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Orders in Council in United Kingdom

Definition of Orders In Council

The emergency powers act 1920 and the civil contingencies act 2004 authorise legislation to be introduced in this way.

Orders in Council Meaning, as used in the UK Parliament

Orders in Council are used when an ordinary statutory instrument would be inappropriate, such as for transferring responsibilities between government departments. They are issued by and with the advice of Her Majesty’s Privy Council and are approved in person by the monarch. Orders in Council were used to transfer the powers from Ministers of the UK Government to the devolved governments.


The Privy Council Office notify Departments of the date on which Her Majesty is to hold a Council, the date by which papers must be delivered to the Privy Council Office for the purposes of the Council, and the date on which Orders made at the Council, and requiring to be laid before Parliament, will be laid.

Before papers are sent to the Privy Council Office they should be completed by the Department as far as possible. Lettersand notifications should be headed Privy Council Office, 2 Carlton Gardens, London, SW1Y 5AA, and completed except for date and signature.

If, by reason of the absence abroad or illness of Her Majesty, a Council is to be held by Counsellors of State, the Privy Council Office issue special instructions concerning the formal parts of Orders to be made at that Council.

The Department draft the Order, to include:

  • the date of the Council at which the Order will be made;
  • if required, the date of laying before Parliament; and
  • the date of coming into force or these dates may be inserted subsequently in proofs.

The Order is made by Her Majesty in Council.


  • The Privy Council Office send the Orders to be registered and printed.
  • If required, the Privy Council Office notify the Speaker of the House of Lords and the Speaker of the House of Commons, of the Order coming into force before being laid
  • If required, the Privy Council Office lay the Order and any accompanying Explanatory Memorandum.
  • The Department supply papers to the Joint or Commons Committee and the House of Lords Merits Committee.


See Also

  • Orders of Council

Further Reading

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Schema Summary

  • Article Name: Orders in Council
  • Author: B. Hepple
  • Description: Definition of Orders In Council The emergency powers act 1920 and the civil contingencies act 2004 authorise legislation to [...]

This entry was last updated: December 21, 2016

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