Difference Between Council and Counsel

Council vs Counsel

Council and counsel are two words that are commonly being confused for one another due to their uncanny similarity. Nearly identical in their pronunciation as well as their spelling, it is quite difficult to discern the difference between council vs counsel. Regardless of the proximity of the definition of council and counsel, it is inappropriate to use them interchangeably since the two words carry two different meanings.

What is Council?

A council usually refers to a group of people, legislators, administrators, or advisers, who had been elected to lead or govern and who gather together in order to discuss, deliberate, consult, or to make decisions. A council can also function as a legislature at the county, city or the town level, but at the state or the national level, most legislative bodies are not considered as councils. A board of directors or a committee can also be considered as a council. However, while a committee may be presented as a subordinate body of a larger body, a council may necessarily not be a subordinate body. The council can also be seen as the first form of governance that people are exposed to since many schools today feature student councils through which one gains their first experience as electors or participants.

A member of a council is referred to as a councilor or more gender specifically, a councilman or a councilwoman.

What is Counsel?

The word counsel can be used either as a verb or a noun. As a verb, counsel means the act of giving advice while counsel as a noun would refer to the advice given, which usually refers to legal advice or opinion. A more archaic term used with the world is “keep your own counsel,” which implies that one must keep one’s thoughts to oneself. Counsel is also a title that is often used interchangeably with the title lawyer as a counsel may also refer to someone who gives legal advice and represents a case in a court. UK and Ireland uses the term counsel as a synonym for barrister-at-law to indicate a person or a group who pleads a cause or are engaged in a case. In United States, the term counsel is used to refer to an attorney admitted to practice in all courts of law. In Canada and United States, most law firms feature lawyers with the job title “Counsel” who manage their own clients and supervise associates. A counsel may also be referred to as a counsellor alternatively. 

What is the difference between Counsel and Council?

• Council is a noun. Counsel can be used both as a noun and as a verb.

• Council refers to a group of people brought together to deliberate on a particular issue.

• Counsel when used as a verb means to advise, whereas when used as a noun it means instructions or advice.

• Council may mean a legislative body in the county, town or city level. Counsel is a title that is often used interchangeably with the term lawyer.

• Counsel and council are spelt differently. However, their pronunciations are almost identical.

From these you may understand, whether it be council or counsel, one must firstly discern the difference between the two in order to utilize the two words appropriately in day to day life. 


Further Readings

1. Difference Between Counselor and Councilor

2. Difference Between Shire and Council