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41. List to be divided into five panels. 42. General Committee to correct the panels from time to time. 43. Power to transfer to another panel the names of members obtaining leave of absence. 44. For supplying vacancies, and increasing the chairmen's panel. 45. Members upon chairmen's panel to make regulations. 16. Election petitions to be referred to the General Committee.—List of petitions to be made. 47. Where notice of vacancy, or that the sitting member declines to defend, is received by the General Committee, proceedings to
be suspended. 48. Provision for cases where more than one petition. 49. Committees to be chosen for petitions according to their order in the list. 50. Notice to be given when any committee will be chosen.--Notice of suspension to be given. 51. Prveision for cases where the sitting member does not defend, and no party has been admitted to defend, fe. 52. General Committee empowered to change the day for choosing select committee. 53. Notice of petitions and panels. 54. Lists of voters intended to be objected to shall be delivered to the clerk of the General Committee. 55. Select Committee to be chosen. 56. In case of disagreement, the General Committee to adjourn. 57. Chairmon to be chosen by the members on the chairmen's panel, and his name communicated to the General Committee. 58. When committee chosen the parties to be called in. 59. General Committee to proceed in order with all the petitions appointed for that day. 60. Parties may object to disqualified members. 61. f General Committee allow the disqualification, a new committee to be chosen. 62. In the new committee members not before objected to may be included. 63. Notice to be sent to every member chosen. 64. If any member chosen proves a disqualification, another committee to be chosen. 65. Select committee to be reported to the House. 66. Members of select committee to be sworn. 67. Members of said committee not present within one hour after the meeting of the House, to be taken into custody by the serjeant68. If any such member is not present within three hours after the meeting of the House, the proceedings to be adjourned. 69. All the members not attending after adjournment, the committee to be discharged. 70. Petitions and lists to be referred to the committee, and time and place of meeting appointed by the House. 71. Committees not to adjourn for more than twenty-four hours, without leave, fc. 72. Committee-man not io absent himself.---Committee not to sit until all be met; on failure of all meeting within one hour, to
adjourn. 72. Absentees to be directed to attend the House. 74. Committee not to be dissolved by the death or absence of not more than two members. 75. If any committee is reduced to less than three by the non-uttendance of its members, it shall be dissolved, unless by consent. 76. Committees to be attended by a short-hand writer. 77. Committee empowered to send for and examine persons, papers, and records. Witnesses misbehaving may be reported to the
House, and committed to the custody of the serjeunt-at-arms. 78. How oaths to be administered. 79. Giving false evidence to be perjury. 80. Evidence to be confined to objections specified in the lists. 81. Committee to decide, and to report their decision to the House. 82. Committees may report their determination on other matters to the House. 83. When Committee is deliberating, the room to be cleared, fc. 84. Questions to be decided by a majority. $5. Names of members voting for or against any resolution to be reported to the House. 86. Committees to be appointed for petitions standing over on a prorogation of Parliament. 87. Committees not dissolved by the prorogation of Parliament, 88. Costs when incurred by petitioners, &c. 89. Costs when incurred by parties opposing petitions. 90. Costs when incurred where no party appears to oppose a petition. 91. Costs upon frivolous objections. 92. Costs upon unfounded objections. 93. Costs how to be ascertained. 94. Persons appointed to tur costs empowered to take affidavits. 95. Recovery of costs. 96. Persons paying costs may recover a proportion from other persons liable thereto. 97. Recognisances when to be estreated, &c. 98. Returning officer may be sued for neglecting to return any person duly elected. 99. Commencement of Act. 100. Provision for election petitions remaining at the close of the present session. 101. Act may be amended this session.
By this Act, After reciting that it is expedient to amend the law for the trial of controverted elections of members to serve in Parlia
It is Enacted, 1. That an Act, 9 Geo. 4. c. 22, intituled, 'An Act to consolidate and amend the Laws relating to the Trial of controverted Elections or Returns of Members to serve in Parliament, and also so much of an Act, 42 Geo. 3. c. 106, intituled, 'An Act for regulating the Trial of controverted Electious or Returns of Members to serve in the United Parliament for Ireland,' and also so much of an Act, 17 Geo. 3. c. 14, intituled, “ An Act to amend several Acts for regulating the Trial of controverted Elections or Returns of Members to serve in Parliament, so far as the same relate to Ireland,' as requires the parties appearing before any select committee to interchange before the said committee lists of the votes and names of voters to which either of the parties purposes and intends to object, and statements in writing respecting the matters which either of the said parties mean to insist upon, contend for, or to object to, or as provides that no witness shall be called or examined to anything not specified in such lists or statements, shall be repealed, except as to anything done under either of the said Acts; but this enactment shall not revive any Act, or part of any Act, repealed by the firstly-recited Act.
11. That every petition which shall be presented to the House of Commons within such time as shall be from time to time limited by the House, complaining of an undue election or return of a member or members to serve in Parliament, or conplaining ihat no return has been made to any writ issued for the election of any member or members to serve in Parliament on or before the day on which such writ is made returnable, or if such writ be issued during any session or prorogation of Parliament, that no return has been made to the same within fifty-two days after the day on which such writ bears date, or that any return is not according to the requisition of the writ, or complaining of the special matters contained in any such return, shall be deemed an election petition; but no election petition shall be received by the House unless at the time it is presented it shall be subscribed by some person claiming therein to have had a right to vote at the election to which the same shall relate, or to have had a right to be returned or elected thereat, or alleging himself to have been a candidate at the election.
11. That before any election petitiou shall be presented to the House the person or persons subscribing the same, or some one or more of them, shall personally enter into a recognizance to our Sovereign Lady the Queen, according to the form giren in the Schedule (A.) to this Act annexed, for the sum of 1,0001., with one, two, three, or four sufficient sureties, either in the same recognizance or in separate recognizances for the additional sum of 1,0001., in a sum or sums of not less than 2501 each, for the payment of all costs and expenses which any committee of the House selected to try such petition in the manner hereinafter provided shall adjudge to be payable by the person or persons subscribing the said petition, and also for tbe payment of all costs and expenses which shall become due from the person or persons subscribing such petition to any witness summoned in his or their behalf, or to any party who shall appear in opposition to such petition, in case such petition shall be withdrawn, as hereinafter allowed.
iv. That every person who shall enter into any such recognizance as surety for any other person shall testify upon oath in writing, to be sworn at the time of entering into the said recognizance, and before the same person by whom his recog nizance shall be taken, that he is seised or possessed of real or personal estate (or both), above what will satisfy his debes
, of the clear value of the sum for which he shall be bound by his said recognizance, and every such affidavit shall be annexed to the recognizance; and that in every such recognizance shall be mentioned the name and usual place of residence of tbe persons proposed to become sureties as aforesaid, with such other description of the proposed sureties as may be sufficient i identify them easily.
v. That the Speaker of the House of Commons shall appoint a fit person to be examiner of recognizances; and every perseu so appointed shall hold his office during the pleasure of the Speaker, and shall execute the duties of his office conformabis to such directions as he may from time to time receive from the Speaker.
vi. That in case of the illness, temporary disability, or unavoidable absence of the examiner of recognizances, the Speaku may appoint a fit person to perform the duties of examiner of recognizances during such illness, disability, or absence ; 26) throughout this Act the expression “ Examiner of Recognizances” shall be deemed to include and apply to the person appointed and for the time being performing such duties.
VI. That every recognizance hereinbefore required shall be entered into, and every affidavit herein before required shall be sworn, before the examiner of recognizances or one of Her Majesty's Justices of the Peace; and the said examiner, and also every Justice of the Peace, is hereby empowered to take the same; and every such recognizance aud affidavit which shall be taken before a Justice, being duly certified under the hand of the Justice before whom they shall have been takeu, shall be delivered to the examiner of recognizances.
VII. Provided and enacted, That it shall be lawful for any person by whom the said petition shall be signed, instead of entering into a recognizance for the full amount of the sums hereinbefore required, to pay into the Bank of England, on th: account of the examiner of recognizances as trustee for the like purposes for which the recognizance is hereinbefore required, any amount of money which he shall think fit, in a sum or sums not less than 2501. cach; and in such case the person bir whom the petition shall be signed shall still be required to enter into his personal recognizance for the sum of 1,0001., but shall be required to find a surety or sureties as aforesaid for so much only of the additional sum of 1,000!. as the sum para into the Bank shall fall short of the sum of 1,0001.; and no money shall be deemed for the purposes of this Act to be paid into the Bank of England until a bank receipt for the same shall be procured and delivered to the examiner of recognizabes.
ix. That in every case in which payment of any money as aforesaid shall have been made into the Bank of England the examiner of recognizances shall be bound, in the first place, and in such order of payment as he in his discretion shall think
fit, to satisfy out of the said money all the costs and expenses for securing payment of which such investment was made, or so much thereof as can be thereby satisfied, and thereafter to transfer the residue (if any), wholly discharged of the said trust, to the account of the party by whom the same shall have been paid in.
x. That no election petition shall be received unless, at the time it is presented to the House, it shall be indorsed by a certificate under the hand of the examiner of recognizances, that the recognizance hereinbefore required has been entered into and received by him, with the affidavits thereunto annexed; and, if the recognizance shall not have been taken for the whole amount, that the necessary amount of money has been paid into the Bank of England as hereinbefore required.
xi. That on or before the day when any such petition shall be presented to the House the names and usual places of residence of the sureties, when there are sureties, shall be entered in a book to be kept by the examiner of recognizances in his oflice; and the said book, and also the recognizances and affidavits and bank receipt for any money paid into the Bank of England, if any, shall be open to the inspection of all parties concerned.
x11. That it shall be lawful for any sitting member petitioned against, or for any electors petitioning and admitted parties to defend the election or return, to object to the sureties, or any of them, who shall have entered into such recognizance on the ground of insufficiency, 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 acknowledged the same; provided that the ground of objection shall be stated in writing under the hand of the objecting party, or his or their agent, and shall be delivered to the examiner of recognizances within ten days, or not later than twelve of the clock at noon of the eleventh day, after the presentation of the petition, if the surety objected to reside in England, or within fourteen days, or not later than twelve of the clock at noon of the fifteenth day, after the presentation of the petition, if the surety objected to reside in Scotland or Ireland: Provided also, that if either such eleventh or such fifteenth day shall happen to be a Sunday, Good Friday, or Christmas-day, it shall be sufficient if such notice of objection be delivered to the examiner of recognizances not later than twelve of the clock at noon of the following day.
xi. That as soon as any such statement of objection shall be received by the examiner of recognizances he shall put up an acknowledgment thereof in some conspicuous part of his office, and shall appoint a day for hearing such objections not less than three and not more than five days from the day on which he shall have received such statement; and the petitioner or petitioners, and his or their agent, shall be allowed to examine and take copies of every such objection.
xit. That at the time appointed the examiner of recognizances shall inquire into the alleged insufficiency of the surety or sureties objected to on the grounds stated in the notice of objection, but not on any other ground; and for the purpose of such inquiry the examiner of recognizances is hereby authorized to examine upon oath any persons who may be tendered by either party for examination by him, and also to receive in evidence any affidavit relating to the matter in dispute before him which shall be sworn before him, or before any Master of the High Court of Chancery, or Justice of the Peace, each of whom is hereby authorized to take and certify such affidavit; and the examiner of recognizances shall have power, if he shall think fit, to adjourn the said inquiry from time to time until he shall decide on the validity of such objection, and, if he shall think fit, to award costs to be paid by either party to the other, which costs shall be taxed and recovered as hereinafter provided for the costs and expenses of prosecuting or opposing election petitions; and the decision of the examiner of recognizances shall be final and conclusive against all parties.
xv. That if any surety shall die, and his death shall be stated as a ground of objection before the end of the time allowed for objecting to the sureties, it shall be lawful for the petitioner to pay into the Bank of England, on the account of the Examiner of recognizances, the sum for which the deceased surety was bound; and upon the delivery of a bank receipt for such sum to the examiner of recognizances, within three days after the day on which the statement of such objection shall have beeu delivered to the examiner of recognizances, the sureties shall be deemed unobjectionable if no ground of objection shall be stated to any other of the sureties within the time before mentioned for stating objections to sureties.
XVI. That in case the examiner of recognizances shall have received any statement of objection to the sureties or any of them to any such election petition, and shall have decided that such sureties or any of them are objectionable, he shall forthwith report to the Speaker that such sureties are objectionable ; but if he shall have decided that such sureties are unobjectionable, or in case he shall not have received any such statement of objection, then as soon as the time hereinbefore allowed for stating any such objection shall have elapsed after the presentation of the petition (or as soon thereafter as he shall have decided upon the statement of objection) the examiner of recognizances shall report to the Speaker that the sureties to such petition are unobjectionable ; and he shall make out a list of all election petitions on which he shall have reported to the Speaker that the sureties are unobjectionable, in which list the petitions shall be arranged in the order in which they shall be so reported upon; and a copy of such list shall be kept in the office of the examiner of recognizances, and shall be open to the inspection of all parties concerned.
XVII. That it shall be competent to the petitioner or petitioners at any time after the presentation of the petition to withdraw the same, upon giving notice in writing under his hand or their hands, or under the hand of his or their agent, to the Speaker, and also to the sitting member or his agent, and also to any party who may have been admitted to oppose the prayer of such petition, that it is not intended to proceed with the petition ; and in such case the petitioner or petitioners shall be liable to the payment of such costs and expenses as may have been incurred by the sitting member, and also by any party who may have been admitted to oppose the prayer of such petition, to be taxed as hereinafter provided.
XVII. That if at any time before the appointment of a select conunittee to try any such petition as hereinafter provided the Speaker of the House of Commons shall be informed, by a certificate in writing subscribed by two of the members of the said House, of the death of any sitting member whose election or return is coinplained of in such petition, or of the death of any member returned upon a double return, whose election or return is complained of in such petition, or that a writ of summons has been issued under the Great Seal of Great Britain to summon any such member to Parliament as a peer of Great Britain,
or if the House of Commons shall have resolved that the seat of any such member is by law become vacant, or if the House of Commons shall be informed, by a declaration in writing subscribed by any such member, and delivered to the Speaker within fourteen days after the day on which any such petition shall have been presented, that it is not the intention of such member to defend his election or return, in every such case notice thereof shall immediately be sent by the Speaker to the General Committee of Elections, and to the members of the chairmen's panel hereinafter mentioned, and also to the sheriff or other returning officer for the county, city, borough, district, or burghs, port or place, to which such petition shall relate; and such sheriff or other returning officer shall cause a true copy of such notice to be affixed on or near the door of the county hall or town hall, or the parish church nearest to the place where such election bas usually been held; and such notice shall also be inserted, by order of the Speaker, in one of the next two London Gazettes, and shall be communicated by him to the House.
xix. That at any time within fourteen days after the day on which any election petition shall have been presented, or within twenty-one days after the day on which any notice shall have been inserted in the Gazette, to the effect that the seat is vacant, or that the member returned will not defend his election or return, or if either of the said periods shall expire during a prorogation of Parliament, or during an adjournment of the House of Commons for the Easter or Christmas holidays, then on or before the second day on which the House shall meet after such prorogation or adjournment it shall be lawful for any person or persons claiming to have had a right to vote at the election to which the petition shall relate to petition the House of Commons, praying to be admitted as a party or parties to defend such return, or to oppose the prayer of such election petition; and such person or persons shall thereupon be admitted as a party or parties, together with the sitting member, if he be then a party against such petition, or in the room of such member, if he be not then a party against the petition, and shall be considered as such to all intents and purposes whatever; and every such petition shall be referred by the House to the General Committee of Elections hereinafter mentioned.
xx. That whenever the member whose election or return is so complained of in such petition shall have given notice as aforesaid of his intention not to defend the same, he shall not be afterwards allowed to appear or act as a party against such petition in any proceedings thereupon, and he shall also be restrained from sitting in the House of Commons, or voting on any question, until such petition shall have been decided upon.
xxi. That in the first session of every Parliament, on the day after the last day allowed by any order or resolution of the House of Commons then in force for questioning the returns of members to serve in Parliament, and in every subsequent session, as soon as conveniently may be after the commencement of the session, the Speaker of the House of Commons shall by warrant under his hand, appoint six members of the House, who shall be willing to serve, and against whose return no petition shall be then depending, and none of whom shall be a petitioner complaining of any election or return, to be members of a committee, which shall be called “ The General Committee of Elections ;' and every such warrant shall be laid on the table of the House, and, if not disapproved by the House in the course of the three next days on which the House shall meer for the despatch of business, shall take effect as an appointment for such General Committee.
xx11. That in case the House shall disapprove any such warrant the Speaker shall, on or before the third day on which the House shall meet after such disapproval, lay upon the table of the House a new warrant for the appointment of six members
, qualified as aforesaid, and so from time to time until six members shall have been appointed by a warrant which shall not be disapproved by the House as aforesaid.
xxu. That the disapproval of the warrart may be either general in respect of the constitution of the whole committee, or special in respect of any member or members named in the warrant.
xxiv. That the Speaker may, if he shall think fit, but shall not be bound to name in the second or any subsequent warrast all or any of the members named in any former warrant, whose appointment shall not have been specially disapproved by the House as aforesaid.
xxv. That after the appointment of the General Committee every member appointed shall continue to be a member of the committee until the end of that session of Parliament, or until he shall cease to be a member of the House of Commons, or until he shall resign his appointment, or until the General Committee shall report that he is disabled by continued illness frora attending the committee, or until the committee shall be dissolved as hereinafter provided.
XXVI. That in every case of vacancy in the General Committee of Elections, the Speaker, on the first day on which the House shall meet after such vacancy shall be known by him, shall make known the vacancy to the House, and thereupon all proceedings of the General Committee shall be suspended until the vacancy shall be supplied as hereinafter provided.
xxvII. That in case the General Committee of Elections shall at any time report to the House of Commons that, by reason of the continued absence of more than two of its members, or by reason of irreconcileable disagreement of opinion, the said committee is unable to proceed in the discharge of its duties, or in case the House of Commons shall resolve that the General Committee of Elections be dissolved, the General Committee shall be thereby forthwith dissolved.
XXV!. That every appointment to supply a vacancy in the General Committee, and every re-appointment of the General Committee after the dissolution thereof, shall be made by the Speaker, by warrant under his hand, and laid upon the tale of the House, on or before the third day on which the House shall meet after the dissolution of the committee, or notification of the vacancy (as the case may be); and the warrant shall be subject to the disapproval of the House, in the like manner is is hereinbefore provided in the case of the first warrant for the appointment of the General Committee; and upon any re-appointment of the General Committee, the Speaker may re-appoint as many members of the former committee as he shall think fit, who shall then be willing and not disqualified to serve on it, but shall not be bound to re-appoint any of them.
xxix. That the Speaker shall appoint the time and place of the first meeting of the General Committee of Elections, and the committee shall meet at the time and place so appointed; but no member appointed or re-appointed to be of the General Committee of Elections shall act upon such committee until he shall have been sworn at the table of the House, by the clerk,
truly and faithfully to perform the duties belonging to a member of the said committee, without fear or favour, to the best of his judgment and ability.
Xxx. That no business shall be transacted by or before the General Committee of Elections unless at the least four members of the General Committee shall be then present together; and no appointment of a select committee by the General Committee, to be made as hereinafter provided, shall be of force unless at the least four members then present of the said General Committee shall agree in the appointment.
xxxi. That, subject to the provisions of this Act, the said committee shall make regulations for the order and manner of conducting business to be transacted by and before them.
XXXII. That the General Committee shall be attended by one of the committee clerks of the House, who shall be selected by the clerk of the House of Commons for the time being, and shall make a minute of all the proceedings of the committee, in such form and manner as shall be from time to time directed by the committee; and a copy of the minutes so kept shali be laid from time to time before the House of Commons.
XXXN1. That if, at the time of the dissolution or suspension of all the proceedings of the General Committee of Elections, there shall be any business appointed to be transacted by or before such General Committee on any certain day, it shall be lawful for the Speaker to adjourn the transaction of such business to such other day as to the Speaker shall seem convenient, and so as often as the case may happen.
XXXIV. That every member who shall be more than sixty years old shall be wholly excused from serving on election committees; provided that on or before the reading over of the names of such excused members as hereinafter mentioned, or upon his afterwards becoming entitled to make such claim, he shall claim to be excused by declaring in his place, or in writing under his hand, to be delivered to the clerk at the table, that he is more than sixty years old; but no member shall be so excused who shall not claim to be excused before he shall be chosen to serve as hereinafter provided.
xxxv. That in the first session of every Parliament on the next meeting of the House after the last day allowed for questioning returns of members to serve in Parliament, and in every subsequent session on the next meeting of the House after the Speaker shall have laid on the table of the House his warrant for the appointment of the General Committee of Elections, the clerk of the House of Commons shall read over the names of all the members who shall so have claimed to be excused.
Xxxvi. That every member who shall have leave of absence from the House shall be excused from serving on election committees during such leave; and if any member in his place shall offer any other excuse, either at the reading over the said names or at any other time, the substance of the allegations shall be taken down by the clerk, in order that the same may be afterwards entered on the journals, and the opinion of the House shall then be taken thereon; and if the House shall resolve that the said member ought to be excused, he shall be excused from serving on election committees for such time as to the House shall seem fit, but no member shall be so excused who shall not claim to be excused before he shall be chosen to serve as hereinafter provided; and every member who shall have served on one select committee for trying an election petition, and who, within seven days after such committee shall have made its final report to the House, shall notify to the clerk of the General Committee his claim to be excused from so serving again, shall be excused during the remainder of ihe session, unless the House shall at any time resolve, upon the report of the General Committee, that the number of members who have not so served is insufficient; but no member shall be deemed to have served on an election committee who, on account of inability or accident, shall have been excused from attending the same throughout.
XXXVII. That every member whose return shall not have been brought in for a time exceeding that allowed for questioning the returns of members, or who shall be a petitioner complaining of an undue election or return, or against whose return a petition shall be then depending, shall be disqualified to serve on election committees during the continuance of such ground of disqualification; and every member of any select committee appointed to try an election petition shall be disqualified to serve again on an election committee during seven days after the final report of the committee on which he so served.
XXXVIII. That the clerk of the House of Commons shall make out an alphabetical list of all the members, omitting the names of such members as shall have claimed to be wholly excused from serving on election committees as aforesaid; and the clerk shall also distinguish in such list the name of every member who shall be for a time excused or disqualified, and shall also note in the list every cause of such temporary excuse or disqualification, and the duration thereof; and such list shall be printed and distributed with the votes of the House, and the names of all the members so omitted shall be also printed and distributed with the votes.
XXXIX. That during three days next after the day of the distribution of such corrected list further corrections may be made in such list by leave of the Speaker, if it shall appear that any name has been improperly left in or struck out of such list, or that there is any other error in such list.
XL. That the list so finally corrected shall be referred to the General Committee of Elections, and the General Committee shall thereupon select, in their discretion, six, eight, ten, or twelve members, whom they shall think duly qualified, to serve as chairmen of election committees; and the inembers so selected shall be formed into a separate panel, to be called the chairmen's panel, which shall be reported to the House; and while the name of any member shall be upon the chairmen's panel he shall not be liable or qualified to serve on an election committee, otherwise than as chairman ; and every member who skall have been placed on the chairmen's panel shall be bound to continue upon it until the end of the session, or until he skall sooner cease to be a member of the House, or until, by leave of the House, he shall be discharged from continuing upon the chairmen's panel: Provided always, that every member of the chairmen's panel, who shall have served on one or more election committees, and who shall notify to the clerk of the General Committee of Elections his claim to be discharged from continuing upon the chairmen's panel, shall be so discharged accordingly; and every such member shall be excused from serving upon any election committee, either as chairman or otherwise, during the remainder of the session; but no member