Technical Committee Procedures for the Unicode Consortium
Revised: 2019-January-23 [one link tweaked 2020-March-23]
are to guide all activity of the technical committees, subcommittees,
and any ad hoc committees of the Unicode
Consortium that are established and amended by
of the Unicode Consortium under the direction of the Board of Directors of
the Unicode Consortium.
1.0. Technical committee
committees are decision making bodies formally established by the full members
of the Consortium. The current technical committees of the Unicode Consortium
- Unicode Technical Committee (UTC)
- Unicode Common Locale Data Repository Technical Committee (CLDR-TC)
- International Components for Unicode Technical Committee (ICU-TC)
See Consortium for further
1.1. Voting participant
at technical committee meetings are the designated representatives of:
- Full members (full vote)
- Institutional members (full vote)
- Supporting members (half vote)
These must be
members in good standing. See Consortium
for the membership categories and lists of members.
1.2. Non-voting participant
Non-voting participants at technical committee meetings are:
- Associate members
- Liaison members
- Executive officers
- Technical officers
participants also include employees or other affiliates of full, institutional,
supporting, associate, or liaison members who are not designated as primary or
technical committee meetings are:
- Individual members
- Student members
- Invited experts
student members are neither voting nor non-voting participants of technical
1.4. Participant in good standing
To be in good
standing, a technical committee participant is required to be a member current
on fees and obligations imposed by the Unicode Consortium. A member that is not
in good standing may act as an observer at technical committee meetings.
1.5. Participant in regular attendance
To be in regular
attendance, a technical committee participant is required to be in good
standing and to be represented in the current meeting or have been represented
in at least one of the two prior meetings.
1.6. Meeting schedules
committee meetings shall be planned and held at regular intervals.
1.7. Ad hoc meeting
committee may establish an informal group to discuss specific issues or
subjects. The meetings of such groups are considered ad hoc meetings.
Activities of these groups may include the review of action items or bug
reports and may result in recommendations to a technical committee. The
recommendations of an ad hoc meeting are not binding on the technical
1.8. Designation in writing
A designation in
writing is written instruction made by letter, fax, or given in email
correspondence that is signed by a member representative. An email sent from a
member representative's address is considered to be signed by the member
A designation in
writing is effective upon receipt by the chair.
1.9. Executive officer of the Consortium
- Vice president
- Chief financial officer
For a list of
executive officers, see Consortium
1.10. Technical officer of the Consortium
- Technical vice president
- Technical directors
For a list of
technical officers, see Consortium
2. Program of work of a technical committee
activities of a technical committee are the development and maintenance of its associated
technical standards, technical reports, software, and data files in accordance
with the purpose of the Unicode Consortium as stated in Article 1, Section 1 of
its Bylaws. The content of its associated technical standards, technical
reports, software, and data files are defined by the set of proposals approved
by the respective technical committee, on the basis of these procedures.
3. Composition of a technical committee
committee is comprised of representatives of voting and non-voting participants
as defined in sections 1.1 and 1.2 that are in good standing. In the rest of
these procedures, any use of the term "participant" without
qualification refers to these definitions.
A member representative
must be listed as a primary or alternate representative on the membership
roster of the Unicode Consortium to represent the member.
4. Member representatives
4.1. Primary representative
member of the Unicode Consortium is entitled to designate one person as its
primary representative for a particular technical committee. This designation
must be made in writing.
4.2. Alternate representatives
each voting member may designate one or more alternate representatives for a particular
technical committee. This designation must be made in writing.
4.3. Representatives of non-voting members
members may designate one or more representatives for a particular technical
4.4. Changes in
revoke or reassign their assigned representatives at any time. Notice of
changes must be made in writing.
5. Proxy representation
may designate a proxy for a technical committee for a given period or subject
matter. This designation must be made in writing. The designation must be
signed by the primary representative or by an alternate representative acting
as the primary representative. Oral appointment of a proxy is not acceptable.
Proxies may be
revoked at any time by the primary representative or by an alternate
representative acting as the primary representative. The revocation must be in
writing if the representative is not physically present at the meeting.
authorization or revocation is effective upon receipt by the chair. A person
may hold and exercise multiple proxies.
5.1. Who may be a proxy
Consortium imposes few restrictions on who may be a proxy. It may be the
representative of another member, a technical committee officer, or an officer
of the Consortium or any other chosen person, except an employee of the
5.2. When is a proxy not required
A proxy is not
required when a member is being represented by an alternate representative
(instead of the primary representative). The
alternate representative must be listed on the membership roster of the Unicode
The officers of
each technical committee are a chair, a vice chair and, optionally, a recording
secretary, all appointed by the executive officers of the Unicode Consortium.
In the absence of the chair, the vice chair shall assume his/her duties. A
technical committee may create and appoint other officers of the committee at
its discretion, including additional vice chairs.
committee meetings are referenced either by number or date at the discretion of
the chair. Locations and dates for technical committee meetings shall be
decided upon by the committee. Notification shall be distributed to the
committee participants at least 20 days in advance of in-person meetings, and
at least 2 days in advance of telephone or video conference meetings.
A member is not
obligated to send a representative to a technical committee meeting.
meetings in person is distributed on the email lists. Announcement of these
meeting plans are generally made a year in advance. For telephone
meetings, schedules may be announced 2 days before the meeting.
7.2. Meeting procedures
7.2.1. Presiding chair
presides over a technical committee meeting. In the absence of the chair, the
vice chair presides.
Appointment of a temporary technical committee officer
technical committee meeting, any technical committee officer may appoint a
member representative or officer of the Unicode Consortium as a substitute
technical committee officer for all or part of that meeting. This action must
be recorded in the minutes.
Meetings of a
technical committee are conducted in the following way:
- A quorum must be
present to take decisions. See Section 8 Meeting quorum for information
on determining a quorum.
- The chair
controls the floor in order to manage the discussion of agenda topics.
- All meeting
participants have an equal right to be recognized by the chair.
are made by consensus of participants where possible; otherwise motions must be
made and seconded before discussion, and a vote recorded.
Voting participants and officers may raise points of
order to check procedural matters and questions on agenda topics.
- At the
discretion of the chair, discussion may be conducted informally, especially on
technical matters, unless any member objects.
may only engage in discussion with permission from the chair.
7.3. Who may participate in technical committee meetings
Those who may
participate in technical committee meetings are:
- Voting participants
- Non-voting participants
- Observers, with permission from the chair
7.4. Confidentiality of meeting discussions
during meetings are confidential and are not to be shared
publicly, without explicit permission of the chair. For example, while
discussions may be shared within member organizations, such discussions should
not be shared publicly.
7.5. Closed caucus
participants, technical committee officers, or officers of the Consortium can
raise a proposal for a closed caucus at any time in a meeting. If the proposal
for a closed caucus is approved (according to Section 9 Decisions), then it shall be convened at a time determined by the
participants, technical committee officers, and officers of the Consortium may
participate in the closed caucus.
of a closed caucus can be requested and approved in the same way as the
initiation of a closed caucus.
7.6. Chatham House Rule
When a meeting,
or part thereof, is held under the
Chatham House Rule, participants
are free to use the information received, including sharing it publicly, but
neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any
other participant, may be revealed.
the Chatham House Rule can be requested by any representative of a full member
or by any officer of the Consortium. If the proposal for Chatham House Rule is
approved (according to Section 9 Decisions, but requiring unanimous consensus
or vote), then it applies during the meeting until terminated.
of the Chatham House Rule can be requested and approved in the same
way as the initiation.
7.7. Photography, recording or broadcast of meeting content
Photography, video recording, audio recording, or broadcast of meetings are not normally permitted. In exceptional circumstances,
the chair may authorize photography or recording in meetings, provided that all voting
participants, Consortium officers present at the meeting,
and the site host consent to the authorization.
If permission to
take photos or record a meeting is not requested, the chair may require the person responsible
for the unauthorized photography, recording or broadcast to leave the meeting.
proceedings may not be photographed, recorded, or broadcast.
Photography, recording of video or audio, or any form of broadcast, at the site outside of meeting rooms,
and at the site of private events for UTC participants, requires permission of both the chair and the site host.
8. Meeting quorum
The quorum for a
technical committee meeting consists of fifty percent (50%) of the total number
of voting participants in regular attendance, where the voting participants of
full and institutional members count as one, and the voting participants of
supporting members count as one half.
A participant may be represented either by a designated
representative or by a validated proxy.
Decisions of a
technical committee are made by consensus where possible, or, if not, by votes
taken on formal motions. Proposals may be made by any voting participant or by
an officer of the Consortium. If no voting participant objects to a consensus,
the proposal is accepted by the technical committee. If there is an objection
to consensus, then the proposal can be withdrawn or a formal motion for a vote can
be made. Motions may be moved or seconded by a voting participant or by an
officer of the Consortium. A motion must be seconded before it can be voted
upon. Acceptance of the motion is governed by Section 10 Voting.
A voting participant may appeal a decision of a technical
committee to the full members of the Consortium. The chair shall issue a letter
ballot as to whether to overturn the decision.
10.1. Representation of voting members
Where one or
more representatives of a voting member are present, the primary representative
shall vote for the member, unless he/she allows an alternate representative to
In the absence
of the primary representative, an alternate representative shall vote for the
member. When two or more alternates are present, the alternates decide who
shall represent the member in voting. In any case of conflict, the chair shall
decide who shall vote for the member.
In the absence
of the primary representative and any alternate representatives, the holder of
a validated proxy may vote.
For counting the
vote, the vote of full and institutional members shall count as one, and the
vote of supporting members shall count as one half.
10.2. Rights of proxies
A holder of a
validated proxy has the same voting rights as the voting member that he/she is
representing, except where the proxy authorization limits the scope of the
proxy. In any case, where the description of the scope is unclear, the chair
shall decide whether limitations of the scope apply.
10.3. Absentee voting
A voting member
representative may cast a ballot on any matter by letter, email, fax, or
equivalent written mechanism, provided only that such a ballot is received in
time to apply it. If any change other than correction of typographical errors
is made to the wording or substance of a matter following receipt of a ballot,
that ballot shall, at the discretion of the chair, not be voted.
10.4. Voting process
A vote on a
motion is always taken on whether or not to approve the proposal. A vote is never
taken on whether or not to sustain an objection to the proposal. Votes may be
cast in favor, against, or abstaining on any matter except on those matters for
which abstentions are not permitted by technical committee procedures.
At a technical committee meeting, voting is public, by count of those voting
(including absentee votes), as specified in Section 10.1 Representation of voting
members. However, an absentee vote does not affect quorum and does not
affect the determination of regular attendance.
10.5. Voting results
10.5.1. New decisions
majority is required to pass a motion that establishes or overturns a
precedent. Otherwise passage of a motion is decided by a simple majority vote.
For the UTC, a
matter is deemed to have passed only if the sum of the favorable votes cast is
over half of the sum of all of the votes cast.
For other TCs, a
matter is deemed to have passed if the sum of favorable votes exceeds the sum
of unfavorable votes.
Note: Unless an
explicit precedent has been set, retracting a change that has not yet appeared
in a released version of a Unicode Standard takes a simple majority vote, as
does adding a character that has previously been rejected.
A precedent is
either of the following:
- An existing Unicode Policy, or
- An explicit precedent.
precedent is established by a separate motion, which must pass by a special
majority. This separate motion states that a previous technical committee decision
is considered an explicit precedent.
10.5.3. Special majority
For the UTC, a
special majority is either consensus or a 2/3 majority, whereby a matter will
be deemed to have passed only if the sum of the favorable votes cast is 2/3 or
more of the sum of the eligible votes at the meeting, or, in case of a mail
ballot, by 2/3 or more of the sum of votes of all eligible members.
For other TCs, a
special majority is either consensus or at least twice as many positive votes
as negative votes.
counted in the same way for simple majorities and special majorities.
For the UTC,
abstentions have the same effect on determining a majority vote as negative
For other TCs, abstentions are ignored.
10.6. Recording of decisions
The outcome of a
decision is recorded in the minutes of a technical committee meeting. Votes,
when taken, are recorded with a count of the number of voting participants who
voted in favor, against, and abstained. Consensus decisions are noted as such without
a vote count. Decisions shall be recorded in the following matters:
- Ballots on
motions related to technical standards, technical reports, software, and data
files, including all votes on proposals, objections, etc.
- Ballots on
motions related to committee procedures.
on matters related to the scopes and programs of work of technical committees
and their subcommittees.
Decisions on any
other matters may be voice votes or informal unrecorded counts at the
discretion of the chair.
11. Letter ballots
A letter ballot
may be called by a vote of the technical committee or by at least two officers
of the Unicode Consortium. When a letter ballot is taken, the chair shall
designate a teller to conduct the ballot in the following manner:
- Ballots will be
mailed, emailed, or distributed by hand to the primary and alternate
representatives of all voting participants, and must be returned to the teller
within 20 days of the date of distribution.
- Only one
representative of a voting participant may vote. Should disagreeing ballots be
received from more than one representative, only the ballot of the primary
representative is counted, and the ballot(s) of the alternate(s) shall be
As soon as
enough votes have been collected to decide the issue definitively one way or
another, the teller shall close the ballot and announce the results via email
to all primary and alternate representatives and to all officers of the
of the letter ballot shall also be announced at the first technical committee
meeting following the close of the 20-day return period, and also recorded in
the minutes of the meeting.
12. Public Review Issues
From time to
time the Unicode Consortium seeks formal public review and feedback on specific
proposals by posting Public
on its website. Public review issues are created by officers of the Consortium,
typically upon request of a technical committee. Each issue has a number,
title, summary, and deadline for receipt of public review comments.
Resolution of a
public review issue is normally made after consideration of the feedback at the
following technical committee meeting.
committee decisions are not bound in any way by the existence or the wording of
a public review issue.
may be established by a technical committee to address specific issues. All
proposals, recommendations, or decisions made by a subcommittee are subject to
approval or further action by the technical committee, unless specific
authority for a decision has been delegated by a technical committee to the
The conduct of a
subcommittee meeting may, at the discretion of the chair of that subcommittee,
be less formal than the technical committee rules require. There is no specific
requirement for the advance notice of a subcommittee meeting. Subcommittee
meetings may also be held in closed caucus.
13.1. Who may participate in subcommittee meetings
All those who
can participate in technical committee meetings may participate in subcommittee
meetings. See Section 7.3. Who may participate in technical committee
only engage in discussion with permission from the subcommittee chair.
13.2. Subcommittee chair
The chair of a
subcommittee shall be an officer of the Consortium or a representative (primary
or alternate) of a full, institutional, or supporting member. Subcommittee
chairs are appointed by the technical committee chair.
13.3. Reporting requirements
The chair of a
subcommittee shall report to the technical committee on meetings of that
14.1. Mailing lists
The chair or
subcommittee chair shall designate a person to maintain a mailing list for
participants in technical committee or subcommittee meetings. See Section
7.3 Who may participate in technical committee meetings and Section 13.1
Who may participate in subcommittee meetings for those who may participate.
Participation in mailing list discussions is considered an extension of
technical committee or subcommittee meetings, and, as such, participation is at
the discretion of the technical committee or subcommittee chair.
14.2. Calendar of meetings
The calendar of
technical committee meetings shall be available on the public side of the
Unicode Consortium website. The calendar may also show other events or
meetings of interest.
14.3. Agenda of meeting
agenda of a UTC meeting shall be compiled by the chair of the UTC, and made
available to members no later than one week before the meeting. Additional
agenda items may be added after the initial agenda is distributed, up to and
during the meeting itself. All members may submit items to the chair for
inclusion in the agenda. The inclusion of submitted items is at the discretion
of the chair.
For other TCs,
all members of email lists may submit items to the chair for inclusion in the
agenda. Additional agenda items may be added after the initial agenda is
distributed, up to and during the meeting itself. The inclusion of submitted
items is at the discretion of the chair and vice chair.
The chair shall
designate a person or procedure to assign document numbers.
Documents to be
considered at meetings of a technical committee shall be distributed not later
than one week before the meeting. Documents received less than one week before
a technical committee meeting may, at the discretion of the chair, be
processed, particularly if there is a need for action to meet a schedule for
standardization or for coordination with another group.
When a proposal
is introduced for the first time in a technical committee meeting, any voting
member can ask for the decision to be delayed to the next meeting, to allow
time for study. The chair will normally honor the request, except under
documents will be announced on the committee email lists and placed in the
14.5. Meeting minutes
minutes of a technical committee meeting shall be made available within seven
business days of the meeting.
14.6. Action item list
A list of action
items shall be kept and reviewed at each meeting of the technical committee.
14.7. Member website
Office will maintain a password-protected, members-only section of the Unicode
15. The Unicode Consortium as a member of other organizations
with other organizations are at the level of the Unicode Consortium, not at the
technical committee level. For more information, see Unicode
as a Member of Other Organizations.
16. Enforcement of these procedures
During a meeting,
the presiding chair shall decide any question concerning interpretation or
application of these rules. Outside a meeting, the chair of the technical
committee shall decide any question concerning interpretation or application of
17. Handling of company private data
on handling of company private data, see Confidential
Appendix A: Technical Committee Procedures — Revision History
- January 1991. Draft, written by Mark Davis.
- December 1997. Reformatted, by Julia Oesterle.
- July 1998.Draft revision, by Joan Aliprand.
- December 1998. Distributed with incorporated revisions.
- October 1999.
Revisions re proxies and recording of meetings, by Lisa Moore.
- February 2001.
Revisions regarding quorum determination, precedents, acceptance voting, letter
ballots, and other clarifications, by Lisa Moore.
- November 2001.
Revisions regarding proxy designations via email, by Lisa Moore.
- April 2004.
Revisions regarding decisions, public review issues, and miscellaneous updates
by Lisa Moore.
- May 2005.
Revisions to include new and changed member categories by Lisa Moore.
- August 2005.
Merged UTC and CLDR-TC procedures and removed approval voting, by Lisa Moore.
- June 2007.
Clarified role of Subcommittee Chair in 13.1 and participation in mailing list
discussions in 14.1.
- April 2011.
Updated with the formation of a third technical committee, Unicode Localization
- December 2011.
Clarified appointment of Subcommittee chairs in 13.2.
- July 2014.
Removed references to joint L2 and Unicode meetings.
- January 2017.
Updated to address confidentiality of discussions, to add definitions,
and to include ICU.
- September 2018. Revisions regarding photography at meetings
- January 2019.
Removed ULI-TC from list of technical committees, as it
is now a subcommittee of CLDR-TC.