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election was void ; and they certify the same in writing to the speaker. The determination of the judges is final to all intents and purposes ; and on receiving the judges' certificate, the house itself gives directions as to confirming or altering the return, or issuing a writ for a new election, as circumstances may require (9). But if it appears to the judges trying an election petition that any questions of law, as to the admissibility of evidence or otherwise, require further consideration by the court in banc, it is lawful for them to postpone the grant of their certificate until the court has determined such questions (r). Also, where any charge is made, in the petition, of any corrupt or illegal practice, the judges are required to certify as to the same, or to make any special report such as the occasion may require (3) ; in the latter- case, the house of commons may make such order in respect of any such special report as they shall think proper (t). And, on a report by the judges that any corrupt or illegal practice has been committed, either by a candidate personally, or through an agent with his knowledge and consent, or by any other person, the guilty party is subject to such incapacities penalties and disqualifications as have been already mentioned (u). And where it is represented to his Majesty, by a joint address of both houses of parliament, that there is reason to believe, or that an election court has reported to the speaker, that corrupt or illegal practices have extensively prevailed in any county, borough, or other place sending a member or members to parliament, his Majesty may appoint commissioners to make inquiry into these alleged practices ; and it has been the practice of the legislature, where the report of such commissioners has been unfavourable, to deprive such place, either permanently or for a time, of its right to send members to parliament (r).
(1) Parliamentary Elections Act, 1868, s. 13.
(r) Ibid., s. 12.
(*) Ibid. s. 11 (14). With regard to the witnesses at the trial of the petition, it may be noticed that under this Act they are entitled not only to their reasonable expenses, but also to an indemnity (s. 34). And see Corrupt and Illegal Practices Prevention Act, 1883, s. 59.
(0) Parliamentary Elections Act, 1868, s. 14.
(11) l'ide supra, p. 411. By 34 & 35 Vict. (1871), c. 77, several persons having been reported to the House as having been guilty of bribery at an election for a certain borough, such persons were by name severally prohibited from voting at any time at any parliamentary election for such borough.
It may be noticed, as a matter of considerable historical interest, that between 1604 and 1868 disputed election returns were decided in the house of commons itself, either before a committee of the whole house, or before a select committee (y). The course adopted by the Act of 1868 was in effect a return to a practice originally adopted in 1410 (2).
When a member is once duly elected, and has been duly sworn, or has duly affirmed (a), he is compellable to discharge the duties of the public trust thus conferred upon him, and is bound to be present at every call of the house, unless he can show a sufficient excuse for his nonattendance ; but as there has been no call of the house since 1836, it may be considered that this method of enforcing attendance is now obsolete. Apparently, however, non-attendance may be treated as a contempt and punished accordingly (6). Nor is a member entitled by law to resign his seat ; but it has long been usual for the Crown to bestow on any member wishing to vacate his seat the stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds, or of one of the
(x) This course has been taken penses of such inquiries, see with regard to several boroughs. Corrupt Practices Commission As to the practice pursued at such Expenses Act, 1869, continued inquiries, see Fitzgerald's Case by successive Expiring Laws (1869), L. R. 5 Q. B. 1; ib. Continuance Acts. 5 Exch. 21 ; and as to certificates (y) Grenville's Act, 1770; 4 & of indemnity given to witnesses 5 Vict. (1841), c 8 (Sir R. Peel's by such commissioners, see the Act); 11 & 12 Vict. (1848), c. 98. Corrupt and Illegal Practices Pre. (z) 11 Hen. 4, c. 1 (3). See vention Act, 1883, S. 59; R. further, Anson, Law and Custom, v. Hulme (1870), L. R. 5 Q. B. vol. i. p. 163. 377; R. v. Price (1871), L. R. (a) Vide sup. p. 37). 6 Q. B. 411 ; and as to the ex- (6) Hansard, clvi pp. 1931,2213.
royal manors of East Hendred, Northstead, or Hempholme, the appointment to which offices, though merely nominal, is, through the operation of the Succession to the Crown Act (1707), sufficient for that purpose.
This practice is believed to have begun not earlier than about the year 1740, and as regards the Chiltern Hundreds not till 1751. It has been suggested (c) that it would be difficult, from the form of appointment to the Chiltern Hundreds, to show that it is an office (d); but the form of appointment to the Manor of Northstead clearly alludes to the stewardship as an office (e).
This summary of the law of parliamentary elections concludes our inquiries into the laws and customs more peculiarly relating to the house of commons.
VI. [We proceed now to consider the method of making laws; and this is much the same in both houses. But first it must be premised, that, for dispatch of business, each house of parliament has its speaker. The speaker of the house of lords—whose office it is to preside there, and to manage the formalities of business--is, by prescription, the lord chancellor, or keeper of the great seal, or any other appointed by royal commission ; and he need not necessarily be a peer. If none be so appointed, the house of lords may, it is said, elect. The speaker of the house of commons is one of its members chosen by the house (f); but he must be approved by the Crown (9). And herein the (c) 2 Hatsell,' 41.
1834. As to the deputy speaker, (d) See May, Law of Parl. (10th see Deputy Speaker Act, 1855. ed.), p. 606. An Irish member () Sir Edward Coke, upon being accepts, in order to effect the elected speaker in 1592, in his same object, the nominal office of address to the throne, declared, “ Escheator of Munster.”
“ this is only as yet a nomination, (e) Anson, Law and Custom, “and no election, until your vol. i. p. 92.
“ majesty giveth allowance and ($) Com. Dig. Parl. E. 5. As “approbation.” (2 Hats. 164.) to his salary, &c., see 30 Geo. 3, But the House of Commons at c. 10 (1790); the House of Com- present, says Mr. Christian (1 mons (Speaker) Act, 1832; the Bl. Com. p. 181), would scarce House of Commons (Officers) Act, admit their speaker to hold such
[usage of the two houses differs, that the speaker of the house of commons cannot give his opinion or argue any question in the house (h) ; but the speaker of the house of lords, if a lord of parliament, may do so. In each house, the act of the majority binds the minority ; and this majority is declared by votes, openly and publicly given, not privately or by ballot, which latter method may be serviceable to prevent intrigues and unconstitutional combinations, but cannot be practised, at least in the house of commons, where every member's conduct is subject to the future censure of his constituents.] In the house of commons, the speaker never votes, except when the votes of the house are otherwise equal, in which latter case, he has a casting vote (i); but the speaker of the house of lords has his vote counted with the rest of the house, and in the case of an equality of votes there, the negative opinion prevails (j).
[To introduce a bill in either house, if the relief sought by it is of a private nature, it is first necessary to prefer a petition, which petition must be presented by a member, and usually sets forth the grievance desired to be remedied. The petition, when founded on facts that may be in their nature disputed, is referred to a committee of members, who examine the matter alleged, and report it to the house; and then, or otherwise, upon the mere petition, leave is given to bring in the bill (k). In the House of Lords, if the bill begin there, and it is of a private nature, it used to be referred to two of the judges, to examine and report the state of facts alleged, to see that all necessary parties consent, and to settle all points of technical propriety ;] but this duty is now discharged by means of certain officers called examiners, appointed by
(h) But when the house resolves itself into a committee, the case is otherwise. Vide post, p. 420.
(i) May, Law of Parl. 10th ed.
(j) 33 Lords' J. 519; 14 Lords' J. 167, 168.
(k) Com, Dig. Parl. G. 11; Witnesses on Petitions Act, 1801.
the house itself (1). In public matters, a bill originating in the commons is brought in upon motion made to the house to obtain leave for that purpose ; and then no petition is required. But there are many “ standing orders ” relative to the introduction of bills, and more especially of private bills, which are of too minute a nature to be detailed in this place (m).
[Formerly all bills were drawn in the form of petitions to the Crown (n), which were entered upon the parliament rolls, with the king's answer thereunto subjoined, not in any settled form of words, but as the circumstances of the case required (0). Then, at the end of each parliament,
(l) In the House of Commons, the examiners of private bills are appointed by the speaker.
(m) See Parliamentary Documents Deposit Act, 1837, as to the deposit of plans and documents in the case of private bills; Preliminary Inquiries Act, 1851, as to the preliminary inquiries to be made on all applications for local Acts affecting navigation; House of Commons Costs Taxation Acts, 1847 and 1879, House of Lords Cost Taxation Act, 1849, Parliamentary Costs Act, 1865, and Parliamentary Costs Act, 1871, as to costs on private bills; and Parliamentary Witnesses Oaths Act, 1871, as to the power of committees of the house to administer oaths to witnesses
(n) The commons, for nearly two centuries, continued the style of very humble petitioners. Their petitions frequently began with “ Your poor commons beg and “ pray," and concluded with “for “ God's sake, and as an act of “ charity”;"Vos poveres como munes prient et supplient, pur
Dieu et en reuvre de charité.”
(0) See, among numberless other instances, the Articuli Cleri, 9 Edw. 2. As to the antient form