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.
Citation 9 & 10 Geo. 6 c. 45
Territorial extent United Kingdom
British Overseas Territories
Royal assent 15 April 1946
Commencement 15 April 1946
Other legislation
Amended by 11 & 12 Geo. 6 c. 3, 1979 c. 60, 1995 c. 44, 1998 c. 46
Status: Current legislation
Text of the United Nations Act 1946 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from legislation.gov.uk

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.


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.

Section 2 states the short title of the Act.


In 1998, the Scottish Court in the Netherlands, established to try two Libyans charged with the Lockerbie bombing, was established through The High Court of Justiciary (Proceedings in the Netherlands) (United Nations) Order 1998, made under the 1946 Act.

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 interfere 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.


See also[edit]

Text of the United Nations Act 1946 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from legislation.gov.uk