Recess (motion)

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In parliamentary procedure, "recess" refers to legislative bodies—such as parliaments, assemblies, juries—that are released to reassemble at a later time. The members may leave the meeting room, but are expected to remain nearby. A recess may be simply to allow a break (e.g. for lunch) or it may be related to the meeting (e.g. to allow time for vote-counting).

Explanation and use[edit]

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

Sometimes the line between a recess and an adjournment can be fine. A break for lunch can be more in the nature of a recess or an adjournment depending on the time and the extent of dispersion of the members required for them to be served. But at the resumption of business after a recess, there are never any "opening" proceedings such as reading of minutes; business picks up right where it left off. The distinction of whether the assembly recesses or adjourns has implications related to the admissibility of a motion to reconsider and enter on the minutes and the renewability of the motion to suspend the rules.[1]

Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR)[edit]

Under the commonly used Robert's Rules of Order, a motion to recess may not be called when another person has the floor, is not reconsiderable, and requires a second and a majority vote. When adopted, it has immediate effect.

If made when business is pending, it is an undebatable, privileged motion. It can be modified only by amendment of the length of the break.

Related Concept and Motion[edit]

  • Stand at ease is a brief pause without a recess in which the members remain in place but may converse while waiting for the meeting to resume.[2]
  • Adjournment


  1. ^ Robert, Henry M. (2011). Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th ed.). p. 85.  (RONR)
  2. ^ RONR, p. 82