Erskine May extracts re Queen’s Consent

Many people are aware that Acts of Parliament require Royal Assent but Queen’s Consent and Prince’s Consent are less well understood. The extracts from Erskine May, 24th edition below show the wide ranging impact of this obscure provision. The obscurity of Parliamentary procedures is partly hidden from the public due to the exorbitant cost of Erskine May – (see Richard Taylor’s Blog Post: Parliament Blown Open by Hackers)

Queen’s Consent

“Bills affecting the prerogative (being powers exercisable by the Sovereign for the performance of constitutional duties) on the one hand, or hereditary revenues, person al property or interests of the Crown , the Duchy of Lancaster or the Duchy of Cornwall on the other, require the signification of Queen’s consent in both Houses before they are passed.”

“When the Prince of Wales is of age, his own consent as Duke of Cornwall is given.”

“The Queen’s consent is expressed in terms to the effect that Her Majesty, having been informed of the purport of the bill, has consented to place her prerogative or interest, or both, at the disposal of Parliament for the purposes of the bill.”

Queen’s consent in respect of her interest

“Consent in respect of the Queen’s interest is required for a bill which affects the hereditary revenues, personal property or personal interests of the Crown or the Duchies of Lancaster or Cornwall. This includes the Royal Household and the Royal Palaces (including the Palace of Westminster), the Crown Estate and the Crown Estate Commissioners, the Queen’s private estates, and the Queen’s interest as a landlord or an employer.”

“Recent provisions requiring such consent have included:
(a) restrictions on the use that might be made of premises on Duchy
(b) the creation of further statutory nuisances arising from land which
might have exposed the Crown to the risk of legal proceedings;
(c) the express application of data protection legislation to personal data
processed by the Royal Household and the Duchy of Lancaster;
(d) the abolition of the office of coroner of the Queen’s household, so that
deaths of members of the royal family were to be investigated under the
same rules as any other deaths;
(e) the application of legislation about construction contracts to contracts entered into on behalf of the Queen in right of the Duchy of Lancaster or on behalf of the Duchy of Cornwall;
(f) the designation of rights in gas importation and storage zones in areas outside the territorial sea as rights belonging to Her Majesty.”

Consent is also required for bills which relate to matters such as intestacy and bona vacantia in which the Crown and the Duchies have a historic interest, unless the effect is remote.

Consent is required if the repeal of a protective provision may have an adverse effect on the Queen’s interest, and is required even if the adverse effect resulting from the bill itself needs consent. Consent is required in respect of substantial consequences for the Queen of changes in the general law, but has not been required for insignificant or remote consequences of such changes. Where consent has already been given in respect of a particular change in the law, it has not been required to be given again in respect of further changes which could not have affected the basis on which the original consent was given. In cases where the effect of a bill is doubtful it is the practice to require the Queen’s consent. A bill relating to the civil service which required consent in respect of the prerogative also required consent in respect of the Queen’s interest because it applied to the Crown Estate Commissioners.”

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