The Sovereign Council was a judicial body similar to those that were established in the French provinces from the end of the Middle Ages. Established by an edict dated April 30, 1663, the Council acted essentially as a court of appeal, but it also had the power to register and examine (right of remonstrance) regulatory documents issued by the monarchy, ordinances, letters patent, and edicts, before putting them into effect throughout New France. In fact, the Council's involvement in various matters was determined by the Intendant and the Governor. Like the other sovereign councils established in France to oversee Louis XIV's territorial conquests (Alsace, Artois, Roussillon, etc.), it operated according to the rules of the Coutume de Paris, although it was not possible to purchase a position as councillor and there were no lawyers. The Council consisted of, in order of precedence: the Governor; the Bishop; the Intendant; the councillors, initially appointed jointly by the Governor and the Bishop, but after 1675 by the King alone; an attorney general; and a registrar. Although ranked only third in the hierarchy, the Intendant, as president of the council, was responsible for sounding opinion, gathering votes and announcing decisions.

The Sovereign Council
Seal of the Sovereign Council, January 30, 1742
CA ANQ-Q TL5/6 Collection Pièces judiciaires et notariales dossier 1280