Executive Council (Commonwealth countries)


Executive Council (Commonwealth countries)

An Executive Council in Commonwealth constitutional practice based on the Westminster system is a constitutional organ which exercises executive power and (notionally) advises the governor or governor-general. Executive Councils often make decisions via Orders-in-Council.

Executive Councillors are informally called "ministers". Some Executive Councils, especially in Canada and Australia, are chaired by a President or a Vice-President. In other Commonwealth countries there is no formal president of the Executive Council, although meetings are held in the presence of the Governor-general or Governor (except in rare cases) and decisions require the Governor-general's assent.

These Councils have almost the same functions as the Privy Council in the United Kingdom, and accordingly, decisions of the Cabinet gain legal effect by being formally adopted by the Executive Council.

Individual Executive Councils

*Federal Executive Council of Australia
*Executive Council of the Irish Free State
*Executive Council of Hong Kong
*Executive Council of New Zealand
*Executive Council of Ceylon
*Executive Council of the Isle of Man, the fore-runner to the Council of Ministers of the Isle of Man
*Executive Council of Fiji

At the federal level, Canada does not have an Executive Council but the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, modelled on the Privy Council of the United Kingdom with the Canadian Cabinet technically being a committee of the Privy Council.


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