Founding of the Judicial Council of California

On November 2, 1926, Proposition 27 appeared on the California ballot to "create a judicial council to regulate court practices and procedures."

With 65% of voters choosing "yes," the Judicial Council of California was formed. The Council's role was then defined in Article VI of the California State Constitution.

Photo of the California State Constitution in hardcover book format.

The Judicial Council was created by constitutional amendment and charged with improving the administration of justice, providing guidelines to the courts, making recommendations to the Governor and Legislature, and creating California Rules of Court on court administration, practice, and procedure.

These statutes were outlined originally due to a nationwide court reform movement that would help the California court system to deliver higher qualities of justice as well as operate more efficiently.


Sec. 6 (a) The Judicial Council consists of the Chief Justice and one other judge of the Supreme Court, three judges of courts of appeal, 10 judges of superior courts, two nonvoting court administrators, and any other nonvoting members as determined by the voting membership of the council, each appointed by the Chief Justice for a three-year term pursuant to procedures established by the council; four members of the State Bar appointed by its governing body for three-year terms; and one member of each house of the Legislature appointed as provided by the house.


(b) Council membership terminates if a member ceases to hold the position that qualified the member for appointment. A vacancy shall be filled by the appointing power for the remainder of the term.


(c) The council may appoint an Administrative Director of the Courts, who serves at its pleasure and performs functions delegated by the council or the Chief Justice, other than adopting rules of court administration, practice and procedure.


(d) To improve the administration of justice the council shall survey judicial business and make recommendations to the courts, make recommendations annually to the Governor and Legislature, adopt rules for court administration, practice and procedure, and perform other functions prescribed by statute. The rules adopted shall not be inconsistent with statute.


(e) The Chief Justice shall seek to expedite judicial business and to equalize the work of judges. The Chief Justice may provide for the assignment of any judge to another court but only with the judge’s consent if the court is of lower jurisdiction. A retired judge who consents may be assigned to any court.

(f) Judges shall report to the council as the Chief Justice directs concerning the condition of judicial business in their courts. They shall cooperate with the council and hold court as assigned.