Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Parliamentary Law Definition:

Rules of deliberative bodies by which their procedure is regulated.

Also known as rules of order, parliamentary procedure, or rules of procedure for meetings.

In his 1964 article for the Cleveland-Marshall Law Review, John Waldeck adopted this definition of parliamentary law:

"The rules and usages of Parliament or of deliberative bodies by which their procedure is regulated.

"A rule of parliamentary law is a rule created and adopted by the legislative or deliberative body it is intended to govern."

MeetingLucille Place:

"Parliamentary law (parliamentary procedure) ... is the art of procedural rules that can enable a group of individuals in a free society, whether there are three or 3000, to meet together and accomplish the purpose for which it has assembled."

Demeter described parliamentary law as the:

"... rules, laws, or regulations of organizations, governing the orderly, expeditious and efficient transaction of business and meetings and conventions. Without rules, there would be injustice and confusion. Hence, it is as necessary to follow the rules of parliamentary law as it is to follow the rules of a ball game or a card game."

In the 10th Edition of Robert's Rules of Order (2000), Henry Robert wrote:

"The application of parliamentary law is the best method yet devised to enable assemblies of any size, with due regard for every member's opinion, to arrive at the general will on the maximum number of questions of varying complexity in a minimum amount of time and under all kinds of internal climate ranging from total harmony to hardened or impassioned division of opinion."

In the 1975 edition of Henry Robert's Parliamentary Law:

"Parliamentary law comprises the rules and customs governing deliberative assemblies. Its objects are to enable an assembly, with the least possible friction, to deliberate upon questions in which it is interested, and to ascertain and express its deliberate sense or will on these questions."

Alice Sturgis in her Standard Code states:

“All organizations, such as business, cultural, religious, social, fraternal, professional, educational, labor, civil, scientific, medical and governmental, are subject to the principles and rules of common parliamentary law. All profit and non-profit corporations and associations and the boards, counsels, commissions, and committees of government, must observe its rules.”


  • Demeter, George, Demeter's Manual of Parliamentary Law and Procedure (Boston: Bostonia Press, 1953).
  • Landes v State, 67 N.E. 189 (1903)
  • Place, Lucille, Parliamentary Procedures Simplified (New York: Frederick Fell Publishers, 1976), page 2.
  • Robert, Henry, Parliamentary Law, (New York: Irvington Publishers, 1975), page 3.
  • Robert, Henry, Robert's Rules of Order, 10th Ed. (Cambridge, Mass.: Da Capo Press, 2000), page XLVIII.
  • Sturgis, Alice, The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure (New York: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2001)
  • Waldeck, John, Parliamentary Procedure for Non-Profit Organizations, 13 Clev.-Marshall L. Rev. 529 (1964)

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