What is a Quorum?


A quorum in a meeting is the minimum number of voting members on the board who should be present to conduct business. There is no fixed rule on how many members are needed to form a quorum. However, the number should not be so high that the quorum cannot be relied upon for attending all meetings.

Similarly, the quorum should not be too low that a small number of board members have the power to change the course of the organisation. Instead, the number of members in a quorum should reflect the majority vote. If the quorum is not present at the time of the meeting, any motions or votes made hold no value.

Role of quorum in group meetings

A quorum is the single most important aspect of a business meeting because, without it, all actions taken, motions presented, and policies proposed are null and void.

  • Ensuring the presence of a minimum number of members: The presence of a quorum certifies that the board has sufficient representation at a meeting. Any significant changes or decisions made regarding company policies will have to be overseen by the quorum. Even though board members are reliable guides, it does not justify giving too much power to a select few individuals.
  • Providing a legal basis for decision-making: In any organisation, it is a rule that a quorum has to be present before any business transactions can be made legally. If a decision is reached without a quorum present, for any reason, it is legally unacceptable.

Implications of not achieving quorum

It is common not to have every member of the board present in all meetings. So, the absence of a quorum is conceivable. In such a case, the attending board members are not authorised to give unanimous consent because there will not be a majority vote. However, in the absence of a quorum, there are particular rules a board can follow to conduct business:

  • Take action to form a quorum: The board chair can take measures to form a quorum. They can get in touch with the absentees and ask them to join.
  • Fix the time in which to adjourn: If a quorum cannot be achieved until a certain wait time, it is appropriate to move to fix the time to which to adjourn the meeting and pause the current session. The motion includes a scheduled date and time for the next meeting.
  • Adjourn the meeting: Similarly, the chair can also move to adjourn the meeting and end the current session without any notice of the next meeting.
  • Motion to recess: A motion to recess is a brief break within an ongoing meeting session. It’s suitable if more members are expected to join the meeting soon.

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