Disciplinary procedures

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Disciplinary procedures, in parliamentary procedure, are used to punish members for violating a deliberative assembly's rules.

Anglo-Saxon countries

Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised notes, "Punishments that a society can impose generally fall under the headings of reprimand, fine (if authorized in the bylaws), suspension, or expulsion."[1] If an offense occurs in a meeting, the assembly, having witnessed it themselves, can vote on a punishment without the need for a trial.[2] The chair has no authority to impose a penalty or to order the offending member to be removed from the hall, but the assembly has that power.[2] It is also possible to make a motion to censure. Mason's Legislative Manual provides:[3]

The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure (TSC) notes that "The primary requisites for expulsion proceedings are due notice and fair hearing."[4]

European continental model

According the European Court of human rights, "it is common practice in Parliaments of the Member States of the Council of Europe that Parliaments exercise control over behaviour in Parliament":[5] the Court notes the importance of orderly conduct in Parliament and recognises the importance of respect for constitutional institutions in a democratic society. Its supervisory role consists in balancing those interests in the specific circumstances of the case against the rights affected in order to determine the proportionality of the interference.[6]

See also

Declare the chair vacant


  1. Robert, Henry M. (2011). Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, 11th ed., p. 643 (RONR)
  2. 2.0 2.1 RONR, p. 646
  3. National Conference of State Legislatures (2000). Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure, 2000 ed., p. 418
  4. Sturgis, Alice (2001). The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, 4th ed., p. 224
  5. Giampiero Buonomo, Lo scudo di cartone, Rubbettino Editore, 2015, p. 209 , ISBN 978-88-498-4440-5.
  6. In terms of their actual impact and the infringement of the rights of others, the Court - in his Judgment (Merits and Just Satisfaction) in CASE OF KARÁCSONY AND OTHERS v. HUNGARY (Second Section) 16/09/2014 - was satisfied that the applicants’ expressions did not create a significant disturbance. They did not delay or prevent either the parliamentary debate or the vote. Thus the expressions at issue did not disturb the actual functioning of Parliament. The Government admitted that the imposition of sanctions was of a political nature. While attributing due respect to the authority of Parliament and the need for parliamentarians to respect the rules of procedure, the Court considers that the above shortcomings in the procedure undermine the fairness of the imposition of the sanction and, in the circumstances of the case, do not provide sufficient protection of impartiality against political bias in the decision-making which endangers freedom of expression. While this does not in itself result, in the specific circumstances of the case, in a partisanship that is per se incompatible with the procedural requirements of Article 10 of the Convention, the Court will take this matter into consideration in the overall determination of the necessity of the interference in a democratic society. 85. The Court further notes that the impugned decision of Parliament relied on a proposal of the Speaker that referred in a clear manner to the actions of the applicants but it did not specify, even less give reasons, why such conduct was “gravely offensive”. Given that the decision of Parliament was the result of a procedure without debate at the plenary meeting, it cannot be considered an appropriate forum for examining issues of fact and law, assessing evidence and making a legal characterisation of the facts (compare and contrast Oleksandr Volkov v. Ukraine, no. 21722/11, § 122, ECHR 2013). In the determination of the proportionality of the interference with freedom of expression, the Court attributes importance to the severity of the sanctions, and this in contrast with the fact that little disturbance of Parliament’s ability to function actually occurred.