Rules of Procedure

Attendance and Quorum

Before the start of any Committee session, the Chair shall call the roll in alphabetical order. Delegations will answer either “present” or “present and voting” to be included in the quorum. Those arriving late and missing the initial attendance count must provide written notification to the Chair of the delegation’s voting status (“present” or “present and voting”) for official inclusion in Committee activity.

DEFINITION OF “PRESENT” AND “PRESENT AND VOTING”: The phrase “present and voting” means delegations must cast an affirmative or negative vote and may not abstain. Delegations that are “present” reserve the right to abstain. Abstentions are non-votes; they are not included in the tally that determines the passage of a substantive matter.

VOTING ON PROCEDURAL MATTERS: All present delegations must vote on all procedural matters. Abstentions are considered out of order on procedural questions.

The Chair may declare a Committee open and permit debate to proceed when at least one third of the delegations to the Committee are present. The presence of 1/3 of delegations will be required for the vote on any substantive motion. A quorum will be assumed to be present unless specifically challenged and shown to be absent.

Determining the Agenda
After the roll call of the first Committee session, the Chair will open the floor to discussion of the order in which the topics will be deliberated. A Primary Speakers List will be established for delegates wishing to speak on the matter. Delegates on the list then address the committee, stating their positions on the topics and preference for an agenda order. Delegates may be added to the Primary Speakers List by raising their placards when prompted by the Chair.
A Motion to set the first item of the Agenda shall be in order when the floor is open. Such a Motion requires two speakers in favor and two opposed.
Motions for setting the agenda will be taken one at a time by the Vice-Chair and voted on in the order received. The first motion to receive the support of a simple majority will be adopted and the agenda will be set according to the terms of that motion. (Example: “The delegation from France moves to set the agenda in the following order – Topic III, Topic I, Topic II.” If this motion receives the support of the majority of the committee, the agenda will be discussed in that order). Should the Motion pass with a simple majority, the Committee will immediately move into debate on the chosen topic, opening a Secondary Speakers List.
Debate on the Agenda Topics and Motions
Once the agenda has been set, the committee automatically discusses the first topic and a new speakers’ list, the Secondary Speakers List, is opened. While the committee is on the Secondary Speakers List, Speakers may speak on the topic in general or on any Draft Resolutions or amendments that have been introduced. The names of the next several countries to speak will be posted for the convenience of the Committee. Should the Secondary Speakers List be exhausted, debate on the topic will close and the Committee will immediately move into voting procedure, and then back to the Primary Speakers List. No motions are necessary for this to occur. The subject matter of the debate is the topic itself and delegates are not limited to discussing resolutions as they appear on the floor. Substantive debate is designed for countries to express their views on the topic area or on any proposals or resolutions that have appeared or may appear in the future.
As with the Primary Speakers List, delegates must add their names to the Secondary Speakers List before speaking by raising their placards when prompted by the Chair, or by passing a note up to the dais indicating that they would like to be added to the Secondary Speakers List.
The following terms are relevant to the time spent on the Secondary Speakers List:

DEBATE: Once the committee has moved to debate on a topic, a Secondary Speakers List will be established for the purpose of general debate. This Speakers List will be followed for all debate on the Topic, except when superseded by procedural Motions, amendments, or the introduction of a resolution. Speakers may speak generally on the Topic being considered and may address any resolution currently on the floor. The Chair will call to order any delegate deviating from the Topic chosen by the Committee.

MOTIONS: Motions are made when delegates raise them using their speaking time from the Secondary Speaker’s List.

  • MOTION FOR AN UNMODERATED CAUCUS: During debate, any delegation may Motion to suspend the meeting for an unmoderated caucus. A Motion for an unmoderated caucus is in order at any time when the floor is open, prior to closure of debate. The delegate making the Motion must briefly explain the purpose and specify a time limit for the unmoderated caucus, which is not to exceed twenty minutes. The Chair may rule the Motion out of order and his/her decision is not subject to appeal. If the Motion is successful, rules of procedure will be temporarily suspended, and delegates will be permitted to leave their seats in order to talk freely with other delegates or work on Working Papers (see Working Papers and Draft Resolutions).
  • MOTION FOR A MODERATED CAUCUS: During debate, any delegation may Motion to suspend current debate from the Speakers List for a moderated caucus. A Motion for a moderated caucus is in order at any time when the floor is open, prior to closure of debate. The delegate making the Motion must briefly explain its purpose and specify a time limit for the caucus, which is not to exceed twenty minutes, and a time limit for the individual speeches. The Chair may rule the Motion out of order and his/her decision is not subject to appeal. The purpose of the moderated caucus is to facilitate substantive debate at critical junctures in the discussion. In a moderated caucus, the Chair will temporarily depart from the Speakers List and call on delegates to speak at his or her discretion; delegations shall indicate their desire to speak by raising their placards.
  • MOTION TO EXTEND: A Delegate may Motion for an extension of a Moderated or Unmoderated Caucus if he/she feels that additional time would benefit committee work. This Motion requires a simple majority to pass and is not debatable. The Delegate moving for an Extension of the Moderated Caucus must suggest a length of time for the extension. The Chair may suggest a more appropriate caucus length or speaking time or may rule the Extension of the Moderated Caucus out of order without possibility of appeal.

POINTS: Points can be made by delegates at any time in committee, though politeness is certainly expected.

  • POINTS OF ORDER: During the discussion of any matter, a delegate may rise to a Point of Order to indicate an instance of improper parliamentary procedure. This point takes immediate precedence over all other Motions. A delegate making such a Motion may not speak on the substantive issue at hand, but must limit remarks to the precise procedural point in question. The Chair will rule on the validity of the Motion and will immediately decided whether it is in accordance with these Rules of Procedure. This decision cannot be appealed.
  • POINTS OF PERSONAL PRIVILEGE: Whenever a delegate experiences personal discomfort which impairs his/her ability to participate in the proceedings, he or she may rise to a Point of Personal Privilege to request that the discomfort be corrected. While such a Motion may interrupt a speaker, delegates must use this power with the utmost discretion. The Chair will then attempt to remedy the problem.
  • POINTS OF PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY: When the floor is open, a delegate may rise to a Point of Parliamentary Inquiry to ask the Chair a question pertaining to the Committee’s proceedings or status. Such a point may address questions including, but not limited to: parliamentary procedure, the status of the Speakers List, or the status of a resolution and/or amendment. The Chair shall answer the point before debate proceeds. A Point of Parliamentary Inquiry may never interrupt a speaker. Delegates with substantive questions should not rise to the Point but should rather approach the Dais during unmoderated caucus or submit their question in writing during debate.
  • RIGHT OF REPLY: Delegations believing the good name of their country or personal integrity has been insulted or defamed by a speaker may Motion for a Right of Reply immediately following the speaker’s remarks. The Chair’s decision to grant or deny the Right of Reply cannot be appealed. A Right of Reply to a Right of Reply is out of order.
  • FRIVOLOUS AND DILATORY MOTIONS: The Chair may rule a Motion that is inappropriate, has no chance of passing, or would constitute an unnecessary hindrance to debate, to be dilatory at any time, thus skipping over the motion.

TIME LIMIT ON SPEECHES: The Chair may choose to limit the time allotted to each speaker on the Speakers List. The minimum time will be ten seconds. A delegate may also move to limit the speakers’ time. Such a Motion must specify the length of time a speaker should be accorded and needs a simple majority to pass.

YIELDS: A speaker accorded the right to speak on a Speakers List may yield any remaining time in one of three ways. A speaker must inform the Chair of the desired yield at the end of his or her remarks.

  • YIELD TO ANOTHER DELEGATION: The speaker may yield remaining time to another delegate. To do this, the speaker must inform the chair at the beginning of his or her speech which delegation shall receive the balance of the speaking time. Neither delegation will be able to make any further yields.
  • YIELD TO QUESTIONS: Questioners will be selected by the Chair and limited to one question each. Follow-up questions will be allowed only at the discretion of the Chair. The Chair will have the right to call to order any delegate whose question is, in the opinion of the Chair, rhetorical and leading and not designed to elicit information. Only the speaker’s answers to questions will be deducted from the speaker’s remaining time.
  • YIELD TO THE CHAIR: Such a yield should be made if the delegate does not wish to yield his/her time to questions or another delegate. The Chair will then move to the next speaker.
 Working Papers and Draft Resolutions

WORKING PAPERS: Any document that has not been approved by the Dais and distributed to the floor shall be referred to in formal debate as a “Working Paper.” Delegates may propose Working Papers for Committee consideration. Working Papers are intended to aid the Committee in its discussion and formulation of resolutions. Working Papers are not official documents, but do require sponsors and the signature of the Chair to be copied and distributed. When delegates have prepared a Working Paper with the proper number of sponsors and signatories (see below), the Working Paper must be submitted to the Vice-Chair for review and approval.

DRAFT RESOLUTIONS: In order for a Working Paper to be introduced for consideration as a Draft Resolution, it must be submitted to and approved by the Vice-Chair. The Chair will only consider a Working Paper as a Draft Resolution if the following requirements have been met:

  • The sponsors and the signatories together comprise one-fifth of the number of delegations that are present at the beginning of the Committee session.
  • The sponsors of a Draft Resolution support the document and will vote in favor of its passage unless the Draft Resolution has been significantly altered by the addition of a hostile amendment (see below).
  • The signatories party to a Draft Resolution are not required to support the Draft Resolution, and the signatory has no further obligations.
  • The Draft Resolution is written in standard HSMUN format (See Resolution Writing in the above menu bar). Importantly, Draft Resolutions should have both preambulatory and operative clauses.

The Dais reserves the right to refuse a Working Paper that does not meet the standards of the Dais. Once the Working Paper has been given approval by the Vice-Chair and the Chair has communicated this approval to the Committee, copies will be made and distributed to the delegates. At this point, the Draft Resolution will be numbered and may be referred to as a “Draft Resolution.” More than one Draft Resolution may be on the floor at any one time.

INTRODUCING DRAFT RESOLUTIONS: Once a Draft Resolution has been approved as stipulated above, and has been copied and distributed, the sponsors of the Draft Resolution may introduce the Draft Resolution by any one sponsoring delegation on the Secondary Speakers List. The Draft Resolution cannot be formally introduced during the course of moderated or unmoderated caucus.

The content of such an introduction from the Speakers List will be limited to reading the operative clauses of the Draft Resolution. This introduction will be considered procedural in nature, and hence, yields are out of order.

After the introduction of a Draft Resolution, the Chair will entertain a Motion for a question period to consider the Draft Resolution. The Motion will stipulate a duration for the question period as well as a speaking time which will apply to both the questions and the answers. If the Motion passes, the sponsors will rise to answer questions from the committee for the duration specified. Only one sponsor may answer a particular question, and questions directed at a specific sponsor must be answered by that sponsor. If the committee desires additional time for the question and answer period then a Motion to extend may be introduced. This Motion remains at the discretion of the Chair.

After any such Motion, debate continues according to the Secondary Speakers List.

WITHDRAWING DRAFT RESOLUTIONS: A Draft Resolution can at any time be withdrawn so long as no vote has been taken with respect to it. A Draft Resolution may be withdrawn from consideration if all of the sponsors consent and the Chair approves. The Draft Resolution may be reintroduced to the floor; however, it must once again collect the requisite number of sponsors and signatories and the approval of the Dais

WITHDRAWING SUPPORT OF A DRAFT RESOLUTION: The sponsors of a Draft Resolution or friendly amendment may withdraw their support at any time. If the number of withdrawals brings the total number of sponsors and signatories below one-fifth the number of delegations present and no other signatories can be found from the committee, the Draft Resolution is considered withdrawn. The Draft Resolution may be reintroduced to the floor; however, it must once again collect the requisite number of sponsors and signatories and the approval of the Dais.

AMENDMENTS: An amendment to a Draft Resolution is any substantive change that adds to or revises the operative clauses. Preambulatory clauses may not be amended. Delegates may amend any Draft Resolution that has been introduced. Amendments to amendments are out of order; however. There are no official sponsors of amendments, only signatories.

  • FRIENDLY AMENDMENTS: “Friendly amendments” are amendments which have the support of all the sponsors of a Draft Resolution. Friendly amendments shall be appended to a Draft Resolution once the Vice-Chair has established that all sponsors support the measure and has communicated this to the Chair. The amendment will then be considered a part of the Draft Resolution without a vote. The Chair shall also stop debate to read the friendly amendment into the record.
  • HOSTILE AMENDMENTS: “Hostile amendments” are amendments which do not have the support of all of the sponsors of a Draft Resolution. Hostile amendments require one-fifth of delegations as signatories, and the approval of the Vice-Chair. A hostile amendment that has been approved by the Dais may be introduced from the Secondary Speakers List. The amendment will be read aloud by the Chair at this time. The hostile amendments will be voted on upon closure of debate in the order in which they were submitted. A simple majority is required to (hostilely) amend a draft resolution The Chair may amalgamate similar amendments at his/her discretion.
Voting Procedure

VOTING PROCEDURE: Upon the closure of debate or the exhaustion of the Speakers List, the Committee shall move immediately into voting procedure. No one shall be allowed in or out of the Committee; delegates not in the room when the Committee enters voting procedure shall be barred until the completion of voting. Any form of communication between delegates is forbidden. Any Working Papers not formally introduced by this point will not be considered. The Committee shall vote upon all Draft Resolutions and their subsequent amendments in the order submitted to the Chair. Only one Draft Resolution may pass on a given topic. Approval of the Committee requires a two-thirds majority.

DIVISION OF THE QUESTION: A division separates a Draft Resolution into two or more parts. This is usually done when a delegations feels that part of a Draft Resolution is particularly good, and wants to ensure its passage, or that a section is particularly bad, and wants to see that the contentious part does not doom the entire document. A division may not occur in the middle of an operative clause. Division of the preamble is out of order. The Chair shall record all Motions to divide. The Committee will consider the divisions in order of most destructive to least destructive. This order is set at the discretion of the Chair and is not subject to appeal.

Each member of the Committee shall have one vote. Those delegations with Observer status cannot vote. Each vote may be a “Yes,” “No,” or “Abstain”. Unless a roll call vote is initiated, abstentions will not be noted. Members “present and voting” will be defined as members casting an affirmative or negative vote. Members who abstain from voting are considered not voting. All matters will be voted upon by means of placards, except in the case of a Roll Call vote. After the Chair has announced the beginning of voting, no delegate can interrupt the voting except on a Point of Personal Privilege or a Point of Order in connection with the actual conduct of voting.

ROLL CALL VOTING: After debate is closed on any resolution or amendment, any delegate may request a roll call vote. Such a Motion may be made from the floor and put to a vote. The Motion requires a simple majority to pass. A Roll Call vote is in order only for substantive Motions, not procedural ones.

In the first sequence, delegates may vote “Yes,” “No,” “Abstain,” or “Pass.” A delegate who does not pass may request the right to explain his/her vote by voting “with rights.” Delegates who abstain cannot vote with rights.

A delegate who passes during the first sequence of the roll call must vote during the second sequence of the roll call (when all those who passed receive the opportunity to vote), and may not abstain upon casting his/her vote. Delegates who pass will not be accorded the ability to vote with rights.

All delegates who voted with rights will be granted time to explain their votes.

The Chair will then announce the outcome of the vote.

RIGHTS OF EXPLANATION: A delegation voting with rights shall be accorded an amount of time set at the Chair’s discretion for an explanation of their vote. Rights of explanation should only be used in instances where a delegation’s vote could be considered out of character, such as a delegate voting against a Draft Resolution that it had sponsored. Sponsors should only vote against their Draft Resolution if the Draft Resolution has been significantly changed by the addition of hostile amendments and division.

Closure/Adjournment of Debate

A motion to close debate may be made at any time but requires the support of two-thirds of the committee to pass.

CLOSURE OF DEBATE: A Motion to close debate and bring all substantive Motions to a vote can be made at any time. The Chair may, subject to appeal, rule such a Motion dilatory. When closure of debate is moved, the Chair may recognize up to two speakers against the Motion. No speaker in favor of the Motion will be recognized. A two-thirds vote is needed for passage. Upon passage, debate ends on that agenda topic, and the Committee immediately moves into voting procedure. All substantive Motions on the floor shall be brought to a vote.

SUSPENSION OR ADJOURNMENT OF THE SESSION: Whenever the floor is open, a delegate may move for the suspension of the session (in order to suspend all Committee functions until the next meeting), or for the adjournment of the session (in order to suspend all Committee functions for the duration of the Conference). The Chair may rule such Motions out of order; these decisions will not be subject to appeal. When ruled in order, such Motions will not be debatable but will be immediately put to the vote and will require a simple majority to pass.

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