

These are Orders which do not require personal approval by The Queen, but which can be made by “The Lords of the Privy Council” (that is, Ministers). These can be statutory or Prerogative. Whether statutory Orders are also Statutory Instruments depends on the wording of the particular Act under which they are made.

Examples of statutory Orders of Council include approval of regulations made by the General Medical Council and other regulatory bodies. Statutory Instruments are numbered in a standard series and published by The Stationery Office. They are available online at www.legislation.gov.uk.

Examples of prerogative Orders of Council include approval of amendments to the By-laws of Chartered bodies.

Acts giving a power to the Privy Council to make an Order will usually specify the quorum of the Privy Council required to exercise it, often two. Where the Act is silent on this point the quorum of the Privy Council is three.

All Orders of Council are expressed to have been made at “The Council Chamber, Whitehall”, though in fact they are all approved in correspondence, and no actual meeting takes place.

Parliamentary involvement

Statutory Orders may also involve a Parliamentary procedure. Different Acts have different provisions, but Orders may need to be laid before Parliament in draft before being made, or after they have been made. The Act may also require the Order to be approved by Parliament before it comes into force.

Orders of Council made since January 2017 are listed on this website under the year and month in which they were made. If you require an Order of Council which predates this, please email enquires@pco.gov.uk for advice.

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