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C. A. V. CONYBEARE, Esq., M.P., o

Of Gray's Inn, Barrister-at-Law,
Joint Author of CoNYBEARE & ANDREW'S “Married Women's Property Acts.







OCT 21 1916


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In the preparation of the following work, the Author has endeavoured throughout to keep in view two main objects: the first, to omit nothing which might be useful in making clear, to the lay as well as the professional reader, the Law relating to Parliamentary Elections as it now stands; the second, to set out all the details of the subject with such fullness, as to avoid, as much as possible, the necessity of constant reference from one part of the work to the other. This method has, indeed, necessitated a certain amount of repetition, but that is, on the whole, a less evil than the loss of time and, it may be added, of temper too, which is the frequent result of having to double backwards and forwards through the pages of a book in search of a particular detail. ' The idea, which has constantly been present to the Author's mind, is the image of a busy practitioner, candidate, or election agent, who, wishing to ascertain the law on a particular point, opens the volume at the section in question and is at once enabled, without any unavoidable delay, to satisfy himself as to the object of his search. In furtherance of this aim, the Author has been careful to omit from his pages whatever seemed to be, in consequence of the changes in the law, of merely historical interest, his desire being to offer to the public a complete and accurate statement of the law as it now stands.

The difficulty of the task thus attempted is not incuilsiderable, and is due, in no small degree, to the somewhat

piecemeal method of legislation which finds favour with Englishmen. Sweeping as are the changes introduced by the New Act, the law upon the whole subject has to be gathered as well from the “Common Law of Parliament” and judicial decisions, as from a variety of statutes, ranging in date from the early years of this century down to the present time, few of which have not at one time or another undergone the process of partial repeal.* Where, when, and to what extent, such repeal has been effected, is often a question of no slight intricacy, as a glance at the fifth schedule, coinprising only the enactments now repealed, will suffice to show. And the labour of collecting and piecing together in something like logical order the disjecta membra which remain, frequently demands scarcely less ingenuity than the putting together of a puzzle. Generally, it may be said, a modern Act of Parliament resembles rather the rough marble form which the sculptor has yet to work into a perfect figure, than the finished. statue which is already perfectus ad unguem. In the present Act, however, there is little to complain of either as to the completeness of its provisions or the skilful manner in which they have been elaborated.

The Author, having accomplished the whole of his task without any assistance, is fully conscious that it may be, and probably is, marked by errors which its careful revision by another eye would more readily have detected. But so far as thorough and careful attention to every

* As a fair sample of partial repeal may be cited the 26 & 27 Vic. c. 29, of which "the whole Act except s. 6” is repealed (p. 323); and s. 6 itself needs alteration to bring it into harmony with the new Act (p. 270).

† Sometimes the repeal of a few lines of a particular section of an Act is found embedded in a Statute Law Revision Act, as was the case with two sections of the P. E. Act, 1868 (see pp. 364-5), which fact seems to have eluded hitherto the attention of the most careful editors,

detail could avail, he trusts to have secured himself against blemishes of a serious nature. The fact, however, of being single-handed, along with other circumstances, has delayed the publication of his work, which was commenced in the year 1882, longer than he could have wished. On the other hand, this enforced postponement in its appearance has given the Author the advantage of perusing, during the course of his work, the various other editions of the Act which have already been issued. And he has pleasure in acknowledging the assistance he has derived from those prepared by Mr. Hobhouse and by Messrs. Mattinson & Macaskie, not only in his attention being drawn to matters of detail which might otherwise have escaped him, but also in that they enabled him to guard against errors, which he might easily have fallen into.


January, 1884.

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