Rules of Procedure

Part I – General Rules

Article 1: Scope

These rules shall apply to all regular sessions of the Montreal United Nations Conference for all committees. These rules are self-sufficient and no other rules shall apply, unless otherwise stated. In situations not covered by the rules, the Chair shall constitute as the final authority.

Article 2: Language

The working language of the conference is English. All documents must be drawn up and speeches delivered in English, unless otherwise stated. No translation services will be provided in any committee.

Part II – The Dais

Article 3: Duties

The Dais shall be responsible for maintaining the speakers’ list, recording the roll call at the beginning of each committee session, and recording the results of all votes in the committee.

The Chair shall declare the opening and closing of each meeting, direct discussion, give the right to speak, equitably and objectively recognize points and motions, put questions to a vote, announce decisions, ensure the observation of these rules, and rule on disputed points.

The Chair is also primarily responsible for the substantive content of the committee proceedings. The Chair, or their designate, must authorize each draft resolution in order for it to be introduced to the committee floor.

Article 4: Powers

After the Secretariat, the Chair shall be the final authority in each committee. The Chair may refuse to entertain any procedural motion at their discretion. The Chair may, at any given time, propose the adoption of a procedural motion without a vote by the committee members.

Part III – The Committee

Article 5: Roll Call

At the beginning of each committee session the Dais will initiate roll call. Delegates may respond either present or present and voting. Delegates who are present may vote in favour, opposed or abstain. Delegates who are present and voting must vote either in favour or opposed; abstentions are not permitted. If a delegate arrives late for roll call, they are expected to send a note to the Dais upon their arrival.

Article 6: Quorum

Before debate or voting may begin the committee must meet quorum. Quorum is defined as one-third of the voting members in the committee as per the roll call list. Delegates may, at any time, request verification of quorum. The Dais will then rule immediately rule on the motion and initiate roll call if they deem it necessary. Quorum is assumed to met unless shown to be otherwise.

Article 7: Majorities

A simple majority is defined as more votes in favour than opposed. Abstentions may not cause a motion to fail.

A two-thirds majority is defined as at least two votes in favour for every vote opposed. Abstentions may not cause a motion to fail.

Article 8: Procedural Voting

For procedural matters each delegation must vote. Only a yes or no vote shall be in order. A roll call vote is never in order for procedural matters.

Article 9: Censure

Delegates are expected to know their country’s foreign policies. Delegates who clearly and persistently misrepresent their country’s foreign policy in speeches and votes are subject to censure.

A motion for censure must first be approved by the Dais. Once approved the motion must be voted on with a two-thirds majority to pass. The effects of the censure are as follows:

(1) First censure: The delegate is barred from the committee room for the remainder of the current committee session and for the duration of the next committee session.

(2) Second censure: The delegate is barred from the committee room for the remainder of the conference.

Part IV – Debate

Article 10: Agenda

The agenda refers to the order in which the committee shall discuss the topics. The first order of business shall be the consideration of the agenda. Only topics on the provisional agenda shall be considered.

The Dais shall open a primary speakers’ list and entertain motions to set the first topic. In the event of such a motion, the Dais shall call for two speakers for and against.

If the motion passes, a secondary speakers’ list will be opened to discuss the agenda topic. If it fails the committee shall return to the primary speakers’ list.

Article 11: Speakers’ List

Primary Speakers’ List: A primary speakers’ list shall be opened at first to set the agenda. This speakers’ list shall remain open throughout the conference and will be returned to upon the closure or tabling of individual topics.

Secondary Speakers’ List: Once the first agenda topic is set, a secondary speaker’s list that deals with the topic in question shall be opened.

General Policy: Delegates may add their name to the list, as long as it is not already on the list, by submitting a written request to the Dais. Debate is closed automatically upon the exhaustion of the speakers’ list.

Article 12: Suspension of Debate

During the course of debate, the committee may move to caucus. When making such a motion a delegate must specify a type and purpose, and in the case of a moderated caucus a time limit and speaking time.  The two types of caucus are as follows:

(1) Unmoderated Caucus: The Dais is not involved. Delegates may leave their seats and speak to each other in a less formal setting to write draft resolutions. No points or motions shall be in order during an unmoderated caucus.

(2) Moderated Caucus: Delegates remain in their seats and are recognized by the Dais (at their discretion) to speak. Only points of personal privilege and points of order are in order during a moderated caucus.

Article 13: Recess

A motion to recess in only in order within the final 15 minute of a committee session. The Dais may rule this motion out of order. The decision cannot be appealed. The motion requires no debate and passes with a simple majority. The effect of the motion is to suspend debate until the next regularly scheduled committee session.

Article 14: Closing of Debate

A delegate may, at any time, move for closure of debate on substantive measures under discussion. The Dais may rule such a motion out of order. If the motion is ruled in order, the Dais may recognize up to two speakers for and against this motion. This requires a two-thirds majority to pass. If this passes, the committee moves into voting procedure (see Part VIII).

Article 15: Motion to Adjourn

A motion to adjourn requires a simple majority to pass, and is only in order when at least one of the following conditions have been met:

(1) The committee has considered every topic on its agenda.

(2) There remains fewer than 30 minutes in the last committee session.

Part V – Speeches

Article 16: Addressing the Committee

Members of the committee should remember that they are representing their country, and not their personal agendas. They should not use the word I, and should speak on behalf of their country. As well, formal language is encouraged, to keep the committee sophisticated.

Article 17: Time Limit on Speeches

A member of the committee may propose a motion to set the speaking time on both the primary and secondary speakers lists. Such a motion will require two speakers for and against, and then a simple majority. The default speaking time is set at 45 seconds.

Article 18: Yields

A member who is recognized to speak may yield (give away) any unused time in one of the following ways:

(1) To the Chair: goes to points and motions;

(2) To points of information: questions about the speech;

(3) To a pair of 30 second comments;

(4) To another member of the committee.

Yields may be declared prior to or after a delegates speech. The default yield is to the Chair. The committee may choose to assume any of the other two yields as a default yield through a motion, requiring a simple majority to pass. Delegates may not set the default yield to another delegate. All yields other than to the Chair shall be out of order while in the primary speakers’ list.

Article 19: Right of Reply

If a delegate or the delegate’s country is explicitly insulted in a speech, they may then rise to a right of reply immediately following the speech (and after the yield). The Chair will ask for grounds then allow or disallow the reply.

Part VI – Parliamentary Points

Article 20: Point of Personal Privilege

A delegate may rise to a point of personal privilege to alleviate any problems which prevent them from participating in the proceedings. Common examples are “would the honourable delegate please speak more loudly”, “could we please have some water brought in”, or “could the heat be turned on”.

Article 21: Point of Order

A member may rise to a point of order to call attention to a procedural error made by the Chair or another member.

Article 22: Point of Parliamentary Inquiry

A member may use this to ask the Chair for clarification on the rules.

Part VII – Substantive Matters

Article 23: Working Papers

Any written proposal being worked on by delegates is called a working paper. A working paper becomes a draft resolution under the following conditions:

(1) It must have at least 2 sponsors and a number of signatories. The total of sponsors and signatories must be greater than 1/4 of the committee members (round up). A draft resolution’s sponsors are usually its authors (people who want it to pass), while signatories are those who want to see the document presented and debated, and therefore may not necessarily be in favour of its adoption.

(2) It must be in resolution format and approved (signed) by the Chair. If it is not in proper format, grammatically correct (this includes spelling), and understandable (a working paper with nonsense sentences does not qualify), it will be returned to the committee room for a rewrite. The decision to return a working paper is solely at the discretion of the Secretariat, or of individuals designated by the Secretariat. A working paper may be returned multiple times if this is deemed necessary.

Article 24: Motion to Introduce Draft Resolutions

Once it has been distributed, its sponsors may move to introduce it (read it to the committee). Non-substantive (i.e., grammar/spelling) amendments may be introduced at this time. A draft resolution may not be referred to before its introduction.

Article 25: Resolutions

A draft resolution becomes a resolution only after a vote by the committee (see Part VIII).

Resolutions serve the purpose of attempting to provide a potential solution to the problem.

Article 26: Question and Answer Period

After a draft resolution is presented, delegates can motion for a question and answer period, of a length and speaking time of their choice. The sponsors of the draft resolution in question are required to answer the questions asked, which are to be directly related to the draft resolution. Only one delegate may answer. If the motion passes, the question and answer period starts with the delegate who proposed the motion getting the first question.

Article 27: Amendments

Amendments are changes to draft resolutions on the floor.

Non-substantive amendments are simply for clarification of grammar and/or spelling, and can be proposed when the resolution is introduced to the committee.

Substantive amendments are usually additional clauses, modifications to clauses, and the striking (removal) of clauses. There are 2 types:

(1) Friendly Amendments: these are agreed on by all sponsors, and are incorporated into the draft resolution automatically, requiring only a motion (no vote).

(2) Unfriendly Amendments: these are not agreed to by the sponsors. They are decided on during voting procedures. An unfriendly amendment must have the same number of sponsors and signatories as is necessary for a draft resolution to be considered (2 sponsors, sponsors + signatories = ¼ of the committee).

Part VIII – Voting

Article 28: Voting Procedure

Voting procedures are used to vote on all draft resolutions. Once they have begun, the room is sealed (no one can enter or leave). There is no speaker’s list. No points or motions are considered in order except for division of the question, quorum, roll call voting, order, parliamentary inquiry, or personal privilege. Once voting is compete, the topic is considered closed, and the committee returns to the consideration of the agenda. Unless specified otherwise, votes are by simple majority.

Note: More than one resolution can be adopted, all resolutions on the floor are put to a vote, and the committee may not return to the topic.

The order of voting procedures is as follows:

(1) Verification Quorum;

(2) Motions for division of the question;

(3) Motions for roll call votes;

(4) Voting on amendments for the draft resolution under consideration;

(5) Voting on the amended draft resolution under consideration;

(6) Repeat for each draft resolution on the floor.

Article 29: Division of the Question

During voting procedures, any member may move to divide the question immediately before the vote on a draft resolution takes place. This means that the various parts of the draft resolution can be voted on separately. The member divides the various operative clauses into different groups (for example, clauses 1 and 3 together, and clauses 2 and 4 together). Division of the question is a procedural matter and requires a simple majority, with 2 speakers for and 2 against.

Article 30: Method of Voting

The default method of voting is by show of hands. One may motion to change the method of voting to roll call vote, if the motion passes.

Article 31: Voting on Amendments

As stated in the order above, amendments are voted on directly before the draft resolutions. Amendments need a simple majority to be incorporated into the draft resolution.

Article 32: Voting

Each member has one vote.  All committee members must either vote yes or no on procedural matters (they cannot abstain). Observer states (the Holy See and the State of Palestine) may not vote on substantive matters, while all others may vote yes, vote no, or abstain. During a roll call vote, members may demand a right of explanation, and will be given 30 seconds once the vote is complete to explain their decision. A roll call vote also allows a member to pass, and then vote once all other members have voted.

Part IX – Supplement

Article 33: Precedence

If there is more than one motion on the floor, they will be voted on in the following order:

(1) Motion to Recess;

(2) Motion to Caucus;

(3) Motion to Adjourn;

(4) Motion to Close Debate;

(5) Motion to Close/Reopen Debate.