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Parliamentary Procedure

As this is a learning conference, delegates are not expected to be familiar with parliamentary procedure. With that in mind, here are a few key terms that will be used during debate. If delegates have any more questions concerning parliamentary procedure, feel free to ask them during the conference!


  • Chairs

    • Operators of the committee

    • They guide debate and facilitate discussion

  • Dais

    • The front of the room where the Chairs are seated

    • A delegate will approach the dais when speaking during a caucus or when giving a note to the Chairs.

  • Decorum

    • A term used, or more often shouted, by a chair in order to restore moderated discussion when it is clear that the committee has become distracted by crosstalk (speaking out of turn).

  • Motion

    • An action of the committee where a delegate wishes to further committee discussion in some form (ex: motion to open debate, motion to open speaker’s list, motion to present a directive)

  • Point

    • An action used to further an individual delegate’s understanding in committee 

    • A point of personal privilege is used to ask for water or to use the bathroom

    • A point of inquiry is used for technical issues (such as a definition or clarification of a motion) - nothing which would strike up more debate

    • A point of order is used when there has been a critical misjudgment in committee procedure (such as a significant miscount of votes)

  • Moderated Caucus

    • A form of debate in which a speaker's list is made and each speaker is given time to express their ideas on a topic (which is specified in the motion for the caucus )

    • A total time, speaking time, and topic must be set

  • Unmoderated Caucus

    • A form of debate in which delegates can move around and talk freely and informally

    • A total time must be set

  • Yield

    • An action if a delegate ends their statements before their allotted speaking time has elapsed

    • Can be used in one of three ways: a yield to the chair (in which the delegate is allowed to end early and debate continues), a yield to another delegate (in which case another chosen delegate can use up the rest of the speaker's time), or a yield to questions (in which case other delegates ask the speaker questions)

  • Speaker’s List

    • Committees usually begin this way (after debate is opened)

    • Delegates on the speaker's list usually paraphrase the views they express in their position papers: they introduce issues they wish to focus on during committee

  • Round Robin:

    • An action motioned for so that each delegate in the committee is given the chance to speak on a specific issue

    • Useful when the committee has little to no discussion or when the committee has become too chaotic to work on anything

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