Deliberative assembly

Deliberative assembly

A deliberative assembly is an organization comprising members who use parliamentary procedure to make decisions. In a speech to the electorate at Bristol in 1774, Edmund Burke described the English Parliament as a "deliberative assembly,"[1] and the expression became the basic term for a body of persons meeting to discuss and determine common action.


Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised describes certain characteristics of a deliberative assembly, such as each member having an equal vote and the fact that the group meets to determine actions to be taken in the name of the entire group.[2] A deliberative assembly may have different classes of members. Common classes are voting members (also known as regular members) who have the right to vote, ex-officio members, and honorary members.


Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised identifies several types of deliberative assemblies, including:

  • A mass meeting, which is an unorganized group meeting open to all individuals in a sector of the population who are interested in deliberating about a subject proposed by the meeting's sponsors. Examples include meetings to discuss common political concerns or community interests.[3]
  • A local assembly of an organized society, which is a membership meeting of a local chapter or branch of an organization.[4] Examples include local chapter meetings of membership nonprofit organizations like the Sierra Club.
  • A convention, which is a meeting of delegates who represent constituent units of a population. Conventions are not permanently established bodies, and delegates are normally elected for only one term. A convention may be held by an organized society, where each local assembly is represented by a delegate.[5]
  • A legislative body, which is a legally established public lawmaking body. It consists of representatives chosen by the electorate. Examples include congresses, state legislatures, and city councils.[6]
  • A board, which is an administrative, managerial, or quasi-judicial body. A board derives its power from an outside authority that defines the scope of its operations. Examples include an organized society's or company's board of directors and government agency boards like a board of education.[7]
  • A committee, which is a small deliberative assembly subordinate to a larger deliberative assembly.[8]

See also


  1. ^ Burke, pp. 446–8
  2. ^ Robert, pp. 1–2
  3. ^ Robert, pp. 5–6
  4. ^ Robert, p. 6
  5. ^ Robert, pp. 6–7
  6. ^ Robert, pp. 7–8
  7. ^ Robert, p. 8–9
  8. ^ Robert, p. 9


  • Burke, E. (1854). The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke (Vol. 1). London: Henry G. Bohn.
  • Robert, H. M., Evans, W. J., Honemann, D. H., & Balch, T. J. (2000). Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (10th ed.). Da Capo Press. ISBN 073820384X

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