Legislative council

A legislative council is the legislature, or one of the legislative chambers, of a nation, colony, or subnational division such as a province or state. It was commonly used to label unicameral or upper house legislative bodies in the British (former) colonies. However, it has also been used as designation in other (non-Commonwealth) nations. A member of a legislative council is commonly referred to as an MLC.

In the United States, a legislative council has a different connotation, and means a council within a legislature which supervises nonpartisan support staff.

History

In the British Empire, the authority under which legislative councils have been constituted has varied: some under the prerogative, others by acts of parliament, and some by commission and royal instructions.[1] Particularly, unicameral or the upper house in a bicameral legislature (where traditionally many members were appointed by Governors, rather than elected) were given the designation "legislative council".

List of legislative councils

Existing national legislative councils
Country Body Type Established Notes
 Brunei Darussalam Legislative CouncilUnicameral1959Suspended in 1984, reconvened in 2004
 Hong Kong Legislative CouncilUnicameral1843Established under the British Hong Kong era; Provisional Legislative Council 1997–98
 Isle of Man Legislative CouncilUpper House
 Palestine Legislative CouncilUnicameral1996
 Saint Helena Legislative CouncilUnicameral

In India, the Vidhan Parishad is another name for the Legislative Council in those states with bicameral legislatures.

Existing sub-national legislative councils
Country Region Body Type Established Notes
 Australia New South WalesLegislative CouncilUpper House1824Unicameral until 1856
 Australia South AustraliaLegislative CouncilUpper House1840Unicameral until 1857
 Australia TasmaniaLegislative CouncilUpper House1825Unicameral until 1856
 Australia VictoriaLegislative CouncilUpper House1851Unicameral until 1856
 Australia Western AustraliaLegislative CouncilUpper House1832Unicameral until 1890
 India Andhra PradeshLegislative CouncilUpper House1958Abolished between 1985 and 2007
 India BiharLegislative CouncilUpper House1912Unicameral until 1920
 India KarnatakaLegislative CouncilUpper House1956
 India MaharashtraLegislative CouncilUpper House1960
 India TelanganaLegislative CouncilUpper House2014
 India Uttar PradeshLegislative CouncilUpper House1935
 Venezuela ZuliaLegislative CouncilUnicameral1864
Defunct national legislative councils
Country Body Type Established Disestablished Notes
 Antigua and Barbuda Legislative CouncilUnicameralEstablished under instructions to the governor
 Bahamas Legislative CouncilUnicameralEstablished under instructions to the governor
 Barbados Legislative CouncilUnicameralEstablished under instructions to the governor
 Bechuanaland Protectorate Legislative CouncilUnicameral19611965
 Bermuda Legislative CouncilBicameral16121980Originally a single thirteen-member Council combined Executive (cabinet) and Legislative functions. Established under Royal Charters to the London Company in 1606, 1609, and 1612, and to the Somers Isles Company in 1615, transmitted via the Governor. Elected lower House of Assembly held first session in 1620, with Council becoming upper house. The Council split in 1888 into an Executive Council and a Legislative Council. Colonial legislature was updated to the Westminster system in 1968. Executive Council was renamed the Cabinet in 1973, and is now formed from Members of the majority party in the House of Assembly. Legislative Council was renamed the Senate of Bermuda in 1980, and is now composed of five Members recommended by the Premier, three by the Leader of the Opposition, and three by the Governor acting in his own discretion, all appointed by the Governor.[2]
 British Columbia Legislative CouncilUnicameral18671871
 British Guiana Legislative CouncilUnicameral19281961Established by an act of parliament; abolished between 1953 and 1954.
 British Honduras Legislative CouncilUnicameralEstablished under instructions to the governor
 British India Imperial Legislative CouncilBicameral18611947Unicameral until 1920
 British Virgin Islands Legislative CouncilUnicameral2007
 Burma Legislative CouncilUnicameral18971936
 Ceylon Legislative CouncilUnicameral18331931Established under the prerogative
 Cyprus Legislative CouncilUnicameralEstablished under the prerogative
 Dominica Legislative CouncilUnicameralEstablished by an act of parliament
 Falkland Islands Legislative CouncilUnicameral18452009Established under the British Settlements Act, 1843
 Fiji Legislative CouncilUnicameralEstablished under the prerogative
 Gambia Legislative CouncilUnicameralEstablished under the British Settlements Act, 1843
 Gibraltar Legislative CouncilUnicameral19501969
 Gold Coast Legislative CouncilUnicameralEstablished under the British Settlements Act, 1843
 Jamaica Legislative Council
 Kenya Legislative CouncilUnicameral19071963Established under the British Settlements Act, 1843
Lower Canada Legislative CouncilUpper House17911841
 Malaya Federal Legislative CouncilUnicameral19481957
 Malta Legislative CouncilUnicameralEstablished under the prerogative
 Manchukuo Legislative CouncilUnicameral19341945Puppet state of the Empire of Japan
 Mandatory Palestine Legislative CouncilUnicameral19221923
 Mauritius Legislative CouncilUnicameralEstablished under the prerogative
 Montserrat Legislative CouncilUnicameral2011Established under instructions to the governor
 New Zealand Legislative CouncilUpper House18411950Unicameral until 1853
 Newfoundland Legislative CouncilUpper House18331934
 Nigeria Legislative CouncilUnicameralEstablished under the prerogative
 Northern Rhodesia Legislative CouncilUnicameralEstablished under the Foreign Jurisdiction Act, 1843
 Nyasaland Legislative CouncilUnicameral1907Established under the Foreign Jurisdiction Act, 1843
Papua New Guinea Legislative CouncilUnicameral19511963
Portuguese Guinea Legislative CouncilUnicameral19631972Became the Legislative Assembly
Portuguese West Africa Legislative CouncilUnicameral19221972Abolished between 1926 and 1955
Province of Canada Legislative CouncilUpper House18411867
 Romania Legislative CouncilConsultative19231948Established under Article 76 of the 1923 Constitution and retained under Article 72 of the 1938 Constitution
 St Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla Legislative CouncilUnicameralEstablished under instructions to the governor
 St Lucia Legislative CouncilUnicameral18321967[3]Established under the prerogative
 St Vincent Legislative CouncilUnicameralEstablished by an act of parliament
 Seychelles Legislative CouncilUnicameral19621970Established under the prerogative
Sierra Leone Legislative CouncilUnicameralEstablished under the British Settlements Act, 1843
 Solomon Islands Legislative CouncilUnicameral19601970
 Southern Rhodesia Legislative CouncilUnicameral18981923Established under the prerogative
 Straits Settlements Legislative CouncilUnicameral1866Established by an act of parliament
 Singapore Legislative CouncilUnicameral19461953
 Swaziland Legislative CouncilUnicameral19641967Established in the Constitution of 1964
 Trinidad and Tobago Legislative CouncilUnicameral19251961Established under the prerogative
 Tanganyika Legislative CouncilUnicameralEstablished under the Foreign Jurisdiction Act, 1843
 Turks and Caicos Islands Legislative CouncilUnicameral2006
 Uganda Legislative CouncilUnicameral19201962Established under the Foreign Jurisdiction Act, 1843
Upper Canada Legislative CouncilUpper House17911841
 Zaire Legislative CouncilUnicameral19721990
Defunct sub-national legislative councils
Country Region Body Type Established Disestablished Notes
 Australia QueenslandLegislative CouncilUpper House18601922
 British India BengalLegislative CouncilUpper House18611947Unicameral until 1937
 British India Eastern Bengal and AssamLegislative CouncilUnicameral19061912
 Canada ManitobaLegislative CouncilUpper House18701876First province to eliminate upper chamber.
 Canada New BrunswickLegislative CouncilUpper House17851891
 Canada Nova ScotiaLegislative CouncilUpper House18381928
 Canada Prince Edward IslandLegislative CouncilUpper House17731893
 Canada QuebecLegislative CouncilUpper House18671968Last province to eliminate upper chamber.
 India AssamLegislative CouncilUpper House19351969
 India BombayLegislative CouncilUpper House18611960Unicameral until 1935
 India CochinLegislative CouncilUnicameral19251949
 India Jammu and KashmirLegislative CouncilUpper House19572019
 India Madhya PradeshLegislative CouncilUpper House19561969
 India PunjabLegislative CouncilUpper House19561969
 India Tamil NaduLegislative CouncilUpper House19561986
 India West BengalLegislative CouncilUpper House19521969
 United States DelawareLegislative CouncilUpper House17761792
 United States Florida TerritoryLegislative CouncilBicameral18221845
 United States New JerseyLegislative CouncilUpper House17761844
 United States South CarolinaLegislative CouncilUpper House17761778

United States

In American English, the term "legislative council" has acquired a slightly different meaning since the 1930s. It refers to a joint committee with members from both houses of the state legislature, which supervises a staff of attorneys, accountants, and researchers charged with providing strictly nonpartisan support services to the legislature or to particular committees.[4] The concept of the legislative council was first developed in Kansas and was implemented by the Kansas Legislature in 1933.[4] Eventually, a majority of U.S. states adopted legislative councils, but under a variety of names.[4] Kansas still uses a legislative council, although it was converted into the Kansas Legislative Coordinating Council in 1971. Legislative councils operating under that name exist in the states of Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin. Several states use the term "commission" for the same thing, including New Jersey and Nevada.

A few states, like California, have a "legislative counsel", not "council", who is appointed by a vote of the entire legislature and is thus responsible to the body as a whole rather than a "council" within it.

See also

References

  1. Wright, Martin. Appendix 9 in The Development of the Legislative Council 1606–1945, in the series "Studies in Colonial Legislatures" edited by Margery Perham of the Institute of Colonial Studies, Oxford, England (Faber & Faber, 1946).
  2. "General Information". Bermuda Parliament. Government of Bermuda. Retrieved 6 August 2021.
  3. "Saint Lucia - Access Government". Saint Lucia - Access Government.
  4. Teaford, Jon C. (2002). The Rise of the States: Evolution of American State Government. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 153–157. ISBN 9780801868894. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
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