Queen's consent in respect of the prerogative

30.79As stated in Chapter 9, bills affecting the royal prerogative1 require the Queen's consent. Thus consent has been required for bills affecting:

  1. royal marriages and the succession to the Crown;2
  2. the prerogative to wage war by any means;3
  3. the prerogative to dissolve, summon or prorogue Parliament;4
  4. the prerogative to appoint the officers of the armed services,5 and to make other appointments;6
  5. the prerogative control of the civil service;7
  6. the rights of holders of peerages created under the prerogative;8
  7. the prerogative power to issue a passport;9
  8. the prerogative right of treasure trove;10
  9. royal charters and bodies created by charter;11
  10. lieutenancy arrangements;12
  11. territorial waters;13
  12. the relationship between the UK and territories ruled by the Crown;14
  13. the prerogative of coinage;15
  14. the prerogative of mercy;16
  15. the Queen in her capacity as Visitor of a university;17
  16. the power to legislate by prerogative Orders in Council,18

and for other bills affecting prerogative powers exercisable by ministers or subjecting the prerogative to statutory control.19

But the Queen's consent has not been required in a number of other instances, where:

  1. the prerogative is only very remotely or marginally affected by the bill;20
  2. the bill does no more than re-enact the existing law;21
  3. the bill has dealt with the prerogative in respect of matters which the Queen has already consented to put at the disposal of Parliament;22
  4. bills related to actions under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union;23
  5. only the sovereignty of the Queen in Parliament, rather than the prerogative, has been affected;24
  6. the Crown has been empowered to do by Order in Council what it might have done by prerogative;25
  7. the prerogative might be affected by an order made under the bill rather than by the bill itself;26
  8. the bill has been introduced following a message under the sign manual27 (see para 9.2 ).


  1. 1. On the prerogative, see paras 1.5–1.7; Fourth Report from the Select Committee on Public Administration, Taming the Prerogative: Strengthening Ministerial Accountability to Parliament, HC 422 (2003–04), Government Response to the Report, Cm 6187, July 2004 and The Governance of Britain, Review of the Executive Royal Prerogative Powers: Final Report, Ministry of Justice, 2009.
  2. 2. Royal Marriages and Succession to the Crown (Prevention of Discrimination) Bill (2008–09); Succession to the Crown Bill (2012–13).
  3. 3. Chemical Weapons Bill (1995–96); Landmines Bill (1997–98); Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Bill [Lords] (2009–10). The Nuclear Explosions (Prohibition and Inspections) Bill [Lords] (1997–98) did not require the Queen's consent because it preserved the right to wage war by any means.
  4. 4. The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 abolished the prerogative power to dissolve Parliament.
  5. 5. HC Deb (1995–96) 278, c 37.
  6. 6. Greater London Authority Bill (1998–99); Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill (2008–09) and (2009–10). Consent has not been required in relation to appointments not made by Letters Patent or under the Sign Manual: Forensic Science Regulator Bill (2017–19).
  7. 7. Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010, which put most of the Civil Service on a statutory footing; Crown Employment (Nationality) Bill (2002–03) (and similar bills introduced in subsequent sessions).
  8. 8. House of Lords Bill (1998–99); Disqualification from Parliament (Taxation Status) Bill (2007–08).
  9. 9. Identity Cards Bills (2004–05) and (2005–06); Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill (2007–08).
  10. 10. Treasure Bill (1995–96).
  11. 11. Further and Higher Education Bill [Lords] (1991–92) (which abolished a body established by charter); Armed Forces Bill (1995–96) (which set aside a charter relating to Greenwich Hospital). But the Health and Social Care Bill (2007–08), which affected the statutory functions of a body established by royal charter but did not affect the prerogative power to grant new charters to professional bodies, did not require the Queen's consent.
  12. 12. Local Government etc (Scotland) Bill (1993–94). But the Local Government (Wales) Bill (1993–94), which amended the existing statutory regime for lieutenancies, did not require the Queen's consent.
  13. 13. Coal Industry Bill 1993–94; Inshore Fishing (Scotland) Bill [Lords] (1993–94).
  14. 14. Representation of Gibraltar at Westminster and in the European Union Bill, and Representation of Dependencies at Westminster Bill, Order Paper, 4 December 1997.
  15. 15. European Communities (Amendment) Bill (1992–93).
  16. 16. Criminal Appeal Bill (1994–95).
  17. 17. Higher Education Bill (2003–04).
  18. 18. Children's Rights Bill [Lords] (2009–10).
  19. 19. Scotland Bill (1997–98); Crown Prerogatives (Parliamentary Control) Bill (1998–99).
  20. 20. For example, Charities Bill (1982–83); Local Government and Greater London Authority Acts 1999, which both affected council tax.
  21. 21. For example, Supreme Courts Bill (1980–81). Consent may be required if the existing law is re-enacted with modifications.
  22. 22. European Union (Accessions) Bill (2002–03). Consent was needed for the European Union Bill (2004–05); although the European Communities Act 1972 received consent, the reworking of that Act by the later bill was substantial enough to require consent again.
  23. 23. European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill (2016–17) and European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 5) Bill (2017–19): HC Deb (4 April 2019) 657, c 1130.
  24. 24. Canada Bill (1981–82).
  25. 25. Anguilla Bill (1980–81).
  26. 26. Counter-Inflation (Temporary Provisions) Bill (1972–73).
  27. 27. Regency Bill (1953–54).