United Nations Act 1946

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United Nations Act 1946
Long title An Act to enable effect to be given to certain provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.
Chapter 9 & 10 Geo. 6 c. 45
Territorial extent United Kingdom
British Overseas Territories
Dates
Royal Assent 15 April 1946
Commencement 15 April 1946
Other legislation
Amendments 11 & 12 Geo. 6 c. 3, 1979 c. 60, 1995 c. 44, 1998 c. 46
Status: Current legislation
Official text of the United Nations Act 1946 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from the UK Statute Law Database

The United Nations Act 1946 (c 45) was passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom as a means of putting the job of implementing the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council in the hands of the government rather than Parliament. A similar mechanism is used in the European Communities Act 1972.

Content[edit]

The United Nations Act 1946 contains two sections, though only section 1 has substantive content. Sub-section (1) allows The Crown to implement United Nations Security Council Resolutions without the official approval of Parliament. Subsection (2) refers to the jurisdiction His Majesty’s dominions, and has been amended over time as the United Kingdom has ceded legal control of its colonies. Subsection (3) says that these orders can be revoked or changed at will. Subsection (4) says that these orders must be laid before Parliament, but that they do not need to be voted on. Subsection (5) authorizes the implementation of these orders to come from general taxation. Section 1 reads as follows.

1 Measures under Article 41.
(1) If, under Article forty-one of the Charter of the United Nations signed at San Francisco on the twenty-sixth day of June, nineteen hundred and forty-five, (being the Article which relates to measures not involving the use of armed force) the Security Council of the United Nations call upon His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom to apply any measures to give effect to any decision of that Council, His Majesty may by Order in Council make such provision as appears to Him necessary or expedient for enabling those measures to be effectively applied, including (without prejudice to the generality of the preceding words) provision for the apprehension, trial and punishment of persons offending against the Order.
(2) Orders in Council made under this section may be so made as to extend to any part of His Majesty’s dominions (other than Dominions within the meaning of the M1Statute of Westminster 1931, territories administered by the Government of any such Dominion... and, to the extent that His Majesty has jurisdiction therein, to any other territory in which His Majesty has from time to time jurisdiction (other than territories which are being administered by the Government of such a Dominion as aforesaid.
(3) Any Order in Council made under this section may be varied or revoked by a subsequent Order in Council.
(4) Every Order in Council made under this section shall, [F4forthwith after it is made be laid-
(a) before Parliament; and
(b) if any provision made by the Order would, if it were included in an Act of the Scottish Parliament, be within the legislative competence of that Parliament, before that Parliament.]
(5) Any expenses incurred by His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom in applying any such measures as are mentioned in this section shall be defrayed out of moneys provided by Parliament.

Section 2 states the short title of the Act.

Applications[edit]

The Financial Sanctions Unit has established asset-freezing regimes through Statutory Instrument 2002 No. 111 The Al-Qa'ida and Taliban (United Nations Measures) Order 2002 and more recently Statutory Instrument 2006 No. 2657 The Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2006 against terrorist suspects as designated by the UN Security Council Committee Established Pursuant to Resolution 1267 (1999) Concerning Al-Qa'ida and the Taliban and Associated Individuals and Entities.

On 27 January 2010 the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom held that the 2006 Order was ultra vires and void, because the 1946 Act was not intended to authorise coercive measures which interefere with fundamental rights without Parliamentary scrutiny.[1] On 4 February the Court refused to stay the effect of its judgement until Parliament could change the law.[2] This led to Parliament passing the temporary Terrorist Asset-Freezing (Temporary Provisions) Act 2010 on 10 February to retrospectively legitimise the 2006 Order until Parliament has time to pass permanent legislation complying with the Court's ruling.

References[edit]

  1. ^ UK Supreme Court website (see 27.1.2010)
  2. ^ ibid.

See also[edit]

Official text of the United Nations Act 1946 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from the UK Statute Law Database