Chairing Successful Meetings - Michel Lesperance - E-Book

Chairing Successful Meetings E-Book

Michel Lesperance

6,99 €


Ce guide vise à proposer, en matière de procédures d’assemblées délibérantes, un manuel de consultation facile et adapté aux nouvelles exigences en la matière. Il comprend une centaine de règles groupées selon la chronologie même d’une séance d’assemblées : préparation, début, déroulement et fin. 

Ces règles sont présentées sous forme d’articles numérotés de façon continue et sont enrichies de brefs commentaires, d’un index, ainsi que d’un tableau récapitulatif de l’ensemble de ces règles. Le guide comprend également deux annexes : une méthode de classement des documents relatifs aux assemblées délibérantes et une description des fonctions et de la structure du procès-verbal.

Publié en anglais.

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Seitenzahl: 74






Translated by Tanina Drvar


The University of Ottawa Press (UOP) is proud to be the oldest of the Francophone university presses in Canada as well as the oldest bilingual university publisher in North America. Since 1936, UOP has been enriching intellectual and cultural discourse by producing peer-reviewed and award-winning books in the humanities and social sciences, in French and in English.

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

Title: Chairing successful meetings : Lespérance Code / by Michel Lespérance.

Other titles: Guide de procédure des assemblées délibérantes. English

Names: Lespérance, Michel, 1944 – author.

Description: Translation of: Guide de procédure des assemblées délibérantes (4e édition révisée), by the Université de Montréal, Secrétariat général. | Translated by: Tanina Drvar. | Includes index.

Identifiers: Canadiana (print) 20200402323 | Canadiana (ebook) 20200403389 | ISBN 9780776636832 (softcover) | ISBN 9780776636849 (hardcover) | ISBN 9780776636856 (PDF) | ISBN 9780776636863 (EPUB) | ISBN 9780776636870 (Kindle)

Subjects: LCSH: Parliamentary practice—Handbooks, manuals, etc. | LCSH: Meetings—Handbooks, manuals, etc. | LCGFT: Handbooks and manuals. Classification: LCC AS6 .G8513 2021 | DDC 060.4/2—dc23


Legal Deposit: Second Quarter 2021

Library and Archives Canada

Printed in Canada

Production Team


Tanina Drvar

Copy editing

Michael Waldin


James Warren


Nord Compo

Cover design

Édiscript enr.

Front cover design

Clémence Labasse

Cover images

Shutterstock. Abstract hexagon background technology polygonal design by vs148 and businesspeople at panel discussion in board room by shironosov.

© University of Ottawa Press 2021

All rights reserved.

© Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal 2001 for the original edition. Original title: Guide de procédure des assemblées délibérantes. Translated from the French language.

© University of Ottawa Press 2021 for the English edition.

No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database and retrieval system, without prior permission.

In the case of photocopying or any other reprographic copying, please secure licenses from:

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For foreign rights and permissions:


The University of Ottawa Press gratefully acknowledges the support extended to its publishing list by the Government of Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences through the Awards to Scholarly Publications Program, and by the University of Ottawa.

Table of Contents


Section 1. Meeting Preparation

Section 2. Meeting Opening

Section 3. Meeting Proceedings

General Rules

1. Assembly Characteristics

2. Rules Relating to Participants

3. Rules Relating to the Agenda

Specific Rules

1. Motions

1.1 Main Principles

1.2 Motion Classification and Order of Precedence

1.3 Rules Relating to Each Motion Class

1.3.1 Privileged Motions

1.3.2 Incidental Motions

1.3.3 Dilatory Motions

1.3.4 Ordinary Motions

1.3.5 Special Motions

2. The Plenary Committee

3. Nomination and Election of Committee Members

4. Voting

5. The Chair’s Supplementary Powers

Section 4. Meeting Adjournment

Appendix A

Meeting Kit

1. The Notice

2. The Meeting Agenda

3. The Minutes of the Previous Meeting

4. Documents Distributed for Information Purposes

5. Working Documents

6. Correspondence Received

7. Follow-Up Correspondence Regarding the Debates

Appendix B

Writing and Presentation of Minutes

1. The Role of the Minutes

2. Page Numbering

3. Header

4. Identification of Participants

5. The Deliberations

Rule Nomenclature


Table of Motion Rules


Initially published in French in 1980, this book sought to provide Université de Montréal professors who participate in faculty assemblies, councils, and committees with an easy-to-use handbook, adapted to the new requirements of the field. The book was a team effort, which I had the pleasure to lead. I would thus like to recognize my colleagues Jean-Pierre Bernier, Jacques Boucher, Bernard Charles, Jean Martucci,† and, in particular, Madeleine Sauvé for their contributions. When the book was first published, it met a broader societal need as different organizations outside the university milieu, such as city councils, professional corporations, unions, and others, quickly began using it.

The publication of a new edition was also a good opportunity to include two new appendices: the first presents a method for classifying deliberative assembly documents, the second describes the role and structure of the meeting minutes or report. These new sections ensure members and the officers responsible for organizing these documents have all the information and basic tools they need to fulfill their duties and better support the proceedings.

This handbook, now known as the Lespérance Code, presents just over one hundred rules, organized according to the chronology of a deliberative assembly: preparation, opening, proceedings, and adjournment. These rules are presented as continuous numbered articles, and, where necessary, include brief comments. To facilitate consultation, a summary table of all the rules has been included at the end of the book.

Many Canadian organizations have bilingual statutes, which, in theory, allow members to participate in both official languages. The translation of this essential text, which explains the key principles of deliberative procedures for Francophone institutions, will allow groups and individuals to participate in the governance of Canadian organizations more effectively and in the language of their choice.

We hope the English edition of the Lespérance Code will meet the needs of the English-speaking community and be a useful tool in leading debates, allowing everyone to exercise their right to speak, and ensuring that meetings run smoothly.

I would particularly like to thank Dr. Frédéric Bouchard, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Université de Montréal, who convinced me that an English version of this code could prove useful elsewhere in Canada. Without his insistence and support, this book would never have been published. I also express my gratitude to my friend and colleague, Dr. Patrick Kenniff, former Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Concordia University, for his incisive critique of the manuscript, as well as to Me Annick Bergeron, Secretary General of the University of Ottawa, and Ms. Ann Montgomery, former Registrar and Secretary General of Bishop’s University, whose contribution improved my efforts to adapt the Lespérance Code for English-speaking institutions in Canada.

Lastly, I wish to thank Marie-Hélène Lowe, Production Coordinator at UOP, for her assistance with integrating corrections.

Michel Lespérance

Secretary General Emeritus Université de Montréal


Meeting Preparation

Section 1

Rule 1

The Agenda: Writing the Draft

The secretary is responsible for preparing the draft agenda for the meeting, unless the assembly has assigned this task to a committee, typically known as the agenda committee and of which the secretary is an ex-officio member.

Rule 2

Regular Meeting Agenda

The agenda for a regular meeting generally includes the following items:

order of business

approval of minutes

matters arising from the minutes


information period

question period

unfinished business

new business

other business or varia

meeting adjournment or end

Unless the assembly adopts a different order, unfinished business takes priority over new business and follows this order:

any item that was pending when the previous meeting adjourned

items on the agenda for the previous meeting that were not dealt with during that meeting

New business follows this order:

items brought before the assembly again, i.e., matters the assembly will reconsider that were already considered in previous meetings

new items, according to the order in which they were received

any other business

The secretary may also, either upon request or at their own initiative, place a matter on the agenda as a special order, meaning they will schedule a time for its consideration (a fixed time or the presence of such and such a person).


Regarding new and unfinished business, the proposed agenda can, in certain assemblies, create more problems than it solves. Therefore, it may be advisable to consider a new matter before an unfinished one.

Furthermore, the secretary or the assembly may deem it wiser to schedule items on the agenda according to other criteria. This may include the urgency of the matter or the presence of a member who must participate in the discussion at a specific time in the meeting.

Rule 3

Calling a Meeting: Who Has the Power to Convene an Assembly?

The assembly chair calls the meeting. However, if there is an express or implied agreement on the matter, the vice-president or secretary may convene the meeting on behalf of the chair.

Persons authorized to call the meeting also have the power to cancel it; they would then need to state to the assembly the reasons for cancelling the meeting.

Rule 4

Calling a Meeting: How, When, and What?

To call a meeting, a written notice must be sent out, as a general rule, at least five days before the meeting date. This notice must include the location and the time the meeting will be called to order.


The goal of this rule is to ensure assembly members have been duly informed that a meeting will be held and that they can make the necessary arrangements to attend.

Rule 5