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It started as an organization of representatives of governments who had certain powers given by their contributors. It served as a deliberative body for debates and disputes between its member governments, or even violations of agreements between them. It could intrude itself into a quarrel if a party violated a fundamental provision of universal law.
Each government sent only one representative (bringing along a number of advisors) who voted as many times determined by the size of the population he represented. Eventually they became independent ministers and had total immunity from prosecution arising from any action in the meetings. The vote was cast during the first Standard day an issue was announced.
The Landsraad collected no taxes and had no armed forces, depending upon the voluntary strength of its members, in case a decision taken during its sessions needed to be enforced.
During the Butlerian Jihad the Landsraad numbered 13000 planets. Before the expansion of the empire, voting members exceeded 4000.
For the first time their meetings became regularly scheduled after the reorganization proposed by Iason Atreides in 681 AG. instead of a chaotic personal rule now it became a trierarchy: The Imperial seat, the Landsraad and CHOAM and the Spacing Guild.