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For use of the term in board games, see adjournment (games).

An adjournment is a suspension of proceedings to another time or place. To adjourn means to suspend until a later stated time or place.


In law, to adjourn means to suspend proceedings to another time or place, or to end them.

Parliamentary procedure[edit]

Adjourn (RONR)
Class Privileged motion
In order when another has the floor? No
Requires second? Yes
Debatable? No
May be reconsidered? No
Amendable? No
Vote required Majority

In deliberative assemblies - bodies that use parliamentary procedure - adjournment occurs when the assembly is finished with business for the time being or to close a meeting or convention. Under Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR), if no time or method has been fixed to reconvene the assembly, adjournment has the effect of dissolving the body.

Motion to adjourn[edit]

A motion to adjourn is normally a privileged motion, unless qualified in any way (such as "adjourn at 10 p.m.") or unless adjournment would dissolve the assembly, in which case it must be a main motion. If a privileged motion, the motion yields to a motion to fix the time to which to adjourn, since that matter must be decided first.[1] The privileged motion to adjourn is generally used to end the meeting without completing some of the scheduled business, which is then carried over to either the next regular meeting (as "old business") or to a special (or "adjourned") meeting. When a body has completed the scheduled order of business at a meeting and there is no further business for the assembly to consider at that time, the chair may simply declare the meeting adjourned without a motion having been made. If a main motion, it cannot interrupt pending business, and is amendable and debatable.

Under Robert's Rules, a motion to adjourn is given high privilege even to the point of interrupting the pending question and, on adoption, it immediately closes the meeting. This is because a majority should not be forced to continue in session substantially longer than it desires and this is also the reason why this motion is not debatable. It cannot be made while another has the floor.[2]

The motion to adjourn can be renewed after "material progress" in business or debate, such as an important decision or speech. If no material progress has been made since the last motion to adjourn such renewed motion may be ruled dilatory by the chair.

A vote on a motion to lay on the table or recess does not count as business of a character to justify renewal of a motion to adjourn.[3] Along with the motion to fix the time to which to adjourn, recess, and take measures to obtain a quorum, it is one of the only motions allowed in the absence of a quorum.[4] The motion to adjourn is a privileged motion unless it is qualified in some way (as in the case of motion to adjourn at or to a future time), or the time for adjourning is already established, or the adjournment will dissolve the assembly with no provision another meeting.[5]

The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure (TSC) treats the motion to adjourn as a privileged motion but under fewer circumstances. Like RONR, TSC considers it a privileged motion (and thus non-debatable) when business is pending. As a privileged motion, however, TSC allows the motion to be amended to a limited extent to establish the time when the interrupted meeting will continue.[6] Unlike under RONR, however, it is considered a main motion (debatable and amendable) when no business is pending.

Motion to Fix the time to which to adjourn[edit]

Fix the time to which to adjourn (RONR)
Class Privileged motion
In order when another has the floor? No
Requires second? Yes
Debatable? No
May be reconsidered? Yes
Amendable? Yes
Vote required Majority

The motion to fix the time to which to adjourn is used to set the time (and possibly the place) for another meeting to continue business of the session. If it is moved while a question is pending, it is the highest ranking privileged motion. Otherwise, it is an incidental main motion.[7]

Adjourned meeting[edit]

An adjourned meeting is a term used in parliamentary procedure to mean a meeting that is continued from the previous meeting.[8] The motion to fix the time to which to adjourn sets up an adjourned meeting, which is part of the same session (series of related meetings).

Despite the name, an adjourned meeting is not related to the act of adjourning (i.e. "an adjourned meeting" does not mean "a meeting that has been adjourned"). To reduce this confusion, an adjourned meeting is sometimes called a "continued meeting".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Robert, Henry M. (2011). Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, 11th ed., p. 235 (RONR)
  2. ^ RONR, p. 236
  3. ^ RONR, p. 340
  4. ^ RONR, p. 347
  5. ^ RONR, p. 234
  6. ^ Sturgis, Alice (2001). The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, 4th ed., p. 78
  7. ^ RONR, p. 243
  8. ^ RONR, p. 93