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Privy Council Office



Privy Council Office



The Privy Council is one of the oldest parts of Government, but it has, over time, adapted to reflect the fact that the United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy. The Privy Council advises on the exercise of prerogative powers and certain functions assigned to The Queen and the Council by Act of Parliament.  It is therefore the mechanism through which interdepartmental agreement is reached on those items of Government business which, for historical or other reasons, fall to Ministers as Privy Counsellors rather than as Departmental Ministers.  This includes much business under the Royal Prerogative, including the affairs of Chartered bodies, as well as statutory areas where an Act of Parliament has given an Order-making power to the Privy Council.

Appointment to the Privy Council is for life, but only Ministers of the Government of the day participate in its policy work.

The Privy Council Office is the Secretariat of the Privy Council.  Its ministerial head is the Lord President of the Council, Lord Mandelson, and the Clerk of the Council is Judith Simpson.  Much of the day-to-day work of the Privy Council Office is concerned with the affairs of Chartered Bodies, the 900 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 higher education.

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) is the court of final appeal for the UK overseas territories and Crown dependencies, and for those Commonwealth countries that have retained the appeal to Her Majesty in Council or, in the case of Republics, to the Judicial Committee. The JCPC is based in Parliament Square, London SW1P 3BD.

The Privy Council Office currently forms a separate and independent part of the Constitution Directorate of the Ministry of Justice.




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