It is however specified that the body can legislate. The exact process of legislation within the Council itself is unclear—though it is clear that Emperors have possessed the power of veto since Uriel Septim VI's reign in the early fourth century of the Third Era.
The leader at the end of the Third Era was High Chancellor Ocato, an Altmer who is said to have been virtually running the Empire for 15 years after Emperor Uriel Septim VII's murder in 3E 433. Following the Oblivion Crisis, Ocato began to recognize the threat of the Thalmor and was assassinated.
The Elder Council's task is to keep the Empire running. Their responsibilities consist of the day-to-day management of the Empire, such as the administration and overseeing provinces, advising the Emperor, and the creation of laws (over which the Emperor still holds a veto). The Council's importance becomes clear when the Empire is in some emergency or struggle, such as an interregnum.
During absence of an Emperor (e.g the period between the death of an Emperor and the crowing of a new one) the Council is supposed to rule the Empire as an interim under the leadership of the High Chancellor. The Council may elect an Emperor/Empress Regent should the incumbent Emperor be incompetent (e.g If the Emperor is mentally deranged, not allowing him to perform his task properly).
They are also responsible for recognizing and crowning the next ruler after an Emperor's death. Normally this is a matter of birthright. However, on numerous occasions the members have recognized someone who isn't a direct descendant of the previous Emperor.
In unique situations, the Elder Council can be forced to take regency for a long time, thus allowing them complete control over all military forces of the Empire (e.g when the oldest heir is still too young to be crowned Emperor). The Elder Council Charter allows the High Chancellor to become Portentate.[source?]
The Council convenes at its chambers in the center of the Imperial Palace complex, within the Imperial City. The Council chamber is comprised of a large circular table, encircled by tall chairs. The table is in the exact center of a dome shaped room, possessed of a high ceiling. The palace is built around the ancient Ayleid White-Gold Tower which extends hundreds of feet into the air. This at least partially accounts for the design of the Council chamber.
The exact details of what makes up the council is unknown. Known members are:
- The Elder Scrolls: Arena
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls Online (Mentioned only)