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The possi

personally or his election agent. Therefore, if any one of bility of relief. the illegal practices mentioned in this chapter is committed Under Section by any of the candidate's agents (except his election agent), 22.

relief against the forfeiture of the seat may be given under Section 22.

But the next section-viz., the 23rd—would seem to carry the possibility of relief still further, and even to extend it to cases where the illegal practice has been committed by the candidate himself or his election agent. This section is in

the following terms :Under Section “Where, on application made, it is shown to the High 23,

Court or to an election court, by such evidence as seems to
the court sufficient:
(a) That any act or omission of a candidate at any

election, or of his election agent, or of any other
agent or person, would, by reason of being a pay-
ment, engagement, employment or contract in con-
travention of this Act, or being the payment of a sum
or the incurring of expense in excess of any maximum

amount allowed by this Act, or of otherwise being in Provisions of

contravention of any of the provisions of this Act Section 23.

be, but for this section, an illegal practice, payment,

employment, or hiring ; and (6) That such act or omission arose from inadvertence or

from accidental miscalculation, or from some other reasonable cause of a like nature, and in any case

did not arise from any want of good faith ; and (c) That such notice of the application has been given

in the county or borough for which the election

was held as to the Court seems fit: and under the circumstances it seems to the Court to be just that the candidate or such election or other agent or person, or any of them, should not be subject to any of the consequences under this Act of the said act or omission, the Court may make an order allowing such act or omission to be an exception from the provisions of this Act, which would otherwise make the same an illegal practice, payment, employment or hiring, and thereupon such candidate, agent,

or person shall not be subject to any of the consequences under this Act of the said act or omission.”

When, in Chapter IV., we treat of illegal practices generally, the majority of the offences pointed at by the above section will appear; but the words “contract in contravention of this Act" seem clearly to cover the three classes of acts mentioned in Section 7, and the general words of the section are sufficient to cover the offences struck at in Section 28. If this be so, the result is that No case of an there is no case of an illegal practice (as distinguished from illegal praca corrupt practice), where the unlawful act of a candidate's election necesagent, whether the election agent or any other agent, neces

sarily avoided. sarily means the forfeiture of the seat. For an illegal practice committed by the election agent there is the possibility of relief und er Section 23, if it is shown on application to the High Court or the Election Court that the act or omission arose from inadvertence, or from accidental miscalculation, or from other reasonable cause of a like nature, and not from any want of good faith.” On the other hand, for an illegal practice committed by an agent (other than the election agent), there would seem to be the possibility of relief both under Section 22 and under Section 23.

In the case of an application for relief made to the High Court under the latter section, the applicant is not, in so many words, required affirmatively to prove the facts which are conditions precedent to relief under the former section, but it is entirely in the discretion of the Court whether it makes an order under Section 23 or not, and it is probable that it would not do so unless the applicant satisfied it that—(a), the Terms on

which relief offences committed were of “a trivial, unimportant, and

under Section limited character;" (6), that the candidate and his election 22 will be

granted. agent took all reasonable means for preventing the commission of corrupt and illegal practices; and (c), that in all other respects the election was free from any corrupt or illegal practice on the part of such candidate and of his agents.




Candidate It has been the law from the earliest times that no matter always liable for act of his how well a member may have conducted his election, no agent, matter how clear his character from any imputation of

corrupt practice, yet, if any agent of his has been guilty of a corrupt act, the election cannot be upheld. “The amount of the injury.done by the agent is immaterial. If an agent bribes one voter with 2s. 6d., and the voter taking the 2s. 6d. with the purpose, expressed or implied, of voting accordingly, should break his promise and vote for the other side, still the election is void.” (Per Willes, J., in the Blackburn Case, 1 O’M. & H., 202 ; 20 L.T., n.s., 826.) In these circumstances, the question, what constitutes a person a candidate's agent within the meaning of this rule, is obviously one of

the greatest importance. It is, moreover, one of great Impossible to delicacy and dificulty. Learned judges have again and give precise again stated that it is impossible to give a precise and exagent.

haustive definition of agency which may be safely applied to the infinite variety of cases which arise; and the legis. lature itself has designedly refused to attempt anything in the nature of a definition, on the ground, no doubt, that if a hard-and-fast rule were laid down the ingenuity of electioneerers would soon evade it, and so the laws against corrup

tion be made of no effect. Parliament, it is true, has Responsibility in the recent Act defined accurately enough one class of the not limited to candidate's agents and made him liable to the very

fullest acts of election agent.

extent for their acts; but it cannot be too clearly stated, that while a candidate is responsible for the acts of the agents created by and mentioned in the Act of 1883, his liability is not limited to a responsibility for their acts, and he is still liable for the misconduct of a large number of other persons whom the law in certain circumstances will regard as his agents.

It will probably be more convenient when, in a later chapter, we proceed to deal in detail with the functions of the election agent, there to set out the full text of the sections creating his office. It is sufficient to say here, that by the 24th and 25th Sections of the Act of 1883 a candidate is empowered, though not compelled, to appoint, for the purposes of the election, one election agent in each borough constituency, The election and, in the case of counties, in addition to the election agent,

agent. one sub-agent for each polling district. The name and address of the election agent must be declared in writing by the candidate on or before the nomination day, and it is the duty of the returning officer forthwith to give public notice of it. Where sub-agents may be appointed, the election agent Sub-agents. is required, one clear day before the polling day, to declare in writing their names and addresses ; and there is this most important provision as to the extent to which sub-agents bind the candidate in their own districts, which it is essential to remember in the present connection : "As regards matters in a polling district, the election agent may act by the subagent for that district, and anything done for the purposes of this Act by or to the sub-agent shall be deemed to be Extent of done by or to the election agent, and any act or default of a

their autho

rity in their sub-agent which, if he were the election agent, would be an own district. illegal practice, or other offence against the Act, shall be an illegal practice and offence against this Act committed by the sub-agent, and the sub-agent shall be liable to punishment accordingly; and the candidate shall suffer the like incapacity as if the said act or default had been the act or default of the election agent.” The full significance of this section will be realised when we come to deal with those illegal practices which avoid the election when committed by the candidate or his election agent, because it is presumed that the effect of the above words is to make every sub-agent, while acting within his own district, an election agent within the meaning of the sections then to be discussed.

The first schedule of the new Act (Part I.) provides that except the election agent, and in the case of counties the subagents, and a strictly limited number of polling agents, clerks

But if ap



and messengers, no other persons shall be employed in connec

tion with any election for payment. It is not, however, the deAny number sign of the Act to prohibit the employdient of voluntary agents of voluntary agents may

to take a part in the conduct of the election ; and in that respect be appointed. the law is entirely unaltered. But if a candidate or his autho

rised agents do appoint persons to take a part in the management of the election and depute authority to them, they make those persons, while performing the particular class of duties entrusted to them, the candidate's agents within the meaning of the rule that a corrupt practice by a candidate or any one

of his agents defeats the election. The fact that the agents pointed,

are not paid makes no difference whatever, for it has long liable for their been settled that a candidate is as much bound by the acts of

his agents who give their services for nothing as by the acts of those who are paid. (Bewdley Case, 1 O'M. & H., 17; 19 L.T., n.s., 677.) The only question is, Have they, in fact, received authority from the candidate or some undoubted

agent of his to do acts of a certain class for the furtherance Candidate of his elections? If they have, then the candidate is liable for liable for act

any corrupt or illegal act which they may be led into commitagents. ting while engaged in performing the particular duties assigned

to them. Thus, in the common case of an organised canvass in a constituency where a number of persons are selected by the candidate, or, as happens much more frequently, by his principal agents, to canvass each district, there can be no doubt that all those persons are, by express appointment, the candidate's agents while engaged in canvassing the particu

lar districts allotted to them (the Dublin Case, 1 O'M, & Authority to H., 272), for "authority to canvass constitutes a person an stitutes agent while he is canvassing, and authority for the general agency.

management of the election involves authority to canvass.'
(Per Willes, J., in the Windsor Case, 19 L.T., n.s., 613;
1 O'M. & H., 2; also the Norwich Case, 19 L.T., n.s., 617.)

In this connection, however, an important limitation of responsibility must be borne in mind. An agent appointed with express powers can only bind the candidate within the scope of his authority-i.e., while he is actually performing (though in an improper and unlawful way) the particular

of all his

canvass con

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