Parliamentary procedure is the accepted
Rule or ruling may refer to:
* Royal University of Law and Economics (RULE), a university in Cambodia
* The exercise of political or personal control by someone with authority or power
* Business rule, a rule pert ...
Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior".''Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy'' The field of ethics, along with aesthetics, concerns ...
Customs is an authority or agency in a country responsible for collecting tariffs and for controlling the flow of goods, including animals, transports, personal effects, and hazardous items, into and out of a country. Traditionally, customs ...
governing meetings of an assembly
An organization or organisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is an entity—such as a company, an institution, or an association—comprising one or more people and having a particular purpose.
The word is derived fro ...
. Its object is to allow orderly deliberation
upon questions of interest to the organization and thus to arrive at the sense or the will of the majority
of the assembly upon these questions. Self-governing
organizations follow parliamentary procedure to
Debate is a process that involves formal discourse on a particular topic, often including a moderator and audience. In a debate, arguments are put forward for often opposing viewpoints. Debates have historically occurred in public meetings, a ...
and reach group decisions, usually by vote
, with the least possible friction.
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Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. With an area of , Australia is the largest country b ...
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South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by of coastline that stretch along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the north by the neighbouring cou ...
, and other English-speaking countries, parliamentary procedure is often called ''chairmanship'', ''chairing'', the ''law of meetings'', ''procedure at meetings'', the ''conduct of meetings'', or the ''standing orders''. In the United States, it is referred to as ''parliamentary law'', ''parliamentary practice'', ''legislative procedure'', ''rules of order'', or ''Robert's rules of order''.
Rules of order consist of rules written by the body itself (often referred to as bylaws
), usually supplemented by a published parliamentary authority
adopted by the body. Typically, national, state or provincial and other full-scale legislative assemblies
have extensive internally written rules of order, whereas non-legislative bodies write and adopt a limited set of specific rules
as the need arises.
The term ''parliamentary procedure'' gets its name from its use in the
A parliamentary system, or parliamentarian democracy, is a system of democratic governance of a state (or subordinate entity) where the executive derives its democratic legitimacy from its ability to command the support ("confidence") of the ...
In the 16th and 17th century, the parliaments of England
began adopting rules of order.
In the 1560s Sir Thomas Smyth began the process of writing down accepted procedures and published a book about them for the
House of Commons
The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In both of these countries, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliament. T ...
Early rules included:
* One subject should be discussed at a time (adopted 1581)
* Personal attacks are to be avoided in debate (1604)
* Debate must be limited to the merits of the question (1610)
* Division of a question into parts to be voted on separately (1640)
The Westminster parliamentary procedures
are followed in several Commonwealth
countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, and South Africa.
In Canada, for example, the House of Commons uses ''House of Commons Procedure and Practice'' as its primary procedural authority. Others include
Arthur Beauchesne, (June 15, 1876 – April 7, 1959) was a Canadian civil servant who was Clerk of the House of Commons from 1925 to 1949. He is the author of the procedural manual, '' Rules and Forms of the House of Commons of Canada'', whic ...
's ''Parliamentary Rules and Forms of the House of Commons of Canada'', Sir John George Bourinot's ''Parliamentary Procedure and Practice in the Dominion of Canada''
Thomas Erskine May, 1st Baron Farnborough, (8 February 1815 – 17 May 1886) was a British constitutional theorist and Clerk of the House of Commons.
His seminal work, ''A Treatise upon the Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliam ...
's ''The Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament'' from Britain.
The rules of the
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the legislature of the federal government of the United States. It is bicameral, composed of a lower body, the House of Representatives, and an upper body, the Senate. It meets in the U.S. Capitol in Washi ...
were developed from parliamentary procedures used in Britain. Many nations' legislatures follow American parliamentary procedures, including
Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia, is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It consists of over 17,000 islands, including Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, and parts of Borneo and New Gu ...
The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no),
* bik, Republika kan Filipinas
* ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas
* cbk, República de Filipinas
* hil, Republ ...
Mexico ( Spanish: México), officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guat ...
South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korean Peninsula and sharing a land border with North Korea. Its western border is formed by the Yellow Sea, while its ea ...
The procedures of the
Diet of Japan
The is the national legislature of Japan. It is composed of a lower house, called the House of Representatives (Japan), House of Representatives (, ''Shūgiin''), and an upper house, the House of Councillors (Japan), House of Councillors (, ...
moved away from the British parliamentary model, when in
Japan was occupied and administered by the victorious Allies of World War II from the 1945 surrender of the Empire of Japan at the end of the war until the
Treaty of San Francisco took effect in 1952. The occupation, led by the United States w ...
, there were efforts to align Japanese parliamentary procedures with American congressional practices. In Japan, informal negotiations are more important than formal procedures.
In Italy, written rules govern the Houses of the Parliament
. The Constitutional Court
judges the limits beyond which these regulations cannot go, exceeding the parliamentary or political function (judgement n. 120 of 2014) and on their bad application when a law is passed.
Parliamentary authority usage patterns
Parliamentary procedure is based on the principles of allowing the majority to make decisions effectively and efficiently ( majority rule
), while ensuring fairness towards the minority and giving each member or delegate the right to voice an opinion.
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 hol ...
determines the will of the assembly. While each assembly may create their own set of rules, these sets tend to be more alike than different. A common practice is to adopt a standard reference book on parliamentary procedure and modify it through special rules of order
that supersede the adopted authority.
A parliamentary structure conducts business through motions
, which cause actions. Members bring business before the assembly by introducing main motion
s. "Members use subsidiary motion
s to alter a main motion, or delay or hasten its consideration." Parliamentary procedure also allows for rules in regards to nomination, voting, debate, disciplinary action, appeals, and the drafting of organization
A charter is the grant of authority or rights, stating that the granter formally recognizes the prerogative of the recipient to exercise the rights specified. It is implicit that the granter retains superiority (or sovereignty), and that the re ...
A constitution is the aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation or other type of entity and commonly determine how that entity is to be governed.
When these prin ...
s, and bylaws
Organizations and civic groups
Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised aspires to be a comprehensive guide: "New editions have marked the growth of parliamentary procedure as cases occurring in assemblies have pointed to a need for further rules or additional interpretations to go by." Robert's Rules of Order The Modern Edition, and The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure aspire to be concise. "This book is a basic reference book but does not claim to be comprehensive. For most organization and for most meetings, it will prove very adequate." "Alice Sturgis believed that confusing or unnecessary motions and terminology should be eliminated. Her goal was to make the process simpler, fairer, and easier to understand, and The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure did just that ..."
Some parliamentary guides, in order from most to least best selling according to Amazon's "Best Seller's Rank", as viewed on Amazon's web site March 9, 2022:
Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised;
Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised in Brief;
Robert's Rules of Order The Modern Edition;
Robert's Rules of Order: The Original Manual;
The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure;
Demeter's Manual of Parliamentary Law and Procedure: Blue Book Edition.
A common text in use in the UK, particularly within
A trade union (labor union in American English), often simply referred to as a union, is an organization of workers intent on "maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment", ch. I such as attaining better wages and benefits ...
, is Lord Citrine's '' ABC of Chairmanship
In English-speaking Canada, popular authorities include Kerr & King's ''Procedures for Meeting and Organizations''. The
Conservative Party of Canada
The Conservative Party of Canada (french: Parti conservateur du Canada), colloquially known as the Tories, is a federal political party in Canada. It was formed in 2003 by the merger of the two main right-leaning parties, the Progressive Co ...
uses ''Wainberg's Society meetings including rules of order'' to run its internal affairs.
In French-speaking Canada, commonly used rules of order for ordinary societies include Victor Morin's '' Procédures des assemblées délibérantes
'' (commonly known as the ''Code Morin'') and the ''Code CSN
Legislative assemblies in all countries, because of their nature, tend to have a specialized set of rules that differ from parliamentary procedure used by clubs and organizations.
In the United Kingdom, Thomas Erskine May
's '' Treatise on the Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament
'' (often referred to simply as ''Erskine May'') is the accepted authority on the powers and procedures of the Westminster parliament
. There are also the Standing Orders for each House
Of the 99 state legislative chambers
in the United States (two for each
State may refer to:
Arts, entertainment, and media Literature
* ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State
* ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, United States
* '' Our ...
Nebraska () is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern region of the United States. It is bordered by South Dakota to the north; Iowa to the east and Missouri to the southeast, both across the Missouri River; Kansas ...
, which has a
Unicameralism (from ''uni''- "one" + Latin ''camera'' "chamber") is a type of legislature, which consists of one house or assembly, that legislates and votes as one.
Unicameral legislatures exist when there is no widely perceived need for multi ...
legislature), '' Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure
'' governs parliamentary procedures in 70; '' Jefferson's Manual
'' governs 13, and '' Robert's Rules of Order
'' governs four. The
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, with the House of Representatives being the lower chamber. Together they compose the national bicameral legislature of the United States.
The composition and p ...
follows the Standing Rules of the United States Senate
, while the
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives, often referred to as the House of Representatives, the U.S. House, or simply the House, is the lower chamber of the United States Congress, with the Senate being the upper chamber. Together they ...
follows '' Jefferson's Manual
''Mason's Manual'', originally written by constitutional scholar and former
The California State Senate is the upper house of the California State Legislature, the lower house being the California State Assembly. The State Senate convenes, along with the State Assembly, at the California State Capitol in Sacramento.
staff member Paul Mason
in 1935, and since his death revised and published by the National Conference of State Legislatures
(NCSL), governs legislative procedures in instances where the state constitution
, state statutes
, and the chamber's rules are silent.
[National Conference of State Legislatures web site]
According to the NCSL, [ one of the many reasons that most state legislatures use ''Mason's Manual'' instead of ''Robert's Rules of Order'' is that ''Robert's Rules'' applies best to private organizations and civic groups that do not meet in daily public sessions. ''Mason's Manual'', however, is geared specifically toward state legislative bodies.
In the United States, individuals who are proficient in parliamentary procedure are called parliamentarians (in other English-speaking countries with parliamentary forms of government, "parliamentarian" refers to a
member of Parliament
A member of parliament (MP) is the representative in parliament of the people who live in their electoral district. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, this term refers only to members of the lower house since upper house members of ...).
Several organizations offer certification programs for parliamentarians, including the National Association of Parliamentarians
The National Association of Parliamentarians (NAP) says that it provides services and products to help its members and others to learn how to proceed with and manage meetings of assemblies such as school boards, homeowners associations, church b ... and American Institute of Parliamentarians. Agriculture teachers who coach teams in the parliamentary procedure contest of the National FFA Organization
National FFA Organization is an American 501(c)(3) youth organization, specifically a career and technical student organization, based on middle and high school classes that promote and support agricultural education. It was founded in 1925 at V ... (formerly Future Farmers of America) can earn the title Accredited Parliamentarian (AP). Parliamentarians perform an important role in many meetings, including counseling organizations on parliamentary law, holding elections, or writing amendments to the constitution and bylaws of an organization.
Group decision-making Group decision-making (also known as collaborative decision-making or collective decision-making) is a situation faced when individuals collectively make a choice from the alternatives before them. The decision is then no longer attributable to an ...
* Lawmaking procedure in India
* Parliamentary procedure in the corporate world
The Robert’s Rules Association
National Conference of State Legislatures: Using Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure
National Association of Parliamentarians (parliamentarians.org)
American Institute of Parliamentarians (aipparl.org)