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An Order-in-Council is an executive order issued in the United Kingdom. It is made by the Queen at a meeting of the Privy Council (the Queen-in-Council). Orders in Council are, legally speaking, the exercise of the Royal Prerogative in areas where this still applies. Sometimes Acts of Parliament specify that something shall be done by an Order in Council, but this (like the Royal Prerogative generally) is being replaced by Statutory Instruments. Orders in Council are used, therefore, for matters which still fall within the Royal Prerogative: dealing with servants of the Crown, such as the standing orders for civil servants, making appointments in the Church of England and dealing with international relations.

Although the orders are nominally made by the Queen, her assent is now purely formality. What actually happens is that the Lord President of the Council (a cabinet minister) reads out batches of Orders-in-Council, which will have been written by the government, with the monarch, after every couple of orders, saying 'Agreed'. They then pass into law, where they are fully effective, although the usual rules of English Law in respect of the dominance of Parliament over the Royal Prerogative apply, so they can be overruled by Acts of Parliament or Statutory Instruments. Of course, since the government writes these too, that now never occurs.

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