Special rules of order are permanent rules, specific to your group, that guide your discussions and meetings. They allow you to make sure that your group talks about things and makes decisions in the way that works best for you.
Robert’s Rules of Order encourages groups to set up their own special rules of order as needed. Your parliamentary authority, Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, latest edition, becomes the foundation. You then build a house in which to live by choosing your own bylaws and special rules of order. This flexibility is very helpful!
Example of a special rule of order
An example of a special rule of order would be a rule setting a time limit for speeches. Robert’s Rules says that each member may speak twice for up to 10 minutes at a time on each subject. That is too long for most groups, so your board might decide that “five minutes” is the limit. The rule would read:
The maximum time for a speech by a board member is 5 minutes.
How to adopt special rules of order?
The size of the group makes a difference in how to adopt special rules of order.
- For a body with a large membership, give advance notice of the proposed rules and then take a vote. If two-thirds of those voting are in favor, they are adopted.
- For a smaller body like a board of directors, all that is necessary is that a majority of the entire membership of the board vote in favor. No advance notice is needed, though circulating the proposals ahead of time is likely to increase buy-in from the members.
Here are sample special rules of order
If you would like to see how this looks in practice, download our Sample Special Rules of Order.