General Information

ICHRPI - International Commission for the History of Representative and Parliamentary Institutions
Constitution (1995)

N.B. In the following text, ‘he’ and ‘his’ should be read as including ‘she’ and ‘hers’


The International Commission for the History of Representative and Parliamentary Institutions is affiliated to the International Committee of Historical Sciences. It was founded in 1936 and is concerned with the discussion and publication of research in the history of representative and parliamentary institutions. It has no official language: communications from the President, Secretary-General and Treasurer are usually in English, French or German. Usually, conference papers may be given in English, French or German or in the language of the country where the conference is held if not one of the three.


Membership of the Commission can be obtained by application to the appropriate National Convenor or to the Secretary-General and requires payment to the Commission of an annual subscription. Membership lapses if the annual subscription has not been paid. If, as a result of age or retirement, members no longer wish to be active in the Commission, they may be nominated emeritus members by a member of the Direction. The annual subscription is waived for emeritus members, who do not receive Parliaments, Estates and Representation, but are sent copies of the newsletter. Members of the Direction may also nominate as associate members distinguished scholars from countries which prevent the payment of overseas subscriptions.

 Further details about the membership

Structure of the Commission

The organs of the Commission are the Business Meeting and the Direction. The Direction consists of a President, at least six and not more than ten Vice-Presidents, a Secretary-General or secretaries, a Treasurer, a Director of Publications and (by invitation and without vote) the editor of Parliaments, Estates and Representation. These officers with the exception of the editor are elected for four years from members of the Commission at the appropriate Business Meeting. All officers may be re-elected, but the President only once. Nomination of an officer requires the support of at least four members of the Commission from more than one country and the signature of the nominee indicating his willingness to stand. Nominations must be made in writing to the Secretary-General or secretaries four weeks in advance of the meeting. Vacancies in the Direction which arise during the four years may be filled by co-option but such co-opted officers must be nominated for election at the next ordinary business meeting. All former presidents of the Commission become ex-officio honorary presidents of the Commission. They may attend meetings of the Direction without voting rights. Upon retirement, honorary presidents receive complimentary copies of Parliaments, Estates and Representation.


The President represents the Commission and directs and supervises its activities and is an ex-officio member of all committees of the Commission. The Direction assists the president in his functions and in carrying out the decisions of each business meeting. The Secretary-General is responsible for arranging, circulating agenda and keeping minutes for meetings of the direction and for Business Meetings of the Commission; he coordinates, in collaboration with national convenors and the Treasurer, membership lists for the Commission, and, together with the President and Treasurer, conducts correspondence with outside bodies. The Treasurer supervises the accounts of the Commission and liaises with National Convenors on procedures for the payment of annual subscriptions. The Vice-Presidents may, in the absence of the President, chair meetings of the Direction or Business Meetings of the Commission. The Director of Publications discharges the financial responsibifities for all publications of the Commission, and together with the President and Treasurer signs contracts or renewals of contract with publishers, is an ex officio member of the editorial board of Parliaments, Estates and Representation, coordinates with the Direction (acting as publications’ committee) the series of Studies presented to the Commission in conjunction with their different authors and publishers and reports to the Business Meetings on the state of these publications. The Direction, in concert with the publisher, will nominate the editor of Parliament, Estates and Representation and agree the terms of his appointment. The editor will present an annual report to the Direction and to the Commission’s Business Meetings: he will be invited to attend meetings of the Direction.

 Further details about the Direction

Business Meeting

The Commission’s Business Meetings, to which the Direction reports on developments since the last business meeting, are held at the conferences of the Commission, which are convened by the Direction at the invitation of national sections of the Commission or of other academic bodies. An agenda is distributed in advance to members at the relevant meetings. At the Business Meeting new members may be nominated and proposals for future activities made. The Secretary-General keeps minutes of each Business Meeting and reports them in the Newsletter of Parliaments, Estates and Representation.

 Further details about the conferences

Proposals for Changes

Proposals for changes in the constitution must be made in writing to the Secretary-General or secretaries to be received four weeks in advance of a Business Meeting. Such proposals require the written support of at least five members and must be approved at the relevant Business Meeting by at least two-thirds of those present and eligible to vote.

National Convenor

A National Convenor is elected by members of each national section in order to facilitate the circulation of communications, the collection of subscriptions and general liaison between the Direction and members. The Direction has the authority to remove an inoperative national convenor, and this action shall be presented for discussion and ratification at the next Business Meeting. In such an event, the Secretary-General will conduct an election amongst all subscribing members of that national section. The President can initiate a new national section by entrusting a national of that country to act as founding National Convenor and this action shall be presented for ratification at the next Business Meeting.