- "With all of us may the Force be, and may the peace of this temple be ours, a place open to thought and speech, a realm of mutual respect, and a haven of shared noble purpose. Let us take these seats together, with no one above the others. May we work together, free from the restraints of ego and jealousy, at this gathering and all others to come."
- ―Jedi Council Members speaking the traditional oath during the Gathering
A Jedi Council was an organized body of Jedi, typically Masters, serving the Jedi Order as an administrative body that governed the Order's academies, temples, and organizations such as the Jedi Service Corps.
Councils of the Old Jedi Order
- "So how do we justify what we are doing now? Breeding men without choice, and without freedom, to fight and die for us? When do the means cease to justify the end? Where is our society heading? Where are our ideals, and what are we without them? If we give in to expedience in this way, where do we draw the line between ourselves and those we find unacceptably evil? I have no answer, Masters. Do you?"
- ―Bardan Jusik, as a Jedi Knight, addressing the Jedi High Council on the matter of clone troopers
From the Jedi Order's founding, a council of Masters governed its members. The earliest known form of Jedi Council, organized by the Jedi Order's founders Masters Rajivari and Garon Jard, took the shape of week-longs gatherings aimed at increasing the Order's wisdom and capacity to defend itself from the dark side. During the early stages of the Old Sith Wars groups of Masters were stationed on Ossus, and later from the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. As the earliest High Council ruled for the next several centuries alone on Coruscant, three other Councils were convened to oversee more specific parts of the Order. The Councils of First Knowledge, Reassignment, and Reconciliation each dealt with aspects too specific for the High Council to run properly on top of the broad scope of other things it oversaw.
All of the Coruscant Councils appointed their own members through unanimous vote, and each had a designated leader. Governing for several centuries, all four Councils were dissolved in 19 BBY following the Sith plot known as Operation: Knightfall and Order 66, both military operations carried out legally by the Grand Army of the Republic.
Jedi High Council
The High Council was the primary governing body of the Order, and was comprised of twelve Jedi Masters who discussed and contemplated all aspects of the Order. The Council was composed of five permanent members who accepted a lifetime commitment to it. In addition, four long-term members served until they chose to step down, and the limited-term members sat on the Council for specified terms. Led by the Master of the Order, the High Council dealt directly with the Office of the Supreme Chancellor. Though nearly all the members in history were Masters, there were a few exceptions to this rule, such as Ki-Adi-Mundi and Anakin Skywalker, the second of which was the first and last Jedi to be appointed to the Council by the Supreme Chancellor.
Council of First Knowledge
The Council of First Knowledge was composed of five Masters, led by the Caretaker of First Knowledge. Overseeing the Temple-based academy and its curriculum, this Council advised other Jedi using the wisdom of past scholars. To this end, the Council guarded and maintained the Temple Archives and its holocron vaults, as well as the Shadow program at the Temple.
Council of Reconciliation
Seeking diplomatic resolutions to conflicts, the five members of the Council of Reconciliation dealt with the Galactic Senate and the Republic Diplomatic Corps in order to help end political standoffs. The first face of the Republic presented to worlds interested in joining the Republic, this Council would dispatch diplomats and ambassadors to moderate debate and hammer out treaties.
Council of Reassignment
The Council of Reassignment ran the Jedi Service Corps and each of its branch councils. Organizing work for those Initiates who failed out of the academy and Knights with special talents, the Reassignment Council oversaw this branch's missions and assignments.
By 35 ABY, the New Jedi Order had established a Masters' Council. Unlike the High Council, which was essentially a body of the Alliance government serving in an advisory role to the Chief of State, the Masters' Council was the leading body of the Order, dealing with strictly Jedi matters and autonomous from the Alliance government. The absoluteness of its control over the Jedi Knights was a matter of debate. The Masters' council alternately assembled either at the new Jedi Temple on Coruscant or at the new Academy on Ossus. After the resolution of the Swarm War the Galactic Alliance High Council was disbanded in favor of a more authoritative Jedi Council.
- "If we're going to have a Jedi Council at all, then somebody, somewhere, is going to do what it tells them!"
- ―Vrook Lamar
While the main Jedi Council resided on Coruscant, other planets had their own Jedi academies throughout history, governed by their own councils. It is possible some of these councils were subsets of the High Council.
Prior to the Exar Kun War, the Dantooine Jedi Enclave was presided over by Master Vodo-Siosk Baas, whom Exar Kun murdered. During the Great Hunt, the Enclave was governed by a four-member council subservient to the High Council on Coruscant; the members of this council were Vrook Lamar, Bala Nisi, Qual and Aleco Stusea. This council had jurisdiction over the Jedi in the part of the Outer Rim that included Dantooine and Taris.
By the Mandalorian Wars, two of the council members were replaced, and the Dantooine Enclave Council consisted of Masters Vrook Lamar, Zhar Lestin, Bala Nisi and Vandar Tokare. This council was astonished when the Jedi Exile disobeyed Atris and went to fight in the Mandalorian Wars. By the Jedi Civil War, Bala was replaced by Master Dorak. The fact that both Vrook Lamar and Vandar Tokare were also members of the Jedi High Council may indicate the Dantooine Enclave Council was a subset of the High Council. This council was responsible for healing Darth [Revan/Legends|Revan's]] destroyed mind and inserting a new identity into his brain, and after the destruction of Taris, retraining him in the ways of the Jedi.
Vrook, having also survived the attack, eventually returned to Dantooine and, along with two other Jedi Masters who managed to escape the First Jedi Purge that followed the Jedi Civil War—Kavar and Zez-Kai Ell—held a High Council meeting within the rebuilt Enclave. The three Masters, however, were severed from the Force by Kreia and died as a result of their dependency on the energy field when they attempted to cut the Jedi Exile off from the Force. It is unknown whether the Enclave was used again.
After the Jedi Temple on Coruscant was destroyed in The Sacking of Coruscant the council was moved to Tython - new location of the Jedi Council during the Great Galactic War. It included Satele Shan, Bela Kiwiiks, Orgus Din, Nikil Nobil, Wens Aleusis, Oric Traless, Giffis Fane, Jaric Kaedan, Tol Braga, Syo Bakarn and Barsen'thor
In 3964 BBY, leading up to the Mandalorian Wars, the Tarisian Jedi Council consisted of Masters Lucien Draay, Feln, Q'Anilia, Raana Tey and Xamar. They were responsible for the administration and training of the Tarisian Jedi Academy. This council was subservient to the Dantooine Jedi Enclave Council, who in turn answered to the Jedi High Council on Coruscant. However, this council had ulterior allegiances and operated, also, under the secret oversight of the Jedi Covenant. Because of this, just before the outbreak of the Mandalorian Wars the graduating class of Jedi Padawans who trained there were murdered by their masters.
After the Jedi Civil War, Master Atris gathered the remaining Jedi in a secret assembly on Katarr, a Miraluka world. Unknown by the other Jedi, Atris revealed the assembly's location hoping that the Sith Lord Darth Nihilus would reveal himself. However, his power was much greater than the Jedi expected; Nihilus consumed the Force from the entire planet, causing the death of all the Jedi on Katarr, as well as all natives, except Visas Marr.
Atris's secret academy on Telos had a round room with seats, similar to one in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. It is unknown whether a council was ever held there. The Jedi artifacts at the Dantooine Jedi Enclave, such as scrolls and holocrons—some of which predated even Ossus—were moved to this secret academy before Dantooine was attacked. Because of this vast collection of ancient Jedi knowledge, and with precious few Jedi sanctums left in the galaxy, it is possible that Brianna and Atris returned here along with the other Lost Jedi—Bao-Dur, Visas Marr, Mical, Mira, Atton Rand, and Bastila Shan—to reform the Jedi Order while the Jedi Exile went to the Unknown Regions in search of Revan.
The Almas Academy was overseen by the Almas Council, which over time included Nerra Ziveri, Lanius Qel-Bertuk, Kirlocca, Jurahi, Ti-Amun Tiro, Devan For'deschel, and Darrus Jeht. This Council consisted of all the Masters who were instructors at the Academy. The Council was subject to the orders of the High Council on Coruscant. E.g.: In 31 BBY, lone Jedi Knight Alec arrived to the Cularin system looking for dark Jedi Karae Nalvas. Although the Almas Council agreed that Nalvas was a threat, they followed the High Council's criteria and allowed Alec to deal with Nalvas without their interference — however, the Almas Academy was ready to act should Alec or the High Council changed their mind.
During Order 66, Aleenan Jedi General Kazdan Paratus escaped the slaughter on the Jedi Temple by fleeing away instead of fighting to protect the Temple like other Jedi such as Cin Drallig and Shaak Ti, which led to most of their deaths. His cowardly act of escape to the planet of Raxus Prime eventually led him to become a disillusioned and hermit Jedi. In his guilt of the Temple's destruction, he recreated the Jedi Temple using scraps of metal found all over on the junk planet and even created models of Council members to let go of his grief. The whole structure was destroyed when Darth Vader deployed his apprentice Galen 'Starkiller' Marek to kill the hermit Jedi upon receiving intelligence from his spies. During the fight between Marek and Paratus, Marek discovered Paratus had managed to animate his mock Jedi. Each fake Jedi had a weapon such as a force pike or vibroblade. Galen defeated each with ease, while Paratus recovered. During Paratus' exile in his mock Jedi temple, he obviously grew in grief over not staying to protect the temple during the fall of the Jedi. This was evident when he shouted things at Marek such as "I must protect the younglings!"