The Sovereign Council is the holder of the Sovereignty of the Order. It is the supreme legislative body of the OSJ [§C 7.1].
When the Sovereign Council is in session its authority supercedes all other units, councils and committees of The Order and no meeting of any unit of The Order may occur when the Sovereign Council is in session. Meetings of the Sovereign Council normally take place every two years and focus on deliberating and deciding the governing tenants of the worldwide Order.
The Sovereign Council consists of a maximum of twenty Bailiffs who, together with the Grand Priors and Priors, make up the governing body. Bailiffs, who may serve until age 80, are regular members of the Sovereign Council and hold permanent seats, while Grand Priors and Priors hold temporary seats for as long as they hold their posts.