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Parliamentary Procedure

As we have delegates of all levels, we do not expect everyone 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 or reach out to your chairs!


  • 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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