Simplified Rules of Order
Principles of Parliamentary Procedure
- The purpose of parliamentary procedure is to make it easier
for people to work together effectively and to help groups accomplish
their purposes. Rules of procedure should assist a meeting, not
- A meeting can deal with only one matter at a time. The various
kinds of motions have therefore been assigned an order of precedence
(see Table 1).
- All members have equal rights, privileges and obligations.
One of the chairperson's main responsibilities is to use the authority
of the chair to ensure that all people attending a meeting are
treated equally--for example, not to permit a vocal few to dominate
- A majority vote decides an issue. In any group, each member
agrees to be governed by the vote of the majority. Parliamentary
rules enable a meeting to determine the will of the majority of
those attending a meeting.
- The rights of the minority must be protected at all times.
Although the ultimate decision rests with a majority, all members
have such basic rights as the right to be heard and the right
to oppose. The rights of all members--majority and minority--should
be the concern of every member, for a person may be in a majority
on one question, but in minority the on the next.
- Every matter presented for decision should be discussed fully.
The right of every member to speak on any issue is as important
as each member's right to vote.
- Every member has the right to understand the meaning of any
question presented to a meeting, and to know what effect a decision
will have. A member always has the right to request information
on any motion he or she does not thoroughly understand. Moreover,
all meetings must be characterized by fairness and by good faith.
Parliamentary strategy is the art of using procedure legitimately
to support or defeat a proposal.