Page images

a declaration, signed by the agent (1), must be deposited at Proceedings in the the Private Bill Office, (Commons' S. O., No. 140, post, 52); and, on or before the same day, a copy of the bill annexed to the petition must be deposited at the Board of Trade (i), (Commons' S. O., No. 45, post, 39); and all plans, sections, books of reference, list of owners and occupiers, copies of the subscription contract, and declarations required by the standing orders, must be lodged in the Private Bill Office. (Commons' S. O., No. 139, post, 52).

The promoters of the bill having complied with the preliininary matters, we shall now point out the proceedings which take place in the House of Commons.

And, first, it may be mentioned, that, up to and during the session of 1846, sub-committees were appointed to inquire whether certain of the standing orders were complied with: but the standing orders in force in 1847 have introduced a new practice in this particular; and now the Speaker of the House of Commons appoints certain officers called The Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills, one of whom is chief examiner (k), (Commons' S. 0., Nos. 1 and 2, post, 31). The examination of petitions commences on the 15th January, and the chief examiner is required to give seven clear days' notice, in the Private Bill Office, of the day appointed for the examination of each petition. (Commons' S.O., Nos. 9 and 10, post, 32, No. 143, post, 53). The compliance with certain of the standing orders must be proved before one of these examiners (?), and any parties

serted in all railway bills. See Commons' S. O., Nos. 88 and 89, post, 45; and Nos. 96, 97, & 98, post, 47.

(a) For the contents of this de. elaration, see Commons' S. O., No. 141, post, 52; and a copy of the declaration must be deposited at the Board of Trade. Ibid.

(1) Now at the office of the Com

missioners of Railways ; see 9 & 10 Vict. c. 105, s. 3, post, App., 225.

(k) Petitions for additional provi. sions in private bills are also referred to the Examiner of Petitions: Commons' S. O., No. 114, post, 49, and No. 16, post, 33.

(1) As to the evidence which the examiners may receive to prove com

Huu e.

Procerrdings in the may appear by themselves, their agents and witnesses, upon

any memorial (m) addressed to the examiner, complaining of a non-compliance with the standing orders, provided the matter complained of be specifically stated in such memorial, and that the party affected by such non-compliance with the standing orders, have signed the memorial, and that it be deposited in the Private Bill Office three clear days before the first day appointed for the examination of the petition. (Commons' S. O., No. 11, post, 32). The examiner must certify, by indorsement on the petition, whether the standing orders have or have not been complied with; and if the latter, he must report the facts upon which his decision is founded, and any special circumstances. If he feels doubts as to the due construction of any standing order, he is to make a special report of the facts. (Commons' S. O., Nos. 15 and 17, post, 33).

With respect to the presentation of the petition for the bill, it is to be observed, that a bill is always intrusted to one or two members of the House, who attend at the sitting of the House, and make such motions as are necessary to forward its progress. The bill is first brought into the House upon a petition, with a copy of the bill annexed, the petition being signed by some of the parties who are suitors for the bill, and duly indorsed by the above-mentioned examiner of petitions for private bills. This petition for the bill must be presented on or before a day to be appointed by the House, at the commencement (n) of every session. (Commons' S. O., Nos. 112 and 113, post, 49). The report of the examiner of petitions for the bill is referred to the committee on standing orders (0). (Commons' S.O., No. 115, Prwerdings in the post, 49). The bill having been printed (p), and read a first and afterwards a second time (9), it is committed.

pliance with the standing orders, see Commons' S. O., Nos. 12, 13, 14, post, 33. See also the regulations for facilitating the business before the examiners, post, Appendix, 273.

(m) When memorials must be de.

posited, see resolution passed in February, 1847, post, App., 275.

(n) And three clear days after it shall have been indorsed by the examiner, see resolution passed in February, 1817, post, Apr., 275.

During the last two sessions of Parliament, (1845-6), all railway bills were referred to a committee, called the Classification Committee of Railway Bills, who were required to form into groups all bills or projects for railways, professing to be competing lines, or which were intended to traverse the same district of country. The object of this was, that each group of bills should be submitted to the same committee, which consisted of a chairman and four members, each of whom, before they were entitled to attend and vote, had to sign a declaration that his constituents had no local interest, and that he himself had no personal interest for or against any bill or project referred to him (r). In the present session of Parliament, a similar system of grouping bills has been adopted; and it is not therefore desirable to trace out in detail the constitution of the committees on private bills under the existing standing orders, inasmuch as these orders are suspended, so far as they affect railway bills. It is sufficient on this head to refer to the

(6) This committee is nominated at the commencement of every session, and consists of eleven members, five being a quorum : Commons' S. O., No. 3, post, 32. See the names of the Dembers appointed for the session 1847, post, App. They report to the House, whether standing orders not complied with ought to be dispensed with; Ibid, No. 57, post, 41: and it is their duty to construe standing orders rben a special report is made by the examiners of petitions; Ibid., No.58, post, 41. Petitions for leave to dispense with any of the standing orders, or for the re-examination of a petition

for a bill in the examiner's list, are also referred to this committee; Ibid., Nos. 59, 60, post, 42; No. 116, post, 49; and when clauses and amendments are referred to them, they report to the House whether the bill ought to be recommitted. Ibid., Nos. 61, 62, post, 42.

(P) As to the form in which the bill is to be printed, see Commons'S. O., Nos. 117, 118, & 119, post, 49.

(9) As to what is requisite between the first and second readings, see Commons' S.O., Nos. 120, 122, 124, 125, post, 50; No. 147, post, 54.

(r) Frere's Practice, 80.


Proceedings in the resolutions agreed to by the House of Commons in February,

1847(3), wherein the duties of the Classification Committee, the Committee of Selection, and the Committee on a Railway Bill are set forth. It is, however, important to notice the following standing orders, having reference to the proceedings which take place before the committee on the bill.

All petitions against railway bills are uniformly referred by the House to the committee on the group which includes the bill. By the standing orders, all such petitions must be presented to the House three clear days before the day appointed for the first meeting of the committee (t): and the petition must distinctly specify the ground on which the petitioners object to any of the provisions of the bill (u).

Various duties are imposed by the standing orders on the committee to which the bill may be referred. They are required to report the bill to the House (x), and also to report specially upon many points specifically mentioned for their consideration. Thus, if the committee on a railway bill recommend that, in the alteration of the level of roads, steeper ascents than are specified in the standing orders be allowed, or that a railway should be made across a road on the level, they are to report the reasons and facts such opinion is founded. (Commons' S. O., Nos. 97, 98,

upon which

(8) See these Resolutions, post, App., 275.

(1) Commons'S. O., No.79, post, 44. It was decided in the session 1845,- Group G, Mr. Macaulay, chairman,--that the committee had no power to entertain a petition presented later than three days before the first sitting of the committee, although the petition was expressly referred to them by a vote of the House. See Collier on the Consoli. dation Acts, Appendix, p. 50. It seems that the House ought, with re.

ference to this case, to have suspended the standing order, which required the petition to be presented three days before the first meeting of the committee. The committee probably considered, that a mere reference of the petition was insufficient, the standing order being still in force.

(u) Commons' S. O., No. 78, post, 44 ; and see Commons' S. O., No. 121, post, 50; and Resolution No. 25, post, App., 278.

(1) Commons' S.O., No.94, post, 46.

post, 47). And committees on railway bills are required Proceedings in the to report specially:-1. The proposed capital; 2. The shares subscribed for, and deposits paid thereon ; 3. The names, &c., of directors ; 4. The names of shareholders locally interested; 5. The number of other parties; 6. Names of subscribers for £2000 and upwards; 7. Whether the report from the Board of Trade has been referred to the committee; 8. What planes are proposed to be worked by assistant engines; 9. Engineering difficulties; 10. The size and ventilation of tunnels; 11. Whether the gradients and curves are favourable ; 12. The length of the main line, and branches, and description of gauge ; 13. Whether highways are passed on the level; 14. The amount of the estimates; 15. The number of assents, dissents, and neuters; 16. The names of the engineers examined; 17. Allegations of petitions in opposition, the fitness of the projected line, and

other circumstances on which the House should be informed. (Commons' s. 0., No. 99, post, 47).

The committee on the bill have no power to examine into the compliance with such standing orders as are directed to be proved before the examiners of petitions, unless by special order of the House. (Commons' S. 0., No. 84, post, 44). Neither have the committee any power to compel the appearance of witnesses before them, or the production of papers or records. It is usual for the committee to ascertain that such evidence cannot be procured without the interference of the House, and a special report is made, and the House thereupon issues the necessary



On the day appointed for the meeting of the committee, the parties, their counsel, and agents, are called into the cornmittee-room, and the committee clerk reads a list of the petitions which have been presented against the bills of

(y) Frere's Practice, 68.

« EelmineJätka »