Standing Orders for Debate

BCMH Standing Orders for General Meetings

  1. Admittance to Meetings

All members in good standing (i.e. their subscriptions are up to date) shall be admitted to the AGM.

  1. Quorum

A quorum shall consist of ten members of the BCMH. If a quorum is not present within 30 minutes of the time appointed for the meeting to commence, the meeting shall be dissolved.

  1. Agenda

(a) An agenda shall be prepared by the General Committee and circulated to all members at least 14 days before the AGM. The agenda should include all or some of the following items:

  • Apologies for absence;

    • Confirmation of minutes of previous meeting and matters arising therefrom;

    • Election of Officers;

    • Election of other General Committee members;

    • Treasurer’s report and adoption of accounts;

    • Election of auditors;

    • Officers’ reports;

    • Sub-committee reports;

    • Motions as published in advance;

    • Any other business.

All items on the agenda shall take precedence over all other business.

  1. Notice of Motion

A member wishing to move a motion, not arising from the business of the meeting, may do so provided that such a motion is in accordance with the Object of the BCMH and has been received by the Secretary not less than 28 days before the meeting so that it can be placed on the agenda and circulated to all members with the notice of the meeting.

  1. Suspension of Standing Orders

Notwithstanding the above, the Chair whose ruling may not be challenged, may at his/her discretion accept a motion to suspend Standing Orders in order to enable a matter of urgency not on the Agenda to be discussed. The motion to suspend Standing Orders shall be put to the vote immediately after it has been moved and formally seconded, and not more than one speech made in opposition. The suspension shall not exceed 30 minutes. No suspension shall take place unless agreed to by two-thirds of the votes cast.

  1. Minutes

The Secretary shall circulate the minutes at least 14 days prior to the AGM. No discussion shall be allowed on the Minutes except in regard to their accuracy. After the meeting has agreed to their accuracy, they shall be signed by the Chair as a correct record and the members shall then be at liberty to ask any questions arising out of them.

  1. Rules of Debate (General)

(a) Addressing the Meeting

  • Speakers must stand, give their names and address the Chair.
  • No member shall interrupt a speaker except on a point of order which must deal only with procedure.


Should the Chair stand during a debate, the member speaking shall give way and neither he/she nor any other member shall speak until the Chair gives leave.

8. Disorder

  • Any member refusing to obey when called to order shall be named from the Chair. If he/she still refuses to come to order, he/she shall be expelled from the meeting.

The Chair may, at any time, if he/she thinks it desirable in the interests of order, quit the Chair and declare the meeting temporarily adjourned for a time to be named by him/her, which shall not exceed 30 minutes.

9. Rules of Debate (Motions & Amendments) at AGMs.

(a) Motions and amendments

  1. The Chair shall not permit discussion upon any question except upon a motion.

  2. All motions and amendments must be worded in the affirmative and moved and seconded before being discussed.

  3. Any member present at the AGM may propose an amendment to any AGM motion, except any motion that seeks to alter the rules of the Commission under Clause 50 of the Constitution may not be amended at an AGM.

  4. No direct negative to any motion shall be taken as an amendment.

(b) Time limit on speakers

The mover of a motion, unless otherwise decided by the meeting, shall be allowed not more than five minutes to move the motion and the seconder and subsequent speakers, including movers and seconders of amendments, not more than three minutes.

(c) Speaking twice

No member shall speak more than once except on a point of order or information on any one motion or amendment except by special permission of the Chair.

(d) Right of reply

The mover of the original motion, but not the mover of an amendment, shall have the right to reply at the close of the debate upon such a motion, and shall be allowed not more than three minutes to do so. In his/her reply, he/she shall confine himself/herself to answering previous speakers and shall not introduce any new material into the debate.

(e) Taking the vote

  • When the mover of the motion has replied, the Chair shall proceed to take the vote forthwith without further discussion.

  • The vote(s) on any amendment(s) shall precede the vote on the original motion and if the amendment(s) is/are carried, the amended motion shall then be put to the meeting as the substantive motion.

  • After the vote has been taken upon any motion or question, no further discussion upon the same motion or question shall be allowed at that meeting.

(f) Withdrawal of motions or amendments

A motion or amendment, once it has been moved and seconded, may not be withdrawn by the mover without the consent of the meeting.

(g) Closing debate

  1. Any member may move "that the question be now put" (meaning that the matter has been sufficiently debated) or "next business" (meaning that the meeting shall proceed to the next business and allow the matter under discussion to drop), provided that he/she has not previously spoken in the particular debate. A motion "that the question be now put" or "next business", if accepted by the Chair whose ruling may not be challenged under Clause 8(j) of these Standing Orders, shall be put to the vote immediately and without discussion. If a motion "that the question be now put" is carried, the mover of the original motion has the right to reply before it is put to the meeting.

  2. Should the Chair consider that there is no practical difference of opinion among the members, he/she shall have the power to stop the discussion and put the proposition to the vote.

(h) Chair's ruling

Subject to Clauses 6 and 8(h)(i) of these Standing Orders, the Chair's ruling on any point whatsoever shall be binding unless it be challenged by not less than four members, in which case the motion "that the Chair's ruling be upheld" shall be immediately submitted to the vote of the meeting, without discussion.

10. Voting

  • Only ordinary and honorary members shall be entitled to propose and second motions at the AGM.

  • Only ordinary and honorary members present at the AGM shall be entitled to vote at the AGM.

  • The Chair of the meeting shall not vote on any question, unless there is an equal number of votes for and against, when he/she may exercise a casting vote.

  • Voting shall be by show of hands except where a secret ballot is requested by a simple majority of Members present.

Adopted at the AGM on Saturday 10 Feb 2018