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Procedural Authorities

The rules and procedures of the House are complex. The existence of a growing number of Standing Orders and Speakers’ rulings and statements, along with the whole body of unwritten practice, has led to the publication of a number of important works on parliamentary procedure that are known as "the authorities". These books represent an attempt to collect, organize and explain the traditions, precedents and procedures of our Parliament.

House of Commons Procedure and Practice, Second Edition, published in 2009 and edited by Audrey O’Brien, the Clerk of the House of Commons, and Marc Bosc, the Deputy Clerk, is the most recent and comprehensive study of House of Commons jurisprudence. Referred to as "O’Brien-Bosc", the work provides an in-depth look at current procedure and practice as well as their historical context.

Prior to the publication of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, the House relied primarily on Arthur Beauchesne’s Parliamentary Rules and Forms of the House of Commons of Canada (sixth edition published in 1989), Sir John George Bourinot’s Parliamentary Procedure and Practice in the Dominion of Canada (last published in 1916) and the Annotated Standing Orders of the House of Commons.

Other works have also proved useful in understanding the procedures of the House. These include:

Erskine May’s Treatise on The Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament is also used as a guide to relevant current British procedures. A number of other Commonwealth countries have similar works that provide background information and analysis on their respective rules of order.

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