Page images

46 & 47 Vict. c. 51.

46 & 47 Vict.

c. 51.


TION ACT, 1883.

An Act for the better prevention of Corrupt and Illegal
Practices at Parliamentary Elections.

[25th August, 1883.



PAGE 1. Definition of treating :

466 2. Definition of undue influence

467 3. Definition of corrupt practice

467 4. Result of candidate being found guilty of bribery, &c.

468 5. Result of candidate being found guilty by agent of corrupt practice. 468 6. Result of conviction on indictment for corrupt practice


Illegal Practices. 7. Payments for conveyance of voters, use of house for bills, committee

rooms, &c. 8. Payments in excess of scheduled maximum 9. Voting though prohibited, and false statements of withdrawal 10. Result of conviction of illegal practice . 11. Report of Election Court as to illegal practice 12. Report of Election Commissioners


Illegal Payment, Employment, and Hiring. 13. Provision of money for prohibited purpose 14. Employment of public carriages . 15. Corrupt withdrawal 16. Music, flags, ribbons, &c. 17. Employment of persons otherwise than as in Schedule I. 18. Printer to put his name on placards, &c. 19. Rights of innocent creditors . 20. Use of inn, &c., or school for committee room 21. Summary conviction and fine

472 473 473 473 473 474 474 474 475

E.ccuses and Exceptions. 22. Exoneration of candidate by Election Court 23. Exceptions by High Court or Election Court 24-6. Appointment of “Election Agent,” agent, and sub-agent. 27. Contracts to be either by candidate or agents 28. Payments through agent . 29. Vouchers, and period for sending in and paying claims 30. Taxation of claims. 31. Personal expenses of candidate 32. Payment of election agent and returning officer 33. Return and declaration of expenses . 34. Excuse for not making return on declaration 35. Publication by returning officer of return of expenses

[merged small][ocr errors]

46 & 47 Vict.


c. 51.




[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


Disqualification of Electors.

PAGE 36, 37. Prohibition from voting

484 38. Hearing before disqualification 39. “Corrupt and Illegal Practices List'

487 Justice of the Peace, Barrister, Solicitor, or Licensed Person, how to be

dealt with. 40-44. Trial, &c., of election petition

488 45. Inquiry by Public Prosecutor

494 46. Removal of incapacity procured by perjury

494 47. Polling districts and places

494 48. Conveyance of voters by sea

495 Legal Proceedings. 50. Trial in Central Criminal Court.

495 51. Limitation of time for prosecution 52. Persons charged with corrupt may be found guilty of illegal practice

496 53. Application of Act of 1854, &c.--Evidence of defendant :

496 54. Summary convictions and appeal

497 55. Application of Summary Jurisdiction and Indictable Offences Acts:

497 56. Jurisdiction of High Court

497 57. Public Prosecutor and expenses of prosecution

498 58. Recovery of costs from county or borough

498 59. Obligation of witness to answer

499 60. Attorney-General .

499 61. Breach of duty by returning, presiding, or registration officer 500 62. Publication of notices, and service of notice, &c.

500 63. Definition of " candidate

500 64. Interpretation clause

501 65. Short titles of Acts

503 66. Repeal of Acts .

503 70. Duration of Act

503 SCHEDULES. I.-1. Persons legally employed

504 2. Legal additional expenses

505 3. Maximum for matters not specified

505 4. Maximum scale

505 5. General provisions as to joint candidature, &c.

506 II.- Forms of Declarations by candidate as to expenses

507 Declarations by agent as to expenses

507 Return of expenses, &c.

508 III.—Corrupt Practices Prevention Acts

511 IV.-Short titles of Acts

513 V.--Acts repealed


[ocr errors]

What is treating.

BE IT ENACTED, as follows :

Corrupt Practices. 1. Whereas under section four of the Corrupt Practices Prevention Act, 1854, persons other than candidates at parliamentary elections are not liable to any punishment for treating, and it is expedient to make such persons liable; be it therefore enacted in substitution for the said section four as follows:

(1.) Any person who corruptly by himself or by any other


person, either before, during, or after an election, 46 & 47 Viet.
directly or indirectly gives or provides, or pays wholly C. 51.
or in part the expense of giving or providing, any
meat, drink, entertainment, or provision to or for any
person, for the purpose of corruptly influencing that
person or any other person to give or refrain from
giving his vote at the election, or on account of such
person or any other person having voted or refrained
from voting, or being about to vote or refrain from

voting at such election, shall be guilty of treating.
(2.) And every elector who corruptly accepts or takes any Passive.

such meat, drink, or entertainment, or provision shall

also be guilty of treating. Section 4 of the Corrupt Practice Act, 1854, is repealed by this Act. The alteration in the law by this section is that “any person," and not merely a candidate by himself or his agent, as formerly, may be guilty of active treating, and any elector may be guilty of passive treating. Treating is a “ corrupt practice” (s. 3), and punishable under ss. 4, 5, and 6. Under s. 5 treating by an agent avoids the election, and by a candidate under s. 4.

2. Every person who shall directly or indirectly, by himself What is undue or by any other person on his behalf, make use of or threaten influence. to make use of any force, violence, or restraint, or inflict, or threaten to inflict, by himself or by any other person, any temporal or spiritual injury, damage, harm, or loss upon or against any person in order to induce or com pel such person to vote or refrain from voting, or on account of such person huving voted or refrained from voting at any election, or who shall by abduction, duress, or any fraudulent device or contrivance impede or prevent the free exercise of the franchise of any elector, or sball thereby compel, induce, or prevail upon any elector either to give or to refrain from giving his vote at any election, shall be guilty of undue influence.

This is a reproduction of the definition of the repealed s. 5 of the Act of 1854, with the addition of the words “temporal or spiritual" inserted, to enforce the decision of Mr. Justice Keogh in Galway County, 2 O'Malley and Hardcastle, 54.

Undue influence is by . 3 a corrupt practice, and is punishable under 68. 4, 5, and 6. Undue influence by a candidate by s. 4, and by an agent by s. 5, avoids the election.

3. The expression “corrupt practice” as used in this Act What is means any of the following offences; namely, treating and corrupt undue influence, as defined by this Act, and bribery, and per- practice. sonation, as defined by the enactments set forth in Part III.* of .. 512. the third schedule to this Act, and aiding, abetting, counselling, and procuring the commission of the offence of personation, and every offence which is a corrupt practice within the meaning of this Act shall be a corrupt practice within the meaning of the Parliamentary Elections Act, 1868.

t p. 522. The enactments in the schedule supply the definition of bribery proper under the Act of 1852, corrupt payment of rates under the Representation of the People Act, 1867, and of personation under the Ballot Act. A false declaration of expenses is (p. 482) deemed a corrupt practice.


p. 527.

46 & 47 Vict. 4. Where upon the trial of an election petition respecting an c. 51.

election for a county or borough the election court, by the

report made to the Speaker in pursuance of section eleven of Corrupt Practices.

the Parliamentary Elections Act, 1868,* reports that any cor

rupt practice other than treating or undue influence has been Punishment

proved to have been committed in reference to such election by of candidate

or with the knowledge and consent of any candidate at such found, on election peti

election, or that the offence of treating or undue influence has tion, guilty been proved to have been committed in reference to such elecpersonally tion by any candidate at such election, that candidate shall not or by sanction be capable of ever being elected to or sitting in the House of of corrupt practices.

Commons for the said county or borough, and if he has been elected, his election shall be void; and he shall further be sub

ject to the same incapacities as if at the date of the said report Permanent

he had been convicted on an indictment of a corrupt practice. disqualification for

The report referred to is not the certificate of the result of the election constituency.

petition which is given under subs. 13 of s. 11 of the Parliamentary Elections Election void. Act, 1868, but the report given under subs. 12. As this section requires the

report as a condition precedent to avoiding the election, the certificate of the result may declare the election valid, but the effect of the report may be to avoid it, as for example, in cases of treating by a candidate not the ground of avoiding an election previously to this Act, but so made by this Act, also in case of an illegal practice maile for the first time a ground of avoiding an election. Probably the difficulty would be surmounted by the judge making the formal “ certificate of result” subject to his “report,” and making after the report a declaration that by reason of the “report” the election is void,

or he may leave the report to have its legal effect unassisted. Punishment 5. Upon the trial of an election petition respecting an election of candidate for a county or borough, in which a charge is made of any found, on corrupt practice having been committed in reference to such election peti

election, ihe election court shall report in writing to the Speaker tion, guilty by agents of

whether any of the candidates at such election has been guilty corrupt by his agents of any corrupt practice in reference to such elecpractices. tion; and if the report is that any candidate at such election

has been guilty by his agents of any corrupt practice in referSeven years' ence to such election, that candidate shall not be capable of disqualifica- being elected to or sitting in the House of Commons for such tion for constituency.

county or borough for seven years after the date of the report, always one of fact and degree to be decided by the Election Judge, without 46 & 47 Vict. any obligation to state a case for the High Court; nor has any such been yet stated.

and if he has been elected his election shall be void. Election void.

Agents.] The question of agency has been dealt with in numerous cases (see Rogers on Elections, ch. xiv.), of which the result would seem to be that agency at elections is to be more readily implied than agency under other relations. See per Blackburn, J., in the Taunton Case (No. 1), (1 O'Malley and Hardcastle 182), and per Grove, J., in the Taunton Case (No. 2), (2 O'Malley and Hardcastle, 73). Agency would not be conclusively implied from the acts of messengers and others, whose employment is expressly authorized by s. 17 (see the Windsor Case, 1 O'M. & H. 3); though agency would be more readily implied from the acts of such persons than from the acts of unpaid canvassers and other supporters, who are ordinarily not agents, unless they be committee men (see the Wakefield Case, 2 O'M. & H. 102) recognised as such by the candidate (the Westminster Case, 1 O'M. & H. 91), or otherwise recognised as working for him (the Staleybridge Case, 1 O’M. & H. 69). From these and other cases it appears obvious that the question is

c. 51.

6. (1.) A person who commits any corrupt practice other Punishment than personation, or aiding, abetting, counselling, or procuring of person the commission of the offence of personation, shall be guilty of convicted on a misdemeanor, and on conviction on indictment shall be liable

of corrupt to be imprisoned, with or without hard labour, for a term not practices. exceeding one year, or to be filled any sum not exceeding two hundred pounds.

(2.) A person who commits the offence of personation, or of Convicted of aiding, abetting, counselling, or procuring the commission of personation. that offence, shall be guilty of felony, and any person convicted thereof on indictment shall be punished by imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, together with hard labour.

(3.) A person who is convicted on indictment of any corrupt Disqualificapractice shall (in addition to any punishment as above provided) tions : be not capable during a period of seven years from the date of his conviction : (a.) of being registered as an elector or voting at any election as elector;

in the United Kingdom, whether it be a parliamentary
election or an election for any public office within the

meaning of this Act; or
(6.) of holding any public or judicial office within the mean- as public

ing of this Act, and if he holds any such office the officer;

office shall be vacated. (4.) Any person so convicted of a corrupt practice in reference as member. to any election shall also be incapable of being elected to and of sitting in the House of Commons during the seven years next after the date of his conviction, and if at that date he has been elected to the House of Commons his election shall be vacated from the time of such conviction.

Illegal Practices. 7. (1.) No payment or contract for payment shall, for the Illegal purpose of promoting or procuring the election of a candidate at payments. any election, be made (a.) on account of the conveyance of electors to or from the For con

poll, whether for the hiring of horses or carriages, or veyances.

for railway fares, or otherwise; or (b.) to an elector on account of the use of any house, land, For use of

building, or premises for the exhibition of any address, premises.
bill, or notice, or on account of the exhibition of any

address, bill, or notice; or (c.) on account of any committee room in excess of the For excessive

number allowed by the First Schedule to this Act. committee (2.) Subject to such exception as may be allowed in pursuance of this Act, if any payment or contract for payment is Payer and knowingly made in contravention of this section either before, receiver guilty. during, or after an election, the person making such payment


« PreviousContinue »