Pro forma Session Law and Legal Definition

Pro forma sessions are meetings held ‘in form only.’ As used in parliamentary law, it refers to a legislative session held not to conduct business but to satisfy a constitutional provision that neither house may adjourn for longer than a certain time without the other house's consent. In the U.S., either house of the United States Congress the can hold a pro forma session. During these sessions no votes are held and no legislative business is conducted. The session "in form only" is held for purposes of meeting the 3-day rule in the Constitution. The three day rule requires each House to gain the permission of the other for recesses longer than 3 days. When the permission is not forthcoming, or not requested in time, the affected chamber convenes briefly with hardly anyone in attendance and then adjourns. Pro forma sessions can also be used to prevent the President from making recess appointments, pocket-vetoing bills, or calling the Congress into special session.