Remedies for abuse of authority by the chair in a meeting

Robert's Rules of Order 11th editionAbuse of authority by the chair can be challenging. Here is the guidance from Robert’s Rules of Order. Our blog posts listed below give more information on the practical aspects of dealing with abuse of authority by the chair.


If the chair at a meeting acts improperly (for example, fails to recognize a member entitled to the floor, or ignores a motion properly made and seconded that is not dilatory, and neither states the question on the motion nor rules it out of order), a Point of Order may be raised, and from the chair’s decision an Appeal may be taken. This procedure enables the majority to ensure enforcement of the rules unless the chair ignores the point of order, ignores the appeal, or fails to act in accordance with the assembly’s decision on the appeal.

If the chair ignores a point of order that is not dilatory, the member can repeat the point of order a second and third time and if the chair still ignores it, the member, standing in his place, can immediately put the point of order to a vote without debate. The question may be put as, “Is the point of order that …well taken?” If the point of order was that the chair improperly ignored another motion, the member may, instead of repeating the point of order, repeat the original motion, and if it is seconded and the chair still ignores it, may, standing in his place, put the ignored motion to a vote without debate.

Likewise, if the chair ignores an appeal appropriately made and seconded, a member can repeat the appeal and if, despite its being seconded, the chair ignores it again, the member can repeat it a third time and if it is again seconded but still ignored by the chair, the member can immediately, standing in his place, put the appeal to a vote without debate. The question may be put as: “Shall the decision of the chair be sustained?”

Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 11th edition, pp. 650 ll. 17-35 and 651 ll. 1 – 14.

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See our blog posts about abuse of authority by the chair

Keep the chair in line using Appeal

Point of Order and Appeal are the heart of democracy

Removing the chair during a meeting

The chair is not in charge of your meeting

When the chair is a bully or out of line

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