Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised is, um, Newly Revised
The Venerated Resource Gets a Modest Makeover on its 50th Anniversary
Just when you think there’s nothing new and exciting going on in the
world, up pops the publication of a new edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised!
It is the 12th edition to be exact, and it is the first new edition in nearly a decade.
For the uninitiated, Robert’s Rules is the
definitive authority on parliamentary procedure in how meetings should
be run, including those of community associations.
Robert’s Rules are so ubiquitous and authoritative
that one frequently finds a provision buried in restrictive covenants
dictating that all association meetings will be governed not just by Robert’s Rules
generally, but the most recent edition of them. Still more
impressively, two North Carolina statutes ‒ one applying to condominium
associations, and one applying to homeowner associations ‒ also provide
that board and membership meetings of the association shall be governed
by “the most recent edition” of Robert’s Rules.
So, what does that mean for you? Technically, it means it is time to purchase the 12th
Edition if for no other reason than to avoid scorn and damnation from
the inevitable know-it-all “parliamentarian” who can be found lurking in
the back row of chairs at most association meetings.
Spoiler alert: the changes from the 11th Edition are not exactly the stuff of summertime "page turners." The first clue is the fact the 12th Edition is actually only two pages longer than the 11th
Edition, so right away you know the editors have not gone crazy.
One cannot help but suspect that the timing of the new edition was due
more to the fact that the publication date coincided with the 50th anniversary of the first edition of Robert’s Rules rather than to the desperate need for changes.
Still, there are some significant changes and the authors of the new edition have published a list
of “the most notable ways” (numbering 89 in all) in which the new
edition differs from its predecessor. For example, the new edition
reportedly refines the rules governing the proper sending of meeting
For the penny pinchers among us, one might be tempted to review this summary before tossing out the dog-eared 11th edition already in our possession.
Given the times, the most promising development ‒ one must
wait for the actual publication to know for sure ‒ is a new appendix
setting out sample rules by which electronic meetings should be run ‒ a very hot topic indeed in these days of the pandemic. More on that in a future edition of A Legal Moment.
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