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Rules of order
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Rules of order

Rules of order, also known as standing orders or rules of procedure, are the written rules of parliamentary procedure adopted by a deliberative body, which detail the processes used by the body to make decisions. Some bodies rely more on precedent and on the judgment of the presiding officer, whereas others rely more heavily on the written rules.

Rules of order consist of rules written by the body itself, but also usually supplemented by a published parliamentary authority adopted by the body. Typically, national, state, and other full-scale legislative assemblies have extensive internally written rules of order, whereas non-legislative bodies write and adopt a limited set of specific rules as the need arises.

In the United States, the parliamentary authority adopted by most state legislatures is Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure. The one adopted by most other deliberative assemblies is Robert's Rules of Order. US organizations dedicated to promoting the general use of parliamentary procedure include the National Association of Parliamentarians and the American Institute of Parliamentarians.

In the United Kingdom, Thomas Erskine May's A Practical Treatise on the Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament (often referred to simply as Erskine May) is the accepted authority on the powers and procedures of the Westminster parliament.

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