Disciplinary procedures

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This article is about discipline in deliberative assemblies that use parliamentary procedure. For other uses of discipline, see Discipline (disambiguation).

In a deliberative assembly, disciplinary procedures are used to punish members for violating the rules of the assembly.

Codes and rules[edit]

According to Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR), discipline could include censure, fine, suspension, or expulsion.[1] The officers may be removed from their position, including the position of the chair. If an offense occurs in a meeting, the assembly, having witnessed it themselves, can vote on a punishment without the need for a trial.[2] The chair has no authority to impose a penalty or to order the offending member to be removed from the hall, but the assembly has that power.[2] Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure states that the power of discipline is within the assembly as a whole and not the presiding officer acting alone.[3]

A trial is required if the offense occurs outside a meeting and the organization's rules do not describe the disciplinary procedures.[4] The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure (TSC) states that in trials of disciplinary procedures, members should be given due notice and a fair hearing.[5] The trial could be held in a meeting of the organization or in a meeting of a committee appointed by the organization for such a purpose.[6]

Nonmembers of the body that is meeting have no rights.[7] Nonmembers may be removed by the chair acting alone.[7]

According the European Court of Human Rights, "it is common practice in Parliaments of the Member States of the Council of Europe that Parliaments exercise control over behaviour in Parliament":[8] the Court notes the importance of orderly conduct in Parliament and recognises the importance of respect for constitutional institutions in a democratic society. Its supervisory role consists in balancing those interests in the specific circumstances of the case against the rights affected in order to determine the proportionality of the interference.[9]

Types of discipline[edit]


Main article: Censure

Censure is an expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism. It can be adopted without formal disciplinary procedures.[1]


See also: Fine (penalty)

A member may be assessed a fine for not following a rule. For example, in a club, if a member is not wearing a name badge, that member may be charged a fine. Fines may be assessed only if authorized in the bylaws of the organization.[1]


A member may have a right, some rights, or all rights of membership suspended for a period of time.

Removal from office[edit]

A member may be removed from office. For example, the president could be temporarily removed from presiding over a meeting using a suspension of the rules.[10] Procedures to permanently remove members from office vary; some organizations allow removal only for cause, while in others, removal may be done at the pleasure of the membership.[11]


A member may be expelled from the organization or assembly. An example is expulsion from the United States Congress.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Robert, Henry M.; et al. (2011). Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo Press. p. 643. ISBN 978-0-306-82020-5. 
  2. ^ a b Robert 2011, p. 646
  3. ^ National Conference of State Legislatures (2000). Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure, 2000 ed., p. 418
  4. ^ Robert 2011, p. 656
  5. ^ Sturgis, Alice (2001). The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, 4th ed., p. 224
  6. ^ Robert 2011, p. 669
  7. ^ a b Robert 2011, p. 648
  8. ^ Giampiero Buonomo, Lo scudo di cartone, Rubbettino Editore, 2015, p. 209 , ISBN 978-88-498-4440-5.
  9. ^ "KARÁCSONY AND OTHERS v. HUNGARY 42461/13". caselaw.echr.globe24h.com. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  10. ^ "2006-2: SUSPEND THE RULES TO REMOVE PRESIDENT". The Official Robert's Rules of Order Web Site. The Robert's Rules Association. Retrieved 2016-02-04. 
  11. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions about RONR (Question 20)". The Official Robert's Rules of Order Web Site. The Robert's Rules Association. Retrieved 2016-02-04.