The Queen-in-Council (during the reign of a male monarch, King-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 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 Queen-in-Council may be replaced by a Governor-General-in-Council, Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council, or Governor-in-Council, respectively. 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.
Former Commonwealth realms and dependencies often retain a similar constitutional concept, for example "President-in-Council" or (in Hong Kong, since 1 July 1997) the Chief Executive-in-Council. Some non-Commonwealth countries have similar concepts, for example "President in Council" in France.
In practice, the Queen-in-Council almost always gives formal effect to decisions made by the cabinet, a subcommittee of the privy or executive council that includes the senior ministers of the Crown and meets often without the Queen or her local representative.
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.
- 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).