Honours Forfeiture Committee

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Honours Forfeiture Committee
Type UK Cabinet Office sub-committee
Legal status ad hoc
Head of the Home Civil Service

The Honours Forfeiture Committee is an ad hoc committee convened under the United Kingdom Cabinet Office, which considers cases referred to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom where an individual's actions subsequent to their being awarded a British honour raises the question of whether they should be allowed to continue to be a holder. Recommendations are made to the Monarch of the United Kingdom, who has the sole authority to rescind an honour.[1]


The committee is only convened at the request of the Prime Minister, under the chairmanship of the Head of the Home Civil Service.[2]

The committee conducts its business by correspondence, and only meets to confer about a decision where the probability is to rescind an honour. The committee only considers cases where an individual who has been honoured is judged to have brought the honours system into disrepute, including issues covering someone who:[2]

  • has been found guilty by the courts of a criminal offence and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of three months or more
  • has been censured, struck off, etc. by the relevant professional or other regulatory authority for action or inaction which was directly relevant to the granting of the honours.

If there is other compelling evidence that an individual has brought the honours system into disrepute, then it is open to the committee to consider such cases as well. The committee also considers matters of general policy regarding forfeiture.[2]

In 2009, Gordon Brown confirmed[3] that the process remains as set out in 1994 by the then Prime Minister John Major in a written answer to the House of Commons:

The statutes of most orders of knighthood and the royal warrants of decorations and medals include provision for the Queen to "cancel and annul" appointments and awards. Cancellation is considered in cases where retention of the appointment or award would bring the honours system into disrepute. There are no set guidelines for cancellations, which are considered on a case-by-case basis. Since 1979, the London Gazette has published details of cancellations of 15 appointments and awards—three knighthoods, one CBE, five OBEs, four MBEs and two BEMs.

— John Major, House of Commons Hansard, 2 December 1994, vol 250 c923W[4]

All decisions made by the committee are submitted to the Monarch through the Office of the Prime Minister. The subjects discussed by the Committee remain confidential at all times, until confirmed by the Monarch.[2]

Decisions on forfeiture are published in the London Gazette.[2]


The Committee comprises (as of March 2010):

Honours recommended for revocation by the committee[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Former RBS chief executive Fred Goodwin stripped of his knighthood". Daily Telegraph. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Honours Forfeiture Committee". direct.gov.uk. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "Written Answers for 12 February 2009 (pt 0004)". House of Commons Hansard. Retrieved 10 May 2009. 
  4. ^ "Written Answers for 2 December 1994, vol 250 c923W". House of Commons Hansard. Retrieved 10 May 2009. 
  5. ^ "Honours and Appointments Secretariat, Cabinet Office". Cabinet Office. 15 March 2010. Archived from the original on 7 April 2010. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  6. ^ "Blunt revealed as fourth man". BBC News. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  7. ^ "Queen's honours: People who have turned them down named". BBC News. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  8. ^ http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/59694/pages/2151
  9. ^ "Manchester "super head" Dame has honour revoked". BBC News. 9 February 2011. 
  10. ^ "Goodwin Knighthood decision". Cabinet Office. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  11. ^ a b "Honours stripped: Who else has lost out?". BBC News. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  12. ^ "Life and high-flying times of four partners in crime". The Scotsman. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 

External links[edit]