A deliberative assembly is a meeting of
members Member may refer to: * Military jury, referred to as "Members" in military jargon * Element (mathematics), an object that belongs to a mathematical set * In object-oriented programming, a member of a class ** Field (computer science), entries in ...
who use
parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is the accepted rules, ethics, and customs governing meetings of an assembly or organization. Its object is to allow orderly deliberation upon questions of interest to the organization and thus to arrive at the sense o ...


In a speech to the electorate at Bristol in 1774,
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described the
British Parliament The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It meets at the Palace of Westminster, London. It alone possesses legislative supremac ...
as a "deliberative assembly," and the expression became the basic term for a body of persons meeting to discuss and determine common action.


Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised ''Robert's Rules of Order'', often simply referred to as ''Robert's Rules'', is a manual of parliamentary procedure by U.S. Army officer Henry Martyn Robert. "The object of Rules of Order is to assist an assembly to accomplish the work for which ...
'' by Henry Martyn Robert describes the following characteristics of a deliberative assembly: * A group of people meets to discuss and make decisions on behalf of the entire membership. * They meet in a single room or area, or under equivalent conditions of simultaneous oral communication. * Each member is free to act according to their own judgement. * Each member has an equal
vote Voting is a method by which a group, such as a meeting or an electorate, can engage for the purpose of making a collective decision or expressing an opinion usually following discussions, debates or election campaigns. Democracies elect ho ...
. * The members at the meeting act for the entire group, even if there are members absent. * A member's dissent on a particular issue constitutes neither a withdrawal from the group, nor a termination of membership.


''Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised'' identifies several types of deliberative assemblies.

Mass meeting

A ''mass meeting'', which is an unorganized group meeting open to all individuals in a sector of the population who are interested in deliberating about a subject proposed by the meeting's sponsors. Examples include meetings to discuss common political concerns or community interests, or meetings to form a new society.

Local assembly of an organized society

A ''local assembly of an organized society'', which is a membership meeting of a local chapter or branch of a
membership organization A membership organization is any organization that allows people or entities to subscribe, and often requires them to pay a membership fee or "subscription". Membership organizations typically have a particular purpose, which involves connecting pe ...
. Examples include local chapter meetings of organizations like the
Sierra Club The Sierra Club is an environmental organization with chapters in all 50 United States, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico. The club was founded on May 28, 1892, in San Francisco, California, by Scottish-American preservationist John Muir, who b ...


A ''convention'', which is a meeting of delegates who represent constituent units of a population. Conventions are not permanently established bodies, and delegates are normally elected for only one term. A convention may be held by an organized society, where each local assembly is represented by a delegate.

Legislative body

A ''legislative body'', which is a legally established public lawmaking body. It consists of representatives chosen by the electorate. Examples include national legislatures such as
parliament In modern politics, and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: representing the electorate, making laws, and overseeing the government via hearings and inquiries. ...
s, and local government councils such as state legislatures, regional assemblies and
city council A municipal council is the legislative body of a municipality or local government area. Depending on the location and classification of the municipality it may be known as a city council, town council, town board, community council, rural cou ...


A ''board'', which is an administrative, managerial, or quasi-judicial body. A board derives its power from an outside authority that defines the scope of its operations. Examples include an organized society's or company's board of directors and government agency boards like a
board of education A board of education, school committee or school board is the board of directors or board of trustees of a school, local school district or an equivalent institution. The elected council determines the educational policy in a small regional are ...

Rights of members

A member of a deliberative assembly has the right to attend meetings, and make and second
motions In physics, motion is the phenomenon in which an object changes its position with respect to time. Motion is mathematically described in terms of displacement, distance, velocity, acceleration, speed and frame of reference to an observer and mea ...
, speak in debate, and vote. Organizations may have different classes of members (such as regular members, active members, associate members, and honorary members), but the rights of each class of membership must be defined (such as whether a "member" in a class has the right to vote). There may also be
ex officio An ''ex officio'' member is a member of a body (notably a board, committee, council) who is part of it by virtue of holding another office. The term '' ex officio'' is Latin, meaning literally 'from the office', and the sense intended is 'by right ...
members, or persons who are members by virtue of some other office or position they hold. Ex officio members have the same rights as other members.

See also

Deliberation Deliberation is a process of thoughtfully weighing options, usually prior to voting. Deliberation emphasizes the use of logic and reason as opposed to power-struggle, creativity, or dialogue. Group decisions are generally made after deliberati ...
Deliberative democracy Deliberative democracy or discursive democracy is a form of democracy in which deliberation is central to decision-making. It adopts elements of both consensus decision-making and majority rule. Deliberative democracy differs from traditional d ...
Direct democracy Direct democracy or pure democracy is a form of democracy in which the electorate decides on policy initiatives without elected representatives as proxies. This differs from the majority of currently established democracies, which are repr ...
Meeting (parliamentary procedure) According to '' Robert's Rules of Order'', a widely used guide to parliamentary procedure, a meeting is a gathering of a group of people to make decisions. This sense of "meeting" may be different from the general sense in that a meeting in genera ...
Voting methods in deliberative assemblies Deliberative assemblies – bodies that use parliamentary procedure to arrive at decisions – use several methods of voting on motions (formal proposal by members of a deliberative assembly that the assembly take certain action). The regular me ...
* Legislative assembly *
Committee A committee or commission is a body of one or more persons subordinate to a deliberative assembly. A committee is not itself considered to be a form of assembly. Usually, the assembly sends matters into a committee as a way to explore them mor ...




* * {{Parliamentary Procedure Deliberative groups Meetings Parliamentary procedure