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A putting off or postponing of proceedings; an ending or dismissal of further business by a court, legislature, or public official—either temporarily or permanently.

If an adjournment is final, it is said to be sine die, "without day" or without a time fixed to resume the work. An adjournment is different from a recess, which is only a short break in proceedings.

In legislatures, adjournment officially marks the end of a regular session. Both state and federal lawmakers vote to determine when to adjourn. The exact timing depends upon multiple factors such as work load, election schedules, and the level of comity among lawmakers. Because a session can end with unfinished legislative business, adjournment is commonly used as a means of political leverage in securing or delaying action on important matters. In the U.S. Congress, where the single annual legislative session usually ends in the fall, the president may call an adjournment if the House and Senate cannot agree upon a date.

Further readings

Baumann, David, and Kirk Victor. 2001. "Congress: Pitfalls to Adjournment." National Journal (November 10).


Congress of the United States; Legislature.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


the postponement of the hearing of a case until some future date. The adjournment maybe to a specified date or for an indefinite period (sine die ).
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

ADJOURNMENT. The dismissal by some court, legislative assembly, or properly authorized officer, of the business before them, either finally, which is called an adjournment sine die, without day; or, to meet again at another time appointed, which is called a temporary adjournment. 2. The constitution of the United States, art. 1, s. 5, 4, directs that "neither house, during the session of congress, shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place, that that in which the two houses shall be sitting." Vide Com. Dig. h.t.; Vin. Ab. h.t.; Dict. de Jur. h.t.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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The adjournment motion is thus an extraordinary procedure which, if admitted, leads to setting aside the normal business of the House for discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance.
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The magistrate said the medical reports were different from what her lawyer had submitted to court when he asked for an adjournment.
Seeking of adjournments to linger the case is a common tactic employed by private lawyers but is an inappropriate practice for the prosecution of the state to attempt to delay a case.
During the hearing, Justice Aurangzeb inquired about the plausibility of seeking an adjournment when the other side had already presented arguments.
Justice Aurangzeb's repeatedly inquired of grounds to grant adjournment. 'I have never witnessed such a request in my 18-year-long career.
The court remarked that orders sheet of subordinate court on adjournment of the hearing of this case be presented so that it could be ascertained what reasons have been mentioned about prolonged adjournment.
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