Introduction to Parliamentary Practice


Welcome to the Introduction to Parliamentary practice! Parliamentary practice is our first topic on this course Parliamentary practice. Parliamentary practice will introduce to you the basic and underlying principles of Parliamentary Law which governs the Parliamentary Practice. So hang on and together, we will explore the joy and beauty of a well-governed organization adhering the rules of Parliamentary Practice. As Political science students, you are most welcome to learn this very relevant course which will equip you to be the best leader and/or member of your own respective organization.

Introduction to Parliamentary Practice specific topics

  1. Nature and aims of parliamentary law
  2. Brief history of parliamentary law and practice
  3. Fundamental principles of parliamentary law and practice

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this lesson, the students should be able to:

  1. Explain the nature and aims of Parliamentary Law.
  2. Trace the history and development of Parliamentary Law.
  3. Discuss the fundamental principles of Parliamentary Law and Practice.

Nature and importance of Parliamentary Law

Parliamentary law refers to that body of generally accepted rules, precedents, and practices commonly employed to regulate the proceedings of deliberative assemblies, hence, the term parliamentary procedure.

There is this anecdote of a young congressman, being a neophyte lawmaker and unskilled in the ways of parliamentary procedure but nonetheless eager to prove his worth as a lawmaker, asked the Secretary of the House what he was to do or to say at the meetings of the assembly. Annoyed by the similar questions from other equally inexperienced members, the secretary reportedly told him:

“Just go ahead and say what you wish; you will know if you are wrong because you will be ruled out of order!”

The young lawmaker’s eagerness to know what he was to do or to say at the meetings dramatizes the importance of a working knowledge of parliamentary procedure. If one is to take an active and responsible part in an organization be it public or private, not necessarily a leader nor a follower; one has to be  proficient with the ways of parliamentary practice. Good leadership requires many skills and abilities. But being a responsible and active member equally requires similar skill set. The entire organization will be running smoothly if there are knowledgeable and active leaders and members.

The blunt remark: “just go ahead and say what you wish…” exemplify the freedom of thought upon which parliamentary law is founded. However, the admonition: “you will know if you are wrong because you will be ruled out of order!” demonstrates the discipline that characterizes parliamentary law.

Aims of parliamentary practice

The plain and simple instruction of the Secretary of the House to the young legislator similarly points to the important aims of parliamentary rules: to simplify and systematize the conduct of business to enable the assembly to make fast and legally valid decisions.

Parliamentary procedure is not ritualistic as some people tend to believe. Its purpose is not to complicate the proceedings nor to confuse the uninitiated nor deceive the unwary. Its aim is to facilitate the work of any deliberative body and to help carry out its objectives effectively and well.

The knowledge on parliamentary procedure is not only important to politicians, jurists, lawyers and debaters/orators. Parliamentary law is designed to help people in reconciling their views and to arrive at clear solutions to the many complex problems that arise in the social context.

History and development of parliamentary law

Parliamentary procedure was first systematized in the early English Parliament which takes its name. While history does not record with certainty the actual beginnings of parliamentary rules and usages, the journals of English Parliament indicate that the fundamental principles of parliamentary procedure have been codified since the reign of King Edward VI from 1547 to 1553.

The rules of parliamentary procedure form part of the English common law. The English have traditionally regarded common law as the safest rule of human conduct and have esteemed it as their birthright.  And so, when the English colonies in the New World renounced their allegiance to the Crown, they adopted common law as their fundamental jurisprudence, including the English parliamentary usages which became the foundation of the rules of the Congress of the United States and other countries’ legislatures such as:

  • Great Britain – Parliament
  • United States – Congress
  • the Philippines – Congress
  • Japan – Diet
  • China – Politburo
  • Israel – Knesset

Today, parliamentary law in the United States emanates from four sources:

  1. the Constitution of the United States;
  2. the Rules adopted by each House of Congress;
  3. the Decisions of the Chair on points of order; and
  4. the Jefferson’s Manual – a code of procedural rules prepared by Thomas Jefferson during his term as Vice-President and at the same time, presiding officer of the US Senate

In our country, parliamentary law is based to some extent on the following:

  1. the Philippine Constitution;
  2. the Rules of the Philippine Senate and Philippine House of Representatives;
  3. the rules and practices of the old Philippines Assembly (mentored by the Americans); and
  4. if there’s a need, the Rules of US Congress and the Jefferson’s Manual.


  • Orendain, A. (1992). Parliamentary Rules 10th Edition. Quezon City: Alpha Omega Publications.
  • Roberts, H. (2010). Robert’s Rules of Order 11th Edition. New York: American Legal Publishing.

One Reply to “Introduction to Parliamentary Practice”

  1. Sir. How I can find the copy of Introduction to motion and where I can download the motion organizer.

    Thank you for your reply…

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