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Principles of parliamentary procedure

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Parliamentary procedure is the body of rules, ethics, and customs governing meetings and other operations of clubs, organizations, legislative bodies, and other deliberative assemblies. General principles of parliamentary procedure include rule of the majority with respect for the minority.

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The purpose of parliamentary procedure is for the assembly to conduct its businesses in the most efficient way possible while protecting the rights of its members.[1]


Majority rule

The basic principle of decision is majority vote.[2]

Minority rights

The minority have certain rights that only a supermajority, such as a two-thirds vote, can overrule.[2] Such rights include introducing new business and speaking in debate.[3]

Member rights

Members have the right to attend meetings, speak in debate, make (and second) motions, and vote; when the vote is by ballot, there is an additional right of secrecy in how the member votes. Other rights include nominating (and being nominated) to office, running for or being elected to office, and receiving proper notice of all meetings.[4] A member cannot be individually deprived of any these rights except through disciplinary procedures.[4]

Members have the right to know what they are deciding on.[5] The assembly acts with fairness and good faith.[1][6] All members are treated equally.[7][8] Members are expected to be of honorable character.[9]

One question at a time

Only one main motion can be pending at a time.[10] According to Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR), this rule is considered to be a "fundamental principle of parliamentary law".[11]

One person, one vote

Each member has a vote and each vote is weighted equally.[7][12] According to RONR, this rule is considered to be a "fundamental principle of parliamentary law".[11] Exceptions to this rule, such as cumulative voting, must be expressly provided for in the organization's fundamental rules.[13]

Only members present can vote

The decisions made by members present at a meeting are the official acts in the name of the organization.[2][6] According to RONR, this rule is considered to be a "fundamental principle of parliamentary law".[11] Exceptions for absentee voting would have to be expressly provided for in the organization's rules.[14] Nonmembers are not allowed to vote.[11]

Changing action previously decided on

Under RONR, the requirements for changing a previous action are greater than those for taking the action in the first place.[15] A motion to rescind, repeal or annul or amend something already (previously) adopted, for instance, requires a two-thirds vote, a majority with previous notice, or a majority of the entire membership.[16]

However, under The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, a repeal or amendment of something already adopted requires only the same vote (usually a majority) and notice that was needed to adopt it in the first place.[17]

Following own specific rules

The group must have the authority to take the actions it purports to take.[6][18] To be valid, any action or decision of a body must not violate any applicable law or constitutional provision.[6][19] Also, actions cannot be in conflict with a decision previously made unless that action is rescinded or amended.[19] The body can change the rules it wants to follow as long as it follows the rules for making such changes.[20]

Absentee members rights

Certain actions require previous notice, which protects the rights of absentees.[2] This includes notice of the meetings.[6][21] There also needs to be a quorum, or the minimum number of members to be present at a meeting.[6][22]

Nonmembers rights

Under RONR nonmembers have none of these rights and the assembly can exclude any or all of them from the proceedings.[23]


  1. ^ a b Sturgis, Alice (2001). The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, 4th ed., p. 7
  2. ^ a b c d Robert, Henry M.; et al. (2011). Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo Press. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-306-82020-5.
  3. ^ Robert 2011, p. 403
  4. ^ a b Robert 2011, p. 3
  5. ^ Robert 2011, p. 299
  6. ^ a b c d e f National Conference of State Legislatures (2000). Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure, p. 2–4
  7. ^ a b Robert 2011, p. 2
  8. ^ Demeter, George (1969). Demeter's Manual of Parliamentary Law and Procedure, Blue Book, p. 4–6
  9. ^ Robert 2011, p. 643
  10. ^ Robert 2011, p. 59
  11. ^ a b c d Robert 2011, p. 263
  12. ^ Robert 2011, p. 407
  13. ^ Robert 2011, p. 443
  14. ^ Robert 2011, p. 423
  15. ^ Robert 2011, p. 75
  16. ^ Robert 2011, p. 306
  17. ^ Sturgis, Alice (2001). The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, 4th ed.
  18. ^ Robert 2011, p. 125
  19. ^ a b Robert 2011, p. 251
  20. ^ Robert 2011, p. 10
  21. ^ Robert 2011, p. 89
  22. ^ Robert 2011, p. 21
  23. ^ Robert 2011, p. 648
This page was last edited on 6 August 2023, at 21:31
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