Chapter 7: Ensuring Order and Fairness

In any deliberative body, maintaining order and fairness is essential to uphold the integrity of the decision-making process and ensure the equitable treatment of all members. Chapter 7 of the parliamentary guidebook delves into the strategies, procedures, and principles aimed at fostering a climate of orderliness, respect, and fairness within parliamentary assemblies.

The Importance of Order and Fairness:

Order and fairness serve as the bedrock of parliamentary democracy, underpinning the legitimacy and effectiveness of the decision-making process. They provide the framework for constructive debate, reasoned deliberation, and collaborative decision-making, fostering trust, transparency, and accountability within the assembly. By upholding principles of order and fairness, parliamentary assemblies can enhance the quality of discourse, promote inclusivity, and facilitate consensus-building among members.

Roles and Responsibilities:

Ensuring order and fairness within a parliamentary assembly requires the concerted efforts of various individuals and entities, including:

  1. Presiding Officer: The presiding officer plays a pivotal role in maintaining order and fairness during proceedings. As the impartial arbiter of debate, the presiding officer enforces the rules of decorum, recognizes speakers, and ensures that discussions remain focused and respectful.
  2. Parliamentary Staff: Parliamentary staff provide logistical support and assistance to the presiding officer and members. They help facilitate the smooth conduct of proceedings, manage administrative tasks, and ensure that parliamentary rules and procedures are followed.
  3. Members: All members of the assembly share responsibility for upholding principles of order and fairness. They are expected to conduct themselves with civility and respect, adhere to parliamentary rules and procedures, and contribute constructively to debate and deliberation.

Strategies for Maintaining Order:

Several strategies and techniques are employed to maintain order and decorum within parliamentary assemblies:

  1. Clear Rules of Procedure: Establishing clear and comprehensive rules of procedure is essential for guiding the conduct of business and resolving disputes. These rules outline the rights and responsibilities of members, the procedures for debate and voting, and the consequences for breaching parliamentary decorum.
  2. Enforcement by the Presiding Officer: The presiding officer plays a central role in enforcing parliamentary rules and maintaining order during proceedings. They have the authority to recognize speakers, regulate debate, and take appropriate action to address disruptions or breaches of decorum.
  3. Time Management: Effective time management is crucial for ensuring that parliamentary proceedings remain efficient and productive. The presiding officer may impose time limits on speeches, allocate time for specific agenda items, and prioritize business to ensure that key matters are addressed in a timely manner.
  4. Use of Parliamentary Tools: Parliamentary tools such as points of order, appeals, and motions to recess or adjourn can be utilized to address procedural issues, resolve disputes, and maintain order during proceedings. These tools provide mechanisms for members to raise concerns, seek clarification, and challenge rulings by the presiding officer.

Promoting Fairness and Equity:

In addition to maintaining order, parliamentary assemblies must also uphold principles of fairness and equity to ensure that all members have an equal opportunity to participate and contribute. Key strategies for promoting fairness and equity include:

  1. Equal Access to the Floor: All members should have equal access to the floor to participate in debate, propose motions, and express their views. The presiding officer must ensure that recognition is granted impartially and that no member is unduly excluded from participating in proceedings.
  2. Respect for Minority Rights: Respect for minority rights is essential for fostering inclusivity and ensuring that diverse perspectives are heard and considered. Minority viewpoints should be afforded the same level of respect and consideration as majority viewpoints, and mechanisms should be in place to protect minority interests.
  3. Transparency and Accountability: Transparency in parliamentary proceedings is critical for promoting fairness and accountability. Members should have access to relevant information, documents, and decisions, and parliamentary actions should be conducted in an open and transparent manner.
  4. Fair Treatment of Speakers: All speakers should be treated with fairness, respect, and courtesy during debate. Personal attacks, insults, or disrespectful behavior toward fellow members are unacceptable and undermine the principles of parliamentary decorum.


Ensuring order and fairness within parliamentary assemblies is essential for upholding the principles of democracy, fostering constructive debate, and facilitating effective decision-making. By establishing clear rules of procedure, enforcing parliamentary decorum, and promoting fairness and equity, parliamentary assemblies can create an environment conducive to respectful dialogue, collaboration, and consensus-building. Upholding principles of order and fairness strengthens the integrity and legitimacy of the parliamentary process, ultimately serving the interests of the assembly and its constituents.


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