The council was created under the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Act 1995, following demands of Ladakhi people to make Leh District a new Indian Union Territory because of its religious and cultural differences with the rest of Jammu and Kashmir. In October 1993, the Indian government and the State government agreed to grant Ladakh the status of Autonomous Hill Council. The council came into being with the holding of elections on August 28, 1995. The inaugural meeting of the council was held at Leh on September 3, 1995. An Autonomous Hill Council has also been established in neighbouring Kargil District.
The council is composed of 30 Councillors of which 26 are directly elected and 4 are nominated members.
The executive arm of the council consists of an executive committee composed of a Chief Executive Councillor, currently Chering Dorjay, and four other Executive Councillors. The Chief Executive Councillor also serves as the chairman of the council and Deputy Commissioner for the district.