Adjournment sine die

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 usageEdit

The Congress of the United States customarily adjourns a session sine die on the morning of January 3, immediately before the next session holds its constitutionally mandated first meeting. It can also adjourn sine die at other times through a concurrent resolution that allows the Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader to resume the 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]

Similarly, the Texas Legislature allows members' families to be in the respective chambers. Under both the House and Senate rules, the only substantive matters which can be heard are resolutions making technical corrections to legislation already passed; otherwise, the only other matters which can be heard are congratulatory and memorial resolutions, and other honorary items (such as a caucus deciding on informal awards).


  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.