Universal House of Justice

Supreme governing and legislative council of the Bahá’í Administrative Order. Ordained by Bahá’u’lláh, and its functions elaborated by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Universal House of Justice was established in 1963 and is elected every five years with no nominations and no campaigning for votes. The electors, a body consisting of all current members of Bahá’í governing councils for nations and regions (generally known as National Spiritual Assemblies), cast secret ballots; vacancies during a term are filled by mail-in ballots. The membership of the Universal House of Justice, which consists of nine individuals who may come from any part of the world, is limited to men for reasons that Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá did not explain; it is the only Bahá’í institution so restricted. The Universal House of Justice directs the activities of Bahá’í communities worldwide and legislates on issues that are not covered in Bahá’í scripture. It is also responsible for the Bahá’í holy places and the administrative functioning of the Bahá’í World Center.