For the most part, they are a tyrannical group who create foolish and nonsensical laws.
The Witches Council seems to be made up of many different witches. It is lead by the Head of the Witches Council, who in the beginning of the series, was Drell. As Head of the Council, he presided over a type of governing senate which included himself, Skippy and Cassandra. It appears that the next level down consists of Judges within a sort of court system. Three judges have been noted, the elderly Judge Samuels that presided over several trials involving Sabrina herself; the eldery female witch judge that presided over Sabrina's loss of her Quizmaster and the incident with Dash's uncle and the shape-shifting Witch Judge that helped Sabrina's aunts teach her a lesson about pitting them against one another.
During Sabrina's numerous times before a Witch Judge, there are typically groups of witches dressed in Medieval garb sitting in a jury box waiting to give their verdict.
Apparantly, regular members of the witch community may sit on the The Witches Council as well. Derek Axelrod mentioned that his father, Dr. Axelrod, a dentist, sat on the Council.
At one point in the series, Zelda Spellman was ordered to perform the witch equivalent to jury duty by sitting on the Witches Council for a while.
The Witches Council has very specific jurisdiction over Quizmasters and even has the power to reassign Quizmasters to pupils.
The Witches Council has had a long standing history of creating and instituting laws that govern the magical population in both the mortal and the other realm. Some of these laws make sense while others seem ridiculous. Some of decrees of the Witches Council of note are:
- When a witch marries a mortal and they produce a child, that child must only learn of their magic on their 16th birthday and after that they are not to see their mortal parent face-to-face or that parent will be turned into a ball of wax. This is to discourage mortal/witch intermingling.
- Witches are forbidden to use their magic for charitable means because "terrible things could happen" as a result.
- Witches are forbidden to use magic to influence human emotions such as love.
- Witches are forbidden to tamper with life lessons, such as dealing with embarrasment.
- Individual witches are restricted in their ability to alter time. Most witches are able to stop time in close proximity to themselves and some are able to advance it, however few individual witches can reverse time. This is however a feat that witches collectively can achieve.
- When a witch first kisses a mortal, that mortal is transformed into a frog. In order to turn that mortal back, the witch must face three trials in order to determine if it is true love; a test of friendship, a test of fidelity and a test of faith. If the witch fails then they are turned into a frog as well.
- Once a witch turns seventeen, they must be tested for a year by an assigned Quizmaster in order to be granted their Witch's License. If a witch fails their first test, they are sent to Witch Boot Camp for a day.
- Young witches are required to solve their family secret by a certain date otherwise they are fined and will not be able to use their Witch's License. Their guardians must encourage them to solve the secret as well.
- If a witch freely tells a mortal that they are a witch and that mortal betrays them by telling another mortal, that witch has 12 hours to turn that mortal into a pile of stone or they will be stripped of their magic and cast out of the Other Realm.
- Witches are forbidden from using magic to conjure Thanksgiving dinner, in protest of witch-hating pilgrims.
Change of Order
As seen in The Whole Ball of Wax, the Witches Council changed completely. As opposed to the old governing "senate" headed by Drell, it was taken over by much younger witches who put the old Council out to pasture. This council was somewhat more progressive but still very much tyrannical, though aloof. Although they were more sympathetic to Sabrina's problem when her mother Diana was turned into a ball of wax, they did not have the power to undo the decree of the previous Council, though they did offer to turn her into a throw pillow or a glass eye.