CPA Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures

Building on the Commonwealth Latimer House Principles on the separation of powers, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures provide a framework for excellence in Commonwealth parliamentary and legislative practice.

To view the CPA Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures please click here.


The original CPA Benchmarks published in 2006 comprised of 87 indicators and were drafted by CPA Parliamentarians representing different Commonwealth regions. The CPA Benchmarks were the outcome of a Study Group in late 2006 hosted by the Legislature of Bermuda on behalf of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and the World Bank Institute (World Bank Group) with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the European Parliament and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI).

Reinforcing the belief that effective Parliaments are one of the principal institutions of any functioning democracy, the Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures provide a minimum standard and a guide on how a Parliament should be constituted and how it should function. The CPA Benchmarks are therefore fundamental to the wider values and principles of the Commonwealth Charter, adopted by Commonwealth Heads of Government on 14 December 2012, which expresses the commitment of member states to the development of free and democratic societies.

Emphasising the position of the parliamentary system as a dynamic one, all Legislatures can be sources of valuable innovations regardless of their size or age. Different experiences, approaches and attitudes foster variations in practices and policies which stimulate innovation everywhere. Reflecting new parliamentary developments and practices as well as important international developments such as the implementation of the 2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the 2006 CPA Benchmarks have continued to be reviewed in the light of new innovations. The CPA Benchmarks were revised and updated in June 2018 by a second Study Group of CPA Parliamentarians representing different Commonwealth regions, which met at Wilton Park, West Sussex, United Kingdom. The 2018 Study Group was organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Headquarters Secretariat together with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD). These updated Benchmarks will continue to play an important part in developing the effectiveness of parliamentary institutions across the 180 Parliaments and Legislatures of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) looks forward to working with its partners to promote the updated CPA Benchmarks and will work with its membership to review how they are being implemented within their jurisdictions.

The CPA Benchmarks are also being implemented as part of the Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy #CP4D.

For further information about the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures and to find out about programmes available for your Parliament or Legislature please contact the CPA Headquarters Secretariat via hq.sec@cpahq.org.



To view the CPA Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures please click here.