Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Standing Committee Definition:

Committees which have a continued existence; that are not related to the accomplishment of a specific, once-only task as are ad hoc or special committees.

Related Terms: Ad Hoc, Committee

A term of parliamentary law.

John Taggart wrote:

"Standing Committee: this is the general way to describe a permanent committee. Its members and chairman will change from time to time. It may be reconstituted annually in accordance with the rules. It administers a continuous responsibility."

Standing committees generally exist as long as the organization to which it reports. Budget and finance or nomination committees are typical standing committees of a larger organization.

Henry Robert wrote:

"In ordinary societies and conventions a committee is appointed, either for some special purpose, automatically expiring as soon as that purpose is accomplished, or for some general purpose which requires the committee to remain in existence permanently, to take care of all business that may arise of the class assigned to it.

"The first kind of committee is called a special or select committee, because it is selected to attend to some special things, the committee expiring when that thing has been attended to and its final report has been made.

"The other kind is called a standing committee because it is always in existence, the old members not going out of office until their successors are appointed."

From the 10th Edition of Robert's Rules of Order:

"Ordinary committees are of two types: standing committees (which have a continuing existence) and special committees (which go out of existence as soon as they have completed a specific task)."

For example, a standing committee established by a Parliament generally lasts the entire duration of that Parliament.

William Craig described a standing committee as:

"... committees which are created are set up by the standing orders, rules or regulations of an organization in which exist and function on a more or less permanent basis."


  • Craig, William Graham, The Law and Procedure of Meetings in Canada (Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1966), page 65.
  • Robert, Henry, Parliamentary Law, (New York: Irvington Publishers, 1975), page 244.
  • Robert, Henry, Robert's Rules of Order, 10th Ed. (Cambridge, Mass.: Da Capo Press, 2000), page 472.
  • Taggart, W. J., Horsley’s Meetings – Procedure, Law and Practice, 2nd Edition (Sydney: Butterworths, 1983), page 140-141.

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