The National Diet is Japan's bicameral legislature. It is composed of a lower house called the House of Representatives, an upper house, called the House of Councillors. Both houses of the Diet are directly elected under parallel voting systems. In addition to passing laws, the Diet is formally responsible for selecting the Prime Minister; the Diet was first convened as the Imperial Diet in 1889 as a result of adopting the Meiji Constitution. The Diet took its current form in 1947 upon the adoption of the post-war constitution, which considers it the highest organ of state power; the National Diet Building is in Nagatachō, Tokyo. The houses of the Diet are both elected under parallel voting systems; this means that the seats to be filled in any given election are divided into two groups, each elected by a different method. Voters are asked to cast two votes: one for an individual candidate in a constituency, one for a party list. Any national of Japan at least 18 years of age may vote in these elections.
The age of 18 replaced 20 in 2016. Japan's parallel voting system is not to be confused with the Additional Member System used in many other nations; the Constitution of Japan does not specify the number of members of each house of the Diet, the voting system, or the necessary qualifications of those who may vote or be returned in parliamentary elections, thus allowing all of these things to be determined by law. However it does guarantee universal adult suffrage and a secret ballot, it insists that the electoral law must not discriminate in terms of "race, sex, social status, family origin, property or income". The election of Diet members is controlled by statutes passed by the Diet; this is a source of contention concerning re-apportionment of prefectures' seats in response to changes of population distribution. For example, the Liberal Democratic Party had controlled Japan for most of its post-war history, it gained much of its support from rural areas. During the post-war era, large numbers of people were relocating to the urban centers in the seeking of wealth.
The Supreme Court of Japan began exercising judicial review of apportionment laws following the Kurokawa decision of 1976, invalidating an election in which one district in Hyōgo Prefecture received five times the representation of another district in Osaka Prefecture. The Supreme Court has since indicated that the highest electoral imbalance permissible under Japanese law is 3:1, that any greater imbalance between any two districts is a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution. In recent elections the malapportionment ratio amounted to 4.8 in the House of Councillors and 2.3 in the House of Representatives. Candidates for the lower house must be 25 years old or older and 30 years or older for the upper house. All candidates must be Japanese nationals. Under Article 49 of Japan's Constitution, Diet members are paid about ¥1.3 million a month in salary. Each lawmaker is entitled to employ three secretaries with taxpayer funds, free Shinkansen tickets, four round-trip airplane tickets a month to enable them to travel back and forth to their home districts.
Article 41 of the Constitution describes the National Diet as "the highest organ of State power" and "the sole law-making organ of the State". This statement is in forceful contrast to the Meiji Constitution, which described the Emperor as the one who exercised legislative power with the consent of the Diet; the Diet's responsibilities include not only the making of laws but the approval of the annual national budget that the government submits and the ratification of treaties. It can initiate draft constitutional amendments, which, if approved, must be presented to the people in a referendum; the Diet may conduct "investigations in relation to government". The Prime Minister must be designated by Diet resolution, establishing the principle of legislative supremacy over executive government agencies; the government can be dissolved by the Diet if it passes a motion of no confidence introduced by fifty members of the House of Representatives. Government officials, including the Prime Minister and Cabinet members, are required to appear before Diet investigative committees and answer inquiries.
The Diet has the power to impeach judges convicted of criminal or irregular conduct. In most circumstances, in order to become law a bill must be first passed by both houses of the Diet and promulgated by the Emperor; this role of the Emperor is similar to the Royal Assent in some other nations. The House of Representatives is the more powerful chamber of the Diet. While the House of Representatives cannot overrule the House of Councillors on a bill, the House of Councillors can only delay the adoption of a budget or a treaty, approved by the House of Representatives, the House of Councillors has no power at all to prevent the lower house from selecting any Prime Minister it wishes. Furthermore, once appointed it is the confidence of the House of Representatives alone that the Prime Minister must enjoy in order to continue in office; the House of Representatives can overrule the upper house in the following circumstances: If a bill is adopted by the House of Representatives and either rejected, amended or not approved within 60 days by th
A club is an association of two or more people united by a common interest or goal. A service club, for example, exists for charitable activities. There are clubs devoted to hobbies and sports, social activities clubs and religious clubs, so forth. Clubs occurred in all ancient states of which we have detailed knowledge. Once people started living together in larger groups, there was need for people with a common interest to be able to associate despite having no ties of kinship. Organizations of the sort have existed for many years, as evidenced by Ancient Greek clubs and associations in Ancient Rome, it is uncertain whether the use of the word "club" originated in its meaning of a knot of people, or from the fact that the members “clubbed” together to pay the expenses of their gatherings. The oldest English clubs were informal periodic gatherings of friends for the purpose of dining or drinking with one another. Thomas Occleve mentions. In 1659 John Aubrey wrote, “We now use the word clubbe for a sodality in a tavern.”
Of early clubs the most famous, was the Bread Street or Friday Street Club that met at the Mermaid Tavern on the first Friday of each month. John Selden, John Donne, John Fletcher and Francis Beaumont were among the members. Another such club, founded by Ben Jonson, met at the Devil Tavern near Temple Bar in London; the word “club,” in the sense of an association to promote good-fellowship and social intercourse, became common in England at the time of Tatler and The Spectator. With the introduction of coffee-drinking in the middle of the 17th century, clubs entered on a more permanent phase; the coffee houses of the Stuart period are the real originals of the modern clubhouse. The clubs of the late 17th and early 18th century type resembled their Tudor forerunners in being oftenest associations for conviviality or literary coteries, but many were confessedly political, e.g. The Rota, or Coffee Club, a debating society for the spread of republican ideas, broken up at the Restoration in 1660, the Calves Head Club and the Green Ribbon Club.
The characteristics of all these clubs were: No permanent financial bond between the members, each man's liability ending for the time being when he had paid his “score” after the meal. No permanent clubhouse, though each clique tended to make some special coffee house or tavern their headquarters; these coffee-house clubs soon became hotbeds of political scandal-mongering and intriguing, in 1675 King Charles II issued a proclamation which ran: “His Majesty hath thought fit and necessary that coffee houses be put down and suppressed,” because “in such houses divers false and scandalous reports are devised and spread abroad to the Defamation of his Majesty’s Government and to the Disturbance of Peace and Quiet of the Realm.” So unpopular was this proclamation that it was instantly found necessary to withdraw it, by Anne’s reign the coffee-house club was a feature of England’s social life. See English coffeehouses in the 17th and 18th centuries; the idea of the club developed in two directions.
One was of a permanent institution with a fixed clubhouse. The London coffeehouse clubs in increasing their members absorbed the whole accommodation of the coffeehouse or tavern where they held their meetings, this became the clubhouse retaining the name of the original innkeeper, e.g. White's, Brooks's, Arthur's, Boodle's; these still exist today as the famous gentlemen's clubs. The peripatetic lifestyle of the 18th and 19th century middle classes drove the development of more residential clubs, which had bedrooms and other facilities. Military and naval officers, judges, members of Parliament and government officials tended to have an irregular presence in the major cities of the Empire London, spending a few months there before moving on for a prolonged period and returning; when this presence did not coincide with the Season, a permanent establishment in the city, or the opening of a townhouse was inconvenient or uneconomic, while hotels were rare and déclassé. Clubbing with a number of like-minded friends to secure a large shared house with a manager was therefore a convenient solution.
The other sort of club meets or periodically and has no clubhouse, but exists for some specific object. Such are the many purely athletic and pastimes clubs, the Alpine, chess and motor clubs. There are literary clubs and art clubs, publishing clubs; the name of “club” has been annexed by a large group of associations which fall between the club proper and friendly societies, of a purely periodic and temporary nature, such as slate and Christmas clubs, which do not need to be registered under the Friendly Societies Act. The institution of the gentleman's club has spread all over the English-speaking world. Many of those who energised the Scottish Enlightenment were members of the Poker Club in Edinburgh. In the United States clubs were first established after the War of Independence. One of the first was the Hoboken Turtle Club, which still survived as of 1911. In former British Empire colonies like India and Pakistan they are known as Gymkhana; the earliest clubs on the European con
A by-law is a rule or law established by an organization or community to regulate itself, as allowed or provided for by some higher authority. The higher authority a legislature or some other government body, establishes the degree of control that the by-laws may exercise. By-laws may be established by entities such as a business corporation, a neighborhood association, or depending on the jurisdiction, a municipality. In the United Kingdom and some Commonwealth countries, the local laws established by municipalities are referred to as bye-laws because their scope is regulated by the central governments of those nations. Accordingly, a bylaw enforcement officer is the Canadian equivalent of the American Code Enforcement Officer or Municipal Regulations Enforcement Officer. In the United States, the federal government and most state governments have no direct ability to regulate the single provisions of municipal law; as a result, terms such as code, ordinance, or regulation, if not law are more common.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary indicates that the origin of the word by-law is from the English word bilawe from Old Norse *bȳlǫg, from Old Norse bȳr town + lag-, lǫg law. The earliest use of the term, which originates from the Viking town law in the Danelaw, wherein by is the Old Norse word for a larger settlement as in Whitby and Derby. However, it is possible that this usage was forgotten and the word was "reinvented" in modern times through the use of the adverbial prefix by- giving the meaning of subsidiary law or side-law. In either case, it is incorrect to claim that the origin of the word is the prepositional phrase "by law." Municipal by-laws are public regulatory laws. The main difference between a by-law and a law passed by a national/federal or regional/state body is that a by-law is made by a non-sovereign body, which derives its authority from another governing body, can only be made on a limited range of matters. A local council or municipal government derives its power to pass laws through a law of the national or regional government which specifies what things the town or city may regulate through by-laws.
It is therefore a form of delegated legislation. Within its jurisdiction and specific to those areas mandated by the higher body, a municipal by-law is no different than any other law of the land, can be enforced with penalties, challenged in court and must comply with other laws of the land, such as the country's constitution. Municipal by-laws are enforcable through the public justice system, offenders can be charged with a criminal offence for breach of a by-law. Common by-laws include vehicle parking and stopping regulations, animal control and construction, noise and business regulation, management of public recreation areas. Under Article 94 of the Constitution of Japan, regional governments have limited autonomy and legislative powers to create by-laws. In practice, such powers are exercised in accordance with the Local Autonomy Law. By-laws therefore constitute part of the legal system subordinate to the Japanese constitution. In terms of its mandatory powers and effective, it is considered the lowest of all legislation possible.
Such powers are used to govern the following: Location of the seat of government of the prefecture Frequency of routine meetings Number of prefectural vice-governors and vice village leaders Number of staff attached to administrative bodies governed Placement of regional autonomous areas Regulation of certain municipal monies Placement and removal of public facilities Appointment of subordinate offices by the prefectural governor In the United Kingdom, by-laws are laws of local or limited application made by local councils or other bodies, using powers granted by an Act of Parliament, so are a form of delegated legislation. In Australian Law there are five types of by-law, they are established by statute: State government authorities create By-laws as a type of "statutory rule" under an empowering Act, are made by the State governor. Local government by-laws are the most prevalent type of by-law in Australia, control things from Parking and Alcohol in parks to fire regulations and zoning controls.
In New South Wales these by-laws are called ordinances and Zoning Controls are called Environmental Planning Instruments created under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act. Numerous specific institutions, including universities, are empowered to make by-laws by their establishing legislation. By-laws of a company or society are created as a contract among members, must be formally adopted and/or amended. Strata Title was developed in Australia and by-laws of body corporate are empowered by state legislation; these are the main type of by-law most people come into contact with on a regular basis as they control what people in Strata title housing can do in their own homes. The most well known of these is the "no pets in flats" rule. Corporate and organizational by-laws regulate only the organization to which they apply and are concerned with the operation of the organization, setting out the form, manner or procedure in which a company or organisation should be run. Corporate by-laws are drafted by a corporation's founders or directors under the authority of its Charter or Articles of Incorporation.
By-laws vary from organization to organization, but cover topics such as the purpose of the organization, who are its members, how directors are elected, how meetings are conducted, what officers the organization will have and a description of their duties. A common mnemonic device for remembering t
Conservative Party of Canada
The Conservative Party of Canada, colloquially known as the Tories, is a right-of-centre federal political party in Canada. It was formed in 2003 from the merger of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and the Canadian Alliance, it traces its history to the original Conservative Party of Canada, formed after Confederation in 1867 and changed its name to Progressive Conservative Party in 1942. In Canadian politics, the party sits to the right of the Liberal Party of Canada. Like their federal Liberal rivals, the party is defined as a "big tent", welcoming a broad variety of members; the party's leader is Andrew Scheer. From Confederation till 1942, the Conservative Party of Canada participated in numerous governments. Before 1942, the predecessors to the Conservatives had multiple names, but by 1942, the main right-wing Canadian force became known as the Progressive Conservatives. In 1957, John Diefenbaker became the first Prime Minister from the Progressive Conservative Party, remained in office until 1963.
Another Progressive Conservative government was elected after the results of the 1979 federal election, with Joe Clark becoming Prime Minister. Clark served from 1979 to 1980, when he was defeated by the Liberal Party after the 1980 federal election. In 1984, the Progressive Conservatives won with Brian Mulroney becoming Prime Minister. Mulroney was Prime Minister from 1984 to 1993, his government was marked by free trade agreements and economic liberalization; the party suffered a near complete loss after the 1993 federal election, thanks to a splintering of the right-wing. A similar result occurred in 1997, in 2000, when the Reform Party became the Canadian Alliance. In 2003, the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservatives merged, forming the Conservative Party of Canada; the unified Conservative Party favours lower taxes, small government, more decentralization of federal government powers to the provinces modeled after the Meech Lake Accord and a tougher stand on "law and order" issues.
The party won two minority governments after the 2006 federal election, a majority government in the 2011 federal election before being defeated in the 2015 federal election by a majority Liberal government. John Lynch-Staunton served as interim leader of the newly created Conservative Party of Canada from 8 December 2003 until 20 March 2004, when the party elected Stephen Harper as its first leader. Andrew Scheer was elected leader on 27 May 2017; the Deputy Leader is appointed by the Leader. The National Council is the party's national governing body, elected by the Conservative Party membership at its bi-annual meetings. A National Councillor is elected for a two-year term and cannot serve for more than three consecutive terms. Composition of the National Council is based on the following criteria: four members from a province with more than 100 seats in the House of Commons three members from a province with 52–100 seats two from any province with 26–50 seats one member from each province with 4–25 seats one member from each territory the Party leader The Chair of the Conservative Fund Canada the Executive Director.
At present, the National Council has four members from Ontario. The party president is elected by National Council following their election. Since 2016, the President of the Conservative Party has been Scott Lamb, a councillor representing British Columbia; the party President is the conduit between the National Council. Don Plett interim until 2005 John Walsh Scott Lamb The Executive Director answers to the party President, is responsible for the day-to-day management and operations of the party. From February 2009 to December 2013, the Executive Director was Dan Hilton. Dimitri Soudas was named the new Executive Director in December 2013. On 30 March 2014, Soudas was told to resign or be fired from the position after interfering with the nomination contest taking place in his fiancée's riding. In July 2014, Dustin Van Vugt was brought in as the Deputy Executive Director – a position created for him; some media agencies, such as the CBC, suggested that this was a way for Thompson to begin handing over the work for the top job to Van Vugt, until his promotion to Executive Director could be formally ratified by the party's National Council.
In October 2014, Van Vugt's position was unanimously ratified by the party's National Council, Thompson became the Chief Operations Officer. The Director of Political Operations reports to the Executive Director, is one of the most important positions within the party; the person filling this role has direct access to the party leader, due to their responsibilities for organizing the party's work on the ground and in preparing for the next election. With Stephen Harper as Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader, the Director of Political Operations has moved from party positions to the Prime Minister's and other Minister's Offices, back to the party's headquarters, depending on the identified needs. Doug Finley was the Director of Political Operations until 2009, when Finley was appointed to the Senate and Jenni Byrne Finley's Deputy, became the Director. In August 2013, Byrne left the job to become the co-Deputy Chief of Staff in the Prime Minister's O
Republic of Ireland
Ireland known as the Republic of Ireland, is a country in north-western Europe occupying 26 of 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, located on the eastern part of the island, whose metropolitan area is home to around a third of the country's over 4.8 million inhabitants. The sovereign state shares its only land border with a part of the United Kingdom, it is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, St George's Channel to the south-east, the Irish Sea to the east. It is a parliamentary republic; the legislature, the Oireachtas, consists of a lower house, Dáil Éireann, an upper house, Seanad Éireann, an elected President who serves as the ceremonial head of state, but with some important powers and duties. The head of government is the Taoiseach, elected by the Dáil and appointed by the President; the state was created as the Irish Free State in 1922 as a result of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. It had the status of Dominion until 1937 when a new constitution was adopted, in which the state was named "Ireland" and became a republic, with an elected non-executive president as head of state.
It was declared a republic in 1949, following the Republic of Ireland Act 1948. Ireland became a member of the United Nations in December 1955, it joined the European Economic Community, the predecessor of the European Union, in 1973. The state had no formal relations with Northern Ireland for most of the twentieth century, but during the 1980s and 1990s the British and Irish governments worked with the Northern Ireland parties towards a resolution to "the Troubles". Since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, the Irish government and Northern Ireland Executive have co-operated on a number of policy areas under the North-South Ministerial Council created by the Agreement. Ireland ranks among the top twenty-five wealthiest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita, as the tenth most prosperous country in the world according to The Legatum Prosperity Index 2015. After joining the EEC, Ireland enacted a series of liberal economic policies that resulted in rapid economic growth.
The country achieved considerable prosperity between the years of 1995 and 2007, which became known as the Celtic Tiger period. This was halted by an unprecedented financial crisis that began in 2008, in conjunction with the concurrent global economic crash. However, as the Irish economy was the fastest growing in the EU in 2015, Ireland is again ascending league tables comparing wealth and prosperity internationally. For example, in 2015, Ireland was ranked as the joint sixth most developed country in the world by the United Nations Human Development Index, it performs well in several national performance metrics, including freedom of the press, economic freedom and civil liberties. Ireland is a member of the European Union and is a founding member of the Council of Europe and the OECD; the Irish government has followed a policy of military neutrality through non-alignment since prior to World War II and the country is not a member of NATO, although it is a member of Partnership for Peace. The 1922 state, comprising 26 of the 32 counties of Ireland, was "styled and known as the Irish Free State".
The Constitution of Ireland, adopted in 1937, provides that "the name of the State is Éire, or, in the English language, Ireland". Section 2 of the Republic of Ireland Act 1948 states, "It is hereby declared that the description of the State shall be the Republic of Ireland." The 1948 Act does not name the state as "Republic of Ireland", because to have done so would have put it in conflict with the Constitution. The government of the United Kingdom used the name "Eire" and, from 1949, "Republic of Ireland", for the state; as well as "Ireland", "Éire" or "the Republic of Ireland", the state is referred to as "the Republic", "Southern Ireland" or "the South". In an Irish republican context it is referred to as "the Free State" or "the 26 Counties". From the Act of Union on 1 January 1801, until 6 December 1922, the island of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. During the Great Famine, from 1845 to 1849, the island's population of over 8 million fell by 30%. One million Irish died of starvation and/or disease and another 1.5 million emigrated to the United States.
This set the pattern of emigration for the century to come, resulting in constant population decline up to the 1960s. From 1874, under Charles Stewart Parnell from 1880, the Irish Parliamentary Party gained prominence; this was firstly through widespread agrarian agitation via the Irish Land League, that won land reforms for tenants in the form of the Irish Land Acts, secondly through its attempts to achieve Home Rule, via two unsuccessful bills which would have granted Ireland limited national autonomy. These led to "grass-roots" control of national affairs, under the Local Government Act 1898, in the hands of landlord-dominated grand juries of the Protestant Ascendancy. Home Rule seemed certain when the Parliament Act 1911 abolished the veto of the House of Lords, John Redmond secured the Third Home Rule Act in 1914. However, the Unionist movement had been growing since 1886 among Irish Protestants after the introduction of the first home rule bill, fearing discrimination and loss of economic and social privileges if Irish Catholics achieved real political power
The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
A gavel is a small ceremonial mallet made of hardwood fashioned with a handle. It is used exclusively in the United States in legislatures and courts of law, but is used worldwide for auctions. A gavel can be used to punctuate rulings and proclamations, it is a symbol of the authority and right to act in the capacity of a chair or presiding officer. It is struck against a sound block, a striking surface also made of hardwood, to enhance its sounding qualities. According to tradition, Vice President of the United States of America John Adams used a gavel to call the first U. S. Senate to order in New York in the spring of 1789. Since it has remained customary to tap the gavel against a lectern or desk to indicate the opening and the closing of proceedings, giving rise to the phrase gavel-to-gavel to describe the entirety of a meeting or session, it is used to keep the meeting itself calm and orderly. The sound of the gavel strike, being abrupt to start and stop, audible by all present, serves to define an action in time in a manner perceivable by all, to endow the action with practical as well as symbolic finality.
In Medieval England, the word gavel could refer to a tribute or rent payment made with something other than cash. These agreements were set in English land-court with the sound of a gavel, a word which may come from the Old English: gafol. Gavel would be prefixed to any non-monetary payment given to a lord and can be found as a prefix to other terms such as gavelkind, a system of partible inheritance found in parts of the UK and Ireland. A gavel may have referred to a kind of mason's tool, a setting maul that came into use as a way to maintain order in meetings. A gavel may be used in meetings of a deliberative assembly. According to Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, the gavel may be used to signify a recess or an adjournment, it may be used to signify when a member makes a slight breach of the rules. Demeter's Manual of Parliamentary Law and Procedure states that, in addition to an optional light tap after a vote, there are three other uses of a gavel: To attract attention and call a meeting to order.
In most organisations, two taps raise and one tap seats the assembly. To maintain order and restore it when breached in the course of the proceedings.. To be handed over to successors in office or to officiating officers as ceremonials, etc.. Improper uses include banging the gavel in an attempt to drown out a disorderly member. In this situation, the chair should give one vigorous tap at a time at intervals; the chair should not lean on the gavel, juggle or toy with it, or use it to challenge or threaten or to emphasize remarks. The chair should not be "gaveling through" a measure by cutting off members and putting a question to a vote before any member can get the floor; the expression passing the gavel signifies an orderly succession from one chair to another. In addition to the use above during business meetings, organizations may use the gavel during their ceremonies and may specify the number of raps of the gavel corresponding to different actions; the gavel is used in courts of law in the United States and, by metonymy, is used there to represent the entire judiciary system of judgeship.
On the other hand, in the Commonwealth of Nations, gavels have never been used by judges, despite many American-influenced TV programmes depicting them. The unique gavel of the United States Senate has no handle. In 1954, the gavel, in use since at least 1780 broke when Vice President Richard Nixon used it during a heated debate on nuclear energy, despite silver plates having been added in 1952 to strengthen it. Unable to obtain a piece of ivory large enough to replace the gavel, the Senate appealed to the Indian embassy; that year Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, vice president of India, visited the Senate and presented a replica of the original gavel to Nixon. The replica is still in use as of 2018. In contrast to the Senate's, the gavel of the United States House of Representatives is plain wood with a handle. Used more and more forcefully in the House, it has been broken and replaced many times. In both houses, the gavel is sounded, that is, once to mark the opening of the session, the adjournment, to punctuate announcements of decisions by the body.
Rather than shouting for order like in most Westminster style parliaments, the gavel in the House of Representatives, is tapped by the presiding officer to call the assembly to order or to restore order when cross-conversation has made it too noisy to proceed. In 1955 Icelandic sculptor Ríkarður Jónsson carved the Icelandic birch gavel and striking board used at the United Nations. Media related to gavels at Wikimedia Commons