Privy Council of Tonga

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The Privy Council of Tonga is the highest ranking council to advise the Monarch in the Kingdom of Tonga. It is empowered to advise the King in his capacity as Head of State and Fountain of Justice under the provisions of Clause 50 ( 1 ) of the Constitution of Tonga:

" Clause 50 (1) The King shall appoint a Privy Council to provide him with advice. The Privy Council shall be composed of such people whom the King shall see fit to call to his Council."[1]


Members of the Privy Council are appointed by the King of Tonga who is its Chairman. The Council has three types of members:

  • Regular Members-these are the majority.
  • Members who hold their position by virtue of an office they occupy[2]
  • The Law Lords

The Lord Chancellor, the Lord President of the Supreme Court and the Attorney General are automatically members of the Privy Council. The constitution doesn't set a limit on the number of members who sit on the Council and this is left to the decision of the Monarch.

Judicial functions[edit]

The King in Privy Council has the authority to make appointments to most posts in the judicial branch of government.[1][2] These include:

  • The Lord Chancellor
  • The Lord President of the Court of Appeal
  • The Judges of the Court of Appeal
  • The Lord Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
  • The Judges of the Supreme Court
  • The Lord President of the Land Court
  • The Judges of the Land Court

The Council also contains a Judicial Committee, composed of the Lord Chancellor, The Attorney General, the Lord Chief Justice and five Law Lords, and called the Judicial Appointments and Discipline Panel.[2] The Judicial Committee advise[s] the King on the exercise of his judicial powers" and "investigate[s] complaints against judges".[3]

The King in Privy Council is the final court of appeal for cases dealing with hereditary estates and titles.

Legislative functions[edit]

The Privy Council is empowered to make laws, "subject to parliamentary confirmation".[4] As a law-making body, it is thus legally subordinate to the Legislative Assembly of Tonga.


  1. ^ a b "ACT OF CONSTITUTION OF TONGA (AMENDMENT) (NO.2) ACT 2010" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-05-05. 
  2. ^ a b c "ACT OF CONSTITUTION OF TONGA (AMENDMENT) (NO.2) ACT 2010" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-05-05. 
  3. ^ "Appointment of Four Law Lords", Office of the Prime Minister of Tonga, July 28, 2008
  4. ^ "Kingdom of Tonga", Michael R. Ogden, World Encyclopedia of Political Systems, 3rd edition

External links[edit]