Stand on Business

Understanding the Meaning of “Stand on Business”

The phrase “stand on business” is commonly used in parliamentary procedure to refer to unfinished business that remains at the end of a deliberative assembly meeting. But what exactly does “stand on business” mean, and why is it important to understand? This article will look at the definition and purpose of business standing over, proper methods for dealing with leftover matters in future sessions, rules governing postponed business, and how pending items can be reopened even after they have been closed on the books.

Define Business Left Pending

In any club, board, legislature, or other decision-making body that adheres to parliamentary rules, there will be times when more issues are raised than can be reasonably addressed in the time allotted for a session. In procedural terminology, such unfinished business is referred to as “pending” or “unresolved”. According to Robert’s Rules of Order, Stand on Business “business that has been brought before a deliberative assembly and which has not been finally disposed of.” The chair and secretary’s primary responsibility is to maintain accurate documentation on postponed matters for later attention.

When a meeting ends with agenda items that have yet to be resolved, these are referred to as “standing on business” or “business standing over” until the next meeting. In essence, leftover matters remain on the organization’s pending work docket. “Stand on business” refers to the status of such unresolved issues, not to members physically standing up during adjournment. The unfinished topics remain pending assembly business after the adjournment.

Prioritising Leftover Matters

When a deliberative body reconvenes after a break, proper procedure requires the chair to announce that the meeting is a continuation of the previous session and to confirm any outstanding business from the previous meeting. Pending issues usually take precedence as the first agenda items addressed in the current meeting. This clear order of business allows for the efficient resolution of existing issues before considering new proposals.

According to parliamentary law, carryover issues must be handled in the appropriate order based on their classification. Postponed main motions take precedence over subsidiary, privileged, or incidental motions filed more recently. Unresolved committee reports often precede new referrals. Unless otherwise specified in governing documents or special rules, any outstanding issues that remain unresolved when officer elections occur or a legislative session ends are turned over to the new leadership. This prevents old business from accumulating indefinitely on the books.

Reopening Closed Topics

While postponed matters typically die if not addressed before officer transitions or the end of assemblies, parliamentary authority allows deliberative bodies to reopen previously closed items. If a topic is deemed to have ongoing relevance or impact, the full body may vote to revisit the issue. This flexibility enables organizations to manage ongoing issues responsibly. Any resulting motions would be treated as new business, not unfinished old business.


In parliamentary terminology, business “standing over” until the next meeting refers to agenda. Items that remain unresolved when a deliberative assembly adjourns. Handling leftover issues responsibly based on precedence allows organizations to address old issues before considering new ones. While postponed topics typically expire at the end of officer terms or sessions. Parliamentary rules do provide procedures for revisiting closed items that are deemed to warrant further consideration. Understanding basic terms and processes for managing pending business helps to ensure that deliberations are orderly and efficient. 

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