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A council is a group of people who come together to consult, deliberate, or make decisions.[1] A council may function as a legislature, especially at a town, city or county/shire level, but most legislative bodies at the state/provincial or national level are not considered councils. At such levels, there may be no separate executive branch, and the council may effectively represent the entire government. A board of directors might also be denoted as a council.[citation needed]

A committee might also be denoted as a council, though a committee is generally a subordinate body composed of members of a larger body, while a council may not be.[citation needed] Because many schools have a student council, the council is the form of governance with which many people are likely to have their first experience as electors or participants.

A member of a council may be referred to as a councillor or councilperson, or by the gender-specific titles of councilman and councilwoman.

In politics[edit]

Notable examples of types of councils encountered in politics include:

In other fields[edit]

Types of councils encountered in other spheres include:

  • Arts council: a government or private, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the arts.
  • Bar council: a professional body that regulates the profession of barristers together with the Inns of Court.
  • Buddhist councils: important historical events in the history of Buddhism.
  • Council (Boy Scouts): a non-profit private corporation within Boy Scouts of America.
  • Ecumenical council: a meeting of the bishops of the whole church convened to discuss and settle matters of Church doctrine and practice.
  • Military council:
  • Student council: a student organization present in many elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities.
  • Synod: in a Christian church.
  • University Council: running a university.
  • War Council: discussions pertaining to a declaration of war, or tactics and strategy of a coming battle.
  • Works council: a body representing the workers of a plant, factory, etc., elected to negotiate with the management about working conditions, wages, etc.
  • Youth council: an example of youth voice engaged in youth-led decision-making.


  1. ^ "Council Definition".

See also[edit]

Media related to Councils at Wikimedia Commons