Robert's Rules
on Parliamentary

According to

California State
Association of


Survival Tips on
Robert's Rules of Order

Robert's Rules of Order Superseded?

Robert is the foundation for Efficient Meeting Management through Parliamentary Procedure. A society establishes its rules and complies with external rules that control its actions. Whatever rule the society did not think of including in its documents of governance, Robert's Rules of Order includes it. The result is that a society is subject to many rules from many levels. Let us simplify this complex web of rules or hierarchy of documents of governance.

  1. Federal Statutes: Many laws which may appear foreign to the society have the highest level on this hierarchy.

  2. State Statutes: At the state level we find many rules that apply, for example,
    1. Open Meetiing Laws: In California we have at least the following, the Ralph Brown Act (Public Agencies), the Davis-Stirling Act (Home Owners Associations), the Gloria Romero Act (California State Universities), the Bagley-Keene Act (State Agecies)
    2. Corporate Code: Controls a society that is incorporated

  3. City and Local Laws: There are plenty

  4. Constitution: For the society's rules that should be most stable and require the most demanding conditions to amend.

  5. Bylaws: For the society's rules that should be more flexible and require less demanding conditions to amend. The bylaws define the reason for the society's exitence.

  6. Rules of Order: Parliamentary Authority such as Robert's Rules of Order

  7. Standing Rules: For the society's rules that should be the most flexible and require the least demanding conditions to amend or suspend.

  8. Customs: Any practice by the society that is supported by unwritten agreement and may even violate a bylaw or a rule of order. However, when a member protests pointing out the violation, the bylaw or rule of order must be complied with.

Robert's Rules of Order supersedes only the Standing Rules and the society's customs.

It may not seem like much, but in reality a society cannot include in its other documents of governance all the rules it will need to conduct the society's daily tasks. As long as an action is not covered in a document of governance higher than Robert, Robert is the final word!
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