What Is an Adjournment in Meetings?

Adjournment / Adjournments

An adjournment in meetings is a formal process to bring them to a close, often until a designated period. There are primarily two reasons to adjourn a meeting — either the time of the meeting has ended, or the board has covered all the items on the agenda.

In case some agenda items have not been addressed, a motion to adjourn is typically presented by a board member and seconded by another. After a majority vote, the meeting is adjourned.

The remaining agenda items are then moved to the next scheduled meeting. This means the meeting has been terminated, but the session has not. The time (and often place) for the next meeting can be established in the motion to adjourn.

To avoid having to adjourn the meeting before all agenda items have been discussed, make sure there is a starting and ending time allotted to each. Before adjourning a meeting, the chairperson of the board should make sure no time-critical matter is left to be addressed. If everything has been discussed, the chairperson can adjourn the meeting without presenting a motion.

Types of adjournments

In the business world, you can adjourn a meeting in three acceptable ways: adjourning at the moment, adjourning to continue later and adjourning sine die.

  • Adjourning the meeting at the moment brings an end to the current session.
  • Adjourning for a later date means suspending the current meeting and putting the remaining agenda items on hold until the next designated time and place.
  • Adjournment sine die is to simply close the meeting for an indefinite period. The members don’t set a particular date or time for the next one.

Adjournment vs recess

Adjournment in meetings means to end the proceedings and move any remaining agenda items to be discussed at a future meeting. Contrarily, recess means pausing the current meeting until an established date and time. After a recess, the meeting is supposed to pick up from exactly where it ended.

A motion to adjourn a meeting needs to be seconded and is prioritised over all current motions in place. The board member cannot interrupt anyone currently speaking to bring up the motion. After a majority vote, this motion cannot be amended or reconsidered.

On the other hand, a recess is suitable if a brief intermission is desired rather than an adjournment. The length of the recess is mentioned in the motion. A motion to recess has to follow the same rules as a motion to adjourn, but it can be changed or reconsidered.

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