Basic Parliamentary Rules
An organized society requires certain rules to establish its structure and manner of operation. The kinds of rules that an organization may adopt are:
Constitution and/or Bylaws
Rules of Order (which may be the Parliamentary Authority or special rules)
Standing Rules (sometimes referred to as ‘house-keeping rules’ because
they relate to the administration of an organization).
Why do we need all these rules?
One of the simplest answers is that rules provide valuable information about the society and they protect the rights of the members. Rules are based on a regard for the rights:
Of the majority
Of the minority
Of individual members
And of all these together
Individual members have the right to make motions, to debate and to vote. Based on the vote of the majority (or a 2/3 vote when required), we make all the decisions that relate to our club.
Sometimes standing rules are broken. When this happens, we can run into major problems. Henry Robert wrote: “Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is least of real liberty’. Sometimes the rules that we adopted one year do not fit the needs of the members the next year. When we know we need to break rules, there are ways to work around this – you can suspend certain rules such as rules of procedure, Standing rules and other minor rules that do not protect the rights of the individual member.
Rules should reflect what is happening in your organization, if they don’t, these rules should be changed and this may require a notice of motion and a 2/3 vote of the members present and voting or in the case of standing rules, as indicated in our Standing Rules: “These standing rules may be amended or rescinded by a two thirds vote without previous notice or by a majority vote if previous notice has been given.
Presented by: Irene Laidley, PABC Director at Large