Parliamentary Elections Act 1868

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1868 c. 125
Year1868


Parliamentary Elections Act, 1868

(31 & 32 Vict.) C A P. CXXV.

An Act for amending the Laws relating to Election Petitions, and providing more effectually for the Prevention of corrupt Practices at Parliamentary Elections.

[31st July 1868]

W HEREAS it is expedient to amend the Laws relating to Election Petitions, and to provide more effectually for the Prevention of corrupt Practices at Parliamentary Elections:

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the Authority of the same, as follows:

Preliminary.

Preliminary.

S-1 Short Title of Act.

1 Short Title of Act.

1. This Act may be cited for all Purposes as ‘TheParliamentary Elections Act, 1868.’

S-2 Definition and Jurisdiction of Court.

2 Definition and Jurisdiction of Court.

2. The Expression ‘the Court’ shall, for the Purposes of this Act, in its Application toEngland mean the Court of Common Pleas at Westminster , and in its Application to Ireland the Court of Common Pleas at Dublin , and such Court shall, subject to the Provisions of this Act, have the same Powers, Jurisdiction, and Authority with reference to an Election Petition and the Proceedings thereon as it would have if such Petition were an ordinary Cause within their Jurisdiction.

S-3 Interpretation of Terms.

3 Interpretation of Terms.

3. The following Terms shall in this Act have the Meanings herein-after assigned to them, unless there is something in the Context repugnant to such Construction; (that is to say,)

‘Metropolitan District’ shall mean the City ofLondon and the Liberties thereof, and any Parish or Place subject to the Jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Board of Works:

‘Election’ shall mean an Election of a Member or Members to serve in Parliament:

‘County’ shall not include a County of a City or County of a Town, but shall mean any County, Riding, Parts, or Division of a County returning a Member or Members to serve in Parliament:

‘Borough’ shall mean any Borough, University, City, Place, or Combination of Places, not being a County as herein-before defined, returning a Member or Members to serve in Parliament:

‘Candidate’ shall mean any Person elected to serve in Parliament at an Election, and any Person who has been nominated as or declared himself a Candidate at an Election:

‘Corrupt Practices’ or ‘Corrupt Practice’ shall mean Bribery, Treating, and undue Influence, or any of such Offences, as defined by Act of Parliament, or recognized by the Common Law of Parliament:

‘Rules of Court’ shall mean Rules to be made as herein-after mentioned:

‘Prescribed’ shall mean ‘prescribed by the Rules of Court.’

S-4 Provision as to Speaker.

4 Provision as to Speaker.

4. For the Purposes of this Act ‘Speaker’ shall be deemed to include Deputy Speaker; and when the Office of Speaker is vacant, the Clerk of the House of Commons, or any other Officer for the Time being performing the Duties of the Clerk of the House of Commons, shall be deemed to be substituted for and to be included in the Expression ‘the Speaker.’

Presentation and Service of Petition.

Presentation and Service of Petition.

S-5 To whom and by whom Election Petition may be presented.

5 To whom and by whom Election Petition may be presented.

5. From and after the next Dissolution of Parliament a Petition complaining of an undue Return or undue Election of a Member to serve in Parliament for a County or Borough may be presented to the Court of Common Pleas atWestminster , if such County or Borough is situate in England , or to the Court of Common Pleas at Dublin , if such County or Borough is situate in Ireland , by any One or more of the following Persons:

S-1

1. Some Person who voted or who had a Right to vote at the Election to which the Petition relates; or,

S-2

2. Some Person claiming to have had a Right to be returned or elected at such Election; or,

S-3

3. Some Person alleging himself to have been a Candidate at such Election:

And such Petition is herein-after referred to as an Election Petition.

S-6 Regulations as to Presentation of Election Petition.

6 Regulations as to Presentation of Election Petition.

6. The following Enactments shall be made with respect to the Presentation of an Election Petition under this Act:

S-1

1. The Petition shall be signed by the Petitioner, or all the Petitioners if more than One:

S-2

2. The Petition shall be presented within Twenty-one Days after the Return has been made to the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery inEngland , or to the Clerk of the Crown and Hanaper in Ireland , as the Case may be, of the Member to whose Election the Petition relates, unless it question the Return or Election upon an Allegation of corrupt Practices, and specifically alleges a Payment of Money or other Reward to have been made by any Member, or on his Account, or with his Privity, since the Time of such Return, in pursuance or in furtherance of such corrupt Practices, in which Case the Petition may be presented at any Time within Twenty-eight Days after the Date of such Payment:

S-3

3. Presentation of a Petition shall be made by delivering it to the prescribed Officer or otherwise dealing with the same in manner prescribed:

S-4

4. At the Time of the Presentation of the Petition, or within Three Days afterwards, Security for the Payment of all Costs, Charges, and Expenses that may become payable by the Petitioner—

a .) to any Person summoned as a Witness on his Behalf or
b .) to the Member whose Election or Return is complained of (who is herein-after referred to as the Respondent)

shall be given on behalf of the Petitioner:

S-5

5. The Security shall be to an Amount of One thousand Pounds; it shall be given either by Recognizance to be entered into by any Number of Sureties not exceeding Four, or by a Deposit of Money in manner prescribed, or partly in one way and partly in the other.

S-7 Copy of Petition after Presentation to be sent to Returning Officer.

7 Copy of Petition after Presentation to be sent to Returning Officer.

7. On Presentation of the Petition the prescribed Officer shall send a Copy thereof to the Returning Officer of the County or Borough to which the Petition relates, who shall forthwith publish the same in the County or Borough, as the Case may be.

S-8 Recognizance may be objected to.

8 Recognizance may be objected to.

8. Notice of the Presentation of a Petition under this Act, and of the Nature of the proposed Security, accompanied with a Copy of the Petition, shall, within the prescribed Time, not exceeding Five Days after the Presentation of the Petition, be served by the Petitioner on the Respondent; and it shall be lawful for the Respondent, where the Security is given wholly or partially by Recognizance, within a further prescribed Time, not exceeding Five Days from the Date of the Service on him of the Notice, to object in Writing to such Recognizance, on the Ground that the Sureties, or any of them, are insufficient, or that a Surety is dead, or that he cannot be found or ascertained from the Want of a sufficient Description in the Recognizance, or that a Person named in the Recognizance has not duly acknowledged the same.

S-9 Determination of Objection to Recognizance.

9 Determination of Objection to Recognizance.

9. Any Objection made to the Security given shall be heard and decided on in the prescribed Manner. If an Objection to the Security is allowed it shall be lawful for the Petitioner, within a further prescribed Time, not exceeding Five Days, to remove such Objection, by a Deposit in the prescribed Manner of such Sum of Money as may be deemed by the Court or Officer having Cognizance of the Matter to make the Security sufficient.

If on Objection made the Security is decided to be insufficient, and such Objection is not removed in manner herein-before mentioned, no further Proceedings shall be had on the Petition; otherwise, on the Expiration of the Time limited for making Objections, or, after Objection made, on the Sufficiency of the Security being established, the Petition shall be deemed to be at issue.

S-10 List of Petitions at issue to be made.

10 List of Petitions at issue to be made.

10. The prescribed Officer shall, as soon as may be, make out a List of all Petitions under this Act presented to the Court of which he is such Officer, and which are at issue, placing them in the Order in which they were presented, and shall keep at his Office a Copy of such List, herein-after referred to as the Election List, open to the Inspection in the prescribed Manner of any Person making Application.

Such Petitions, as far as conveniently may be, shall be tried in the Order in which they stand in such List.

Trial of a Petition.

Trial of a Petition.

S-11 Mode of Trial of Election Petitions.

11 Mode of Trial of Election Petitions.

11. The following Enactments shall be made with respect to the Trial of Election Petitions under this Act:

S-1

1. The Trial of every Election Petition shall be conducted before a Puisne Judge of One of Her Majesty's Superior Courts of Common Law atWestminster or Dublin , according as the same shall have been presented to the Court at Westminster or Dublin , to be selected from a Rota to be formed as herein-after mentioned.

S-2

2. The Members of each of the Courts of Queen's Bench, Common Pleas, and Exchequer inEngland and Ireland shall respectively, on or before the Third Day of Michaelmas Term in every Year, select, by a Majority of Votes, One of the Puisne Judges of such Court, not being a Member of the House of Lords, to be placed on the Rota for the Trial of Election Petitions during the ensuing Year.

S-3

3. If in any Case the Members of the said Court are equally divided in their Choice of a Puisne Judge to be placed on the Rota, the Chief Justice of such Court (including...

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