Adjournment sine die

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Adjournment sine die (from Latin "without a day") is the conclusion of a meeting by a deliberative assembly, such as a legislature or organizational board, without setting a day to reconvene.[1] The assembly can reconvene, either in its present form or a reconstituted form, if preexisting laws and rules provide for this. Otherwise the adjournment effectively dissolves the assembly.[2]

A court may also adjourn a matter sine die, which means that the matter is stayed until further notice. In a sine die adjournment of this type, the hearing stands open indefinitely, and could theoretically be resumed if the situation changed.[3] For example, a case may be adjourned sine die if there is no possibility of proceeding in the foreseeable future, such as when the defendant is in prison and cannot participate in legal proceedings.[citation needed]

United States usage[edit]

The Congress of the United States customarily adjourns sine die at the end of each two-year electoral term, immediately before the next term's opening on the mandatory meeting date of January 3. It can also adjourn sine die during the term through a concurrent resolution that allows the Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader to call a new session.[4]

Some state legislatures mark adjournment sine die with a ceremony. In the Florida Legislature, the sergeants-at-arms of the Florida Senate and the Florida House of Representatives step outside their chambers each holding a handkerchief. When they meet in between the chambers, they both drop the handkerchiefs, signifying the end of the legislative session.[5][6]


  1. ^ Sine die Webster's New World College Dictionary, Retrieved July 18th, 2009
  2. ^ Robert, Henry M.; et al. (2011). Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-306-82020-5.
  3. ^ Glossary - Latin Terms: Sine Die Archived 2010-06-29 at the Wayback Machine Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service, Retrieved May 16, 2011
  4. ^ "Adjournment sine die", US Senate Glossary, Retrieved July 18, 2009
  5. ^ Dughi, Don (1979). "Sine Die Handkerchief Ceremony-Florida State Capitol". Florida State Library and Archives.
  6. ^ "Tallahassee not only capitol with 'sine die' traditions - Florida Politics". Retrieved September 26, 2017.