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Privy Council of the United Kingdom facts for kids

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Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
Royal Coat of Arms
Abbreviation Privy Council, PC
Formation 1 May 1708 (1708-05-01)
Legal status Non-executive advisory body
List of current members
Queen Elizabeth II
Lord President of the Council
Jacob Rees-Mogg
Clerk of the Council
Richard Tilbrook
Privy Council Office

Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council is a group of advisors to the British Monarch. A lot of its most important work is done by two committees,

  • The Cabinet. All cabinet ministers are made Privy Councillors (or Privy Counsellors), as are other important politicians, such as the leaders of the big political parties.
  • Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The most senior judges in England and Wales sit on this committee

Some laws need to be made by the "Queen-in-Council", that is at a meeting of the Queen and the Privy Council. Some jobs are filled by the Queen in Council too. For example when the Queen appoints a new Bishop or Lord Lieutenant she announces her choice at a meeting of the Privy Council.

Meetings of the Privy Council

Once someone is made a member of the Privy Council they are a member for life, but only members of the government are asked to meetings, except for special occasions such as when a new monarch takes the "Accession Oath", a promise to do their best, at a meeting when the Privy Council called the Accession Council

In the past some kings and queens were bored by long meetings of the Privy Council, so they made everyone stand instead of sitting comfortably. The tradition carries on today.

Privy Council Terms

Sometimes the Prime Minister shares information with other politicians on Privy Council Terms. This means that the information must stay secret.

Judicial Committee of the Privy Council

The Law Lords, and retired Law Lords, also form the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. It is the final court of appeal from British colonies an dependent territories, and some commonwealth realms. These countries call it an appeal to The Queen in Council.

The Commonwealth Realms

The Overseas dependent Territories

Republics in the Commonwealth

Four republics in the commonwealth also use the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as a court of appeal.


From the Court of Appeal of Brunei the only appeal is to the Sultan of Brunei. The Queen and the Sultan have agreed that the cases are heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council who then advise the Sultan, directly.

Domestic Jurisdiction

The committee hears Appeals to Her Majesty in Council:

  • from the Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons;
  • against some plans of the Church Commissioners.
  • A law officer refers a Bill, directly to the committee.
  • Devolution issues can be referred to the Judicial Committee by -
  • any court or tribunal, if required to do so by the appropriate Law Officer.
  • A Law Officer refers "devolution issues" that are not about current bills.

Very rarely the Committee hears:

  • Appeals from the Church of England's Court of Arches of Canterbury and the Chancery Court of York.
  • Appeals from Prize Courts,which hear the value of ships and their cargo.
  • Disputes under the House of Commons Disqualification Act, about whether someone is allowed to be a Member of Parliament

The committee must also report to the Queen about anything she ask. For example investigating which members of the House of Lords supported the enemy in World War I.

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Consejo Privado del Reino Unido para niños

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