Jump to content
The Official RONR Q & A Forums

Robert's Rules - Which Version?


Recommended Posts

Question 1

If bylaws cite "Robert's Rules of Order" as the parliamentary authority without specifying publisher, version, etc., is a certain version implied or is there latitude in interpretation? Could it mean "any version from any source"?!

Our bylaws state:

Quote

 

Rules of Order

Deliberations of the International, including the Convention, shall be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order to the extent that such Rules are not superseded by express provisions of the International’s Constitution and By-Laws. Local, affiliates may choose to adopt either the most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order or Atwood’s Rules for Meetings to govern their deliberations

 

I assumed that "Convention, shall be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order" would mean the latest RONR, which I've been using as my reference given that "RONR is considered the most authoritative"[1]. Is that a correct/safe interpretation? Does it muddy the water at all that the above provision mentions "the most recent edition" for affiliates, but not for the parent organization and its Convention i.e. could someone say that the first case is not intended to necessarily mean the newest edition because if that was the intention it would have included the same explicit language included in the second case?

Question 2

Then the convention rules of order, as recommended by the "Rules of Order Committee" state:

Quote

Any question of parliamentary procedure not covered by these Convention Rules of Order shall be decided by Robert’s Rules of Order (2nd Revised Edition, Mary A. DeVries) unless otherwise provided for in the International Constitution and By-Laws.

I was a little taken aback by the mention of "2nd Revised Edition, Mary A. DeVries". The DeVries book seems to be a totally different document (albeit a relative of) RONR. Is this rule consistent with the bylaws?

1. https://robertsrules.org/versions.php

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, ParliamentaryBuff said:

If bylaws cite "Robert's Rules of Order" as the parliamentary authority without specifying publisher, version, etc., is a certain version implied or is there latitude in interpretation? Could it mean "any version from any source"?!

It should be understood to mean the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised.

"This Twelfth Edition supersedes all previous editions and is intended automatically to become the parliamentary authority in organizations whose bylaws prescribe “Robert’s Rules of Order,” “Robert’s Rules of Order Revised,” “Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised,” or “the current edition of” any of these titles, or the like, without specifying a particular edition. If the bylaws specifically identify one of the eleven previous editions of the work as parliamentary authority, the bylaws should be amended to prescribe “the current edition of ‘Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised’” (see 56:66)." RONR (12th ed.) pg. vii

It would be advisable in the long run, however, to amend the bylaws to use the language that RONR recommends, to clear up any confusion on this subject: https://robertsrules.com/how-to-adopt/

7 minutes ago, ParliamentaryBuff said:

I assumed that "Convention, shall be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order" would mean the latest RONR, which I've been using as my reference given that "RONR is considered the most authoritative"[1]. Is that a correct/safe interpretation?

Yes.

7 minutes ago, ParliamentaryBuff said:

Does it muddy the water at all that the above provision mentions "the most recent edition" for affiliates, but not for the parent organization and its Convention i.e. could someone say that the first case is not intended to necessarily mean the newest edition because if that was the intention it would have included the same explicit language included in the second case?

No, I don't think so.

8 minutes ago, ParliamentaryBuff said:

Question 2

Then the convention rules of order, as recommended by the "Rules of Order Committee" state:

Quote

Any question of parliamentary procedure not covered by these Convention Rules of Order shall be decided by Robert’s Rules of Order (2nd Revised Edition, Mary A. DeVries) unless otherwise provided for in the International Constitution and By-Laws.

I was a little taken aback by the mention of "2nd Revised Edition, Mary A. DeVries". The DeVries book seems to be a totally different document (albeit a relative of) RONR. Is this rule consistent with the bylaws?

1. https://robertsrules.org/versions.php

No, I do not believe this rule is consistent with the bylaws and, in any event, it seems extremely ill-advised to use some third-party knockoff rather than the real thing.

Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, ParliamentaryBuff said:

I assumed that "Convention, shall be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order" would mean the latest RONR

Yes, that is correct. The most recent addition is the 12th edition titled “Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised, 12th edition.  It automatically supersedes all prior editions of Robert’s  Rules of Order, Robert’s Rules of Order revised, and Roberts rules of order newly revised.

18 minutes ago, ParliamentaryBuff said:

Any question of parliamentary procedure not covered by these Convention Rules of Order shall be decided by Robert’s Rules of Order (2nd Revised Edition, Mary A. DeVries) unless otherwise provided for in the International Constitution and By-Laws.

This is more problematic, as the Convention rules name a specific book which is not even published by the Roberts rules association. I strongly suggest that that document be amended to provide that the parliamentary authority  shall be the most recent addition of Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised without specifying a specific edition.

Edited to add: since the bylaws specify Roberts rules of order as the parliamentary authority, there is actually no reason for the convention rules of order to name a parliamentary authority as the convention is probably bound by the authority which is cited in the bylaws. Having the convention rules  cite a completely different authority is very problematic.

Edited by Richard Brown
Added last paragraph
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Richard Brown said:

since the bylaws specify Roberts rules of order as the parliamentary authority, there is actually no reason for the convention rules of order to name a parliamentary authority as the convention is probably bound by the authority which is cited in the bylaws. Having the convention rules  cite a completely different authority is very problematic.

Am I correct that you agree that the authority cited by the bylaws and convention rules are conflicting? I wasn't sure whether "Robert's Rules" could be interpreted as some generic catchall term (like we use Xerox to mean any kind of photocopy), or whether it clearly meant the "official" lineage culminating in RONR 12th ed.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What bylaws are you referencing in Question 1 of your original post?  If the reference is to the International Constitution and Bylaws, then it seems to me that the quote you provide in Question 2 makes clear that the provision of those Bylaws regarding the parliamentary authority must override the reference to a different version of Robert's Rules in the Convention Rules of Order: "unless otherwise provided for in the International Constitution and Bylaws". The responses provided above by Mr. Martin and Mr. Brown make clear that any reference to 'Robert's Rules of Order' is defined in RONR itself as a reference to the latest edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised.

It would indeed be wise to amend the Convention rules to eliminate this conflict.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...