Why Did The Queen Hold A Privy Council At Heathrow?

My recent article on the Privy Council led a reader to ask:

What’s the story behind the Privy Council meeting at Heathrow?

The meeting took place on September 16, 1998 when the Queen was en route to Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia. The only item on the agenda was The High Court of Justiciary (Proceedings in the Netherlands) (United Nations) Order. This Order allowed Scotland’s High Court of Justiciary to sit in the Netherlands for the purpose of trying the men accused of bombing Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie.

This unusual turn of events came about because the Libyan government was reluctant to extradite the suspects to the United Kingdom or the United States. However, a compromise was agreed whereby they would be tried in the Netherlands according to Scots law. In order to implement this accord, the Queen had to make an Order in Council under the provisions of the United Nations Act 1946.


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