The council initially comprised the governor, the bishop, the INTENDANT and 5 councillors. In 1703 membership grew to 12, to which 4 associated judges were added in 1742. Members, usually recruited from the French gentry, were nominated initially by the governor and the bishop and later by the king.
The council acted also as a court of appeal for civil and criminal matters originating in the lower courts. Its decisions could be reversed only by the King's Council, under which a judicial structure was established in each government of the colony: the provost marshal of Québec City (1663), the royal courts of Trois-Rivières (1665) and Montréal (1693), and the Admiralty (1703). The council also played an administrative role in regulating trade and public order, in registering the king's edicts, ordinances and commissions, and in promulgating them in the colony. After the CONQUEST of 1760 its appeal-court functions were taken over by a board of British military officers.
Author JACQUES MATHIEU