The King-in-Council or the Queen-in-Council, depending on the gender of the reigning monarch, is a constitutional term in a number of states. In a general sense, it would mean the monarch exercising executive authority, usually in the form of approving orders, in the presence of the country's executive council.
In Norway, the "King in Council" (Norwegian: Kongen i statsråd) refers to the meetings of the King and the Council of State (the Cabinet), where matters of importance and major decisions are made. The council meets at the Royal Palace and is normally held every Friday. It is chaired by the King or, if he is ill or abroad, the Crown Prince. In Norway's Constitution, references to the lord, when formulated as King in Council (Kongen i Statsråd) refers to the formal Government of Norway. When the formulation is merely King, the appointed ministerium that the law refers to may alone act with complete authority of the matter assigned in the particular law.
A decision that is taken in the State Council under the King's leadership is a royal decree. If the Crown Prince chairs, they are Crown Prince resolutions. When neither the King nor the Crown Prince chairs, resolutions adopted are called Government resolutions.
In Sweden, the King in Council (Swedish: Konungen i Statsrådet), more commonly known as Royal Majesty, (Swedish: Kunglig Majestät or the short forms (Swedish: Kungl.Maj:t) or (Swedish: K.M:t) was a concept of constitutional importance in Sweden until 1974.
Royal Majesty was the commonly used term to refer to the supreme executive authority under the 1809 Instrument of Government, where the King made all decisions of state in the presence of his cabinet ministers. The 1974 Instrument of Government removed the monarch from all exercise of formal political powers which were passed to the newly created Government (Swedish: Regeringen), chaired and led in all aspects by the Prime Minister.
The Queen-in-Council is the technical term of constitutional law for the exercise of executive authority in a Commonwealth realm, denoting the monarch acting by and with the advice and consent of his or her privy council (in the United Kingdom and Canada's federal jurisdiction) or executive council (in most other Commonwealth realms, Australian states, and in Canadian provinces). In those realms and dependencies where the Queen's powers and functions are delegated to a governor-general, lieutenant governor, or governor, the term Governor-General-in-Council, Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council, or Governor-in-Council may be used instead of Queen-in-Council, respectively, although all of these terms describe the same technical process within constitutional law. "The government of [jurisdiction]" is commonly used as a synonym for any of the aforementioned terms, though the phrase may mean more than one thing in certain areas.
An order made by the Queen-in-Council is known as an Order-in-Council and such actions are subject to judicial review. Orders-in-Council may be used to implement secondary legislation such as UK statutory instruments. In practice, decisions made by the Queen-in-Council are almost always the formal approval to decisions made by the cabinet, a subcommittee of the privy or executive council that includes the senior ministers of the Crown and often meets without the Queen or her local representative present.
Former Commonwealth realms and dependencies often retain a similar constitutional concept; for example, President-in-Council in India or Chief Executive-in-Council in Hong Kong. Similar concepts can also be found in some non-Commonwealth countries.
- The Queen on the Application of Louis Olivier Bancoult v. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, CO/4093/2004 The source of the power to make the Order in Council was the Royal prerogative. Neither Her Majesty nor the members of the Privy Council present that day (which, coincidentally, included me) considered the merits of the Order. The Queen in Council acts upon the advice of a Minister, in the present case, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth affairs. In reality the order was that of the Secretary of State although, of course, the Queen formally assented to it., s.5 (England and Wales High Court 11 May 2006).
- Constituent Assembly of India debates (IV:12). Parliament of India
- Subhash C. Kashyap. "The President's Powers". The Hindu. 25 July 2002
- Adaption of Laws (Interpretive Provisions) Ordinance 1998 (Hong Kong)
- Juliet Edeson (1998). "Powers of Presidents in Republics", Papers on Parliament No. 31, Parliament of Australia