Standing on Business

The Meaning of “Standing on Business” In Parliamentary Procedure

The phrase “standing on business” is commonly used in parliamentary procedure to refer to items of business that are pending or yet to be addressed in a deliberative assembly. But what exactly does “standing on business” mean, and why is it important in meetings governed by parliamentary procedures? This article will define standing on business, its role in facilitating orderly and efficient meetings, proper ways to address outstanding business, and how to reopen closed matters if necessary.

Purpose of Managing Unfinished Business

When a deliberative body, such as a club, board, committee, or legislature, meets to conduct official business, there are frequently more agenda items proposed than can be reasonably addressed in the allotted time. In parliamentary jargon, these matters that remain at the end of a meeting are referred to as “unfinished” or “pending” business. Allowing business to remain pending, rather than requiring every introduced item to be definitively addressed before adjourning, allows large organizations to navigate lengthy agendas in an orderly and efficient manner.

According to Robert’s Rules of Order, the most common parliamentary authority, “Standing on Business that has been brought before a deliberative assembly and which has not been finally disposed of is considered pending business.” The presiding officer and secretary have an important responsibility to keep accurate records of pending matters and properly dispose of them at subsequent meetings. Allowing too many unfinished items to accumulate can impede the body’s ability to move forward with current priorities.

Meaning of “Standing on Business”

When a meeting adjourns with unfinished agenda items, these are referred to as “standing on business” or “business standing over.” In other words, they are open or pending on the organization’s business docket. The phrase refers to the status of remaining matters that require attention, not to members’ physical positions at the time of adjournment. During the adjournment, any unfinished business is considered “business standing continued” until the next meeting.

Properly Handling Pending Business

When a meeting reconvenes after an adjournment, best practices require the chair or president to announce that the meeting is a continuation of the previous session and to confirm any outstanding business. Normally, pending matters would be addressed first in the current meeting’s agenda, even before new business or special orders. This allows the organization to address old issues before introducing new items.

Parliamentary rules require that leftover business items be addressed in the appropriate order of precedence. For example, postponed main motions should be addressed before subsidiary or incidental motions on other topics. Unfinished committee reports usually take precedence over new committee assignments as well. When it comes to managing work from previous meetings, ecclesiastical procedures may prioritize different types of business than secular assemblies.

Unless otherwise specified by state law or special rules, pending matters expire. If not addressed before the next regular election of officers or at the end of a legislative session. This prevents old matters from piling up indefinitely on the books. However, under parliamentary law, the full deliberative assembly has the authority to postpone items beyond the elected term or session. As well as reopen closed subjects by majority vote. This allows for greater flexibility in dealing with issues that the organization continues to face.


When a deliberative body has more business than it can handle in a single meeting. Allowing items to remain on the agenda for future meetings allows large organizations to operate more efficiently. According to Robert’s Rules, these open matters are referred to as “standing on business.” While pending items are prioritized in the next session, they should not be allowed to accumulate indefinitely without being resolved. Understanding how to handle old, new, and postponed business is a critical responsibility for both. The chair and members of any assembly governed by parliamentary procedures. Using reasonable deadlines and flexibility allows organizations to strike. A healthy balance between concluding matters decisively and revisiting topics when more consideration is required.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *