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CHAP. I. suspended, with a view to its subsequent disfranchisement by Act of Parliament.1

By expul


New writs,

during the

recess :

When the House resorts to the extreme measure of expelling a member, reasonable notice is given of the motion to be made for his expulsion on a day fixed; and, if possible, an order is served upon him to attend in his place on that day. But whether any service is effected or not, and whether he attends or absents himself, the motion may be made when the day arrives.2 Such are the regulations on this head, when how obtained the House is sitting. There are only four cases in which warrants for writs can be issued during the recess namely, on vacancies occurring by death, peerage, the acceptance of office from the On a vacancy crown, or bankruptcy. If the vacancy is due to the first, or second, of the above causes-and if the case fall not within any of the three exceptions about to be noticed-a certificate of the late member's death, or of his summons to the Upper House, is drawn up in the form provided in the Schedule of 24 Geo. III. sess. 2, c. 26,3 and, after having been signed by two members of the Commons, is delivered to the Speaker; who forthwith causes a notice thereof to be inserted in the London Gazette, and issues his warrant for a new writ fourteen days after such insertion. The exceptions are:-1, When the writ by which the deceased, or ennobled, member was elected has not been brought into the office of the Clerk of the Crown fifteen

by death or peerage:


Liverpool, 86 Com. J. 458, 493; Warwick, 88, ib. 611; 89 ib. 9, 579; Carrickfergus, 88 ib. 531, 599; Hertford, 88 ib. 578, 649; Stafford, 90 ib. 262, &c. ; Sudbury, 97 ib. 188, 467, &c.; 7 & 8 Vict. c. 53. For a concise and lucid view of the proceedings in Parliamentary Committees on Election Petitions, see the 22nd chap. of May's Parl. Practice.

Hans. 1187; 16 ib. 561; 184 ib. Feb. 16, 1857. He is re-eligible immediately; 38 Com. J. 977.


APPENDIX, p. xiv.

days, at the least, before the end of the last CHAP. I. sitting; 2, where there is not time for the expiration of the fourteen days above mentioned, and for the issue of a new writ, before the next meeting of the House for the despatch of business; 3, where a petition is pending against the election or return of the late deceased, or ennobled, member. If the case falls within any or either of these exceptions, the warrant cannot be issued for the writ, except on regular motion when the House meets.

ance ofoffice:

When, during the recess, a member accepts By acceptany office which, either by statute or any previous determination of the House, vacates his seat (except the Chiltern Hundreds, or the stewardship or bailiffship of East Hendred, Northstead, or Hempholme, or the escheatorship of Munster), he must forthwith notify such acceptance to the Speaker, either by writing under his hand, or by countersigning a suitable certificate under the hands of two members of the House, to be sent by them to the Speaker, together with a copy of any of the Queen's gazettes in which the appointment appears. Thereupon, if the Speaker considers the appointment to vacate the seat, he must, after giving fourteen days' notice in the London Gazette of his having received such certificate and notification, issue his warrant to the Clerk of the Crown for a new writ. But if the Speaker entertains any doubt, he may, instead of issuing his warrant, reserve the question for the decision of the House.3

The preliminaries to issuing a warrant for a new writ during the recess, on account of a vacancy by bankruptcy, are as follows:-The fact of the member having become bankrupt is certified in the same manner, and under the same

1 Ante, pp.
2, 3.
2 See form; APPENDIX, P. XV.
3 21 & 22 Vic. c. 110.

By bankruptcy.




by mistake.

statute, as when such an event occurs during the sitting of the House; whereupon the Speaker is required to have the circumstance inserted in the London Gazette, and to issue his warrant for a new writ fourteen days after such insertion; provided that there be time before the next meeting of the House for the expiration of the above period, and for the issue of the warrant. Otherwise, no step can be taken till after the recess, when the motion must be made in the regular way.

Such are the preliminaries to the issue of writs, if writ issued both during the sittings of the House, and during the recess. If, through misinformation as to a vacancy having arisen, or from any other cause, a writ has been improperly issued or directed, the House will order the Messenger of the Great Seal to forbear delivering the writ; or else they will direct the Speaker to make out a supersedeas.3

The case of

being dead,


It only remains to be said that the functions the Speaker of the Speaker, to which allusion has been made absent, or of in this chapter, devolve, in the case of his death, his seat being or absence, or of his seat becoming vacant, upon certain members of the House (not more than seven, nor less than three), whom, at the beginning of every Parliament, and within a convenient time after his own accession to office, or upon their number being reduced below the number of three, he appoints for the purpose.* Every such appointment is to be entered in the journals of the House, and published in the London Gazette; and the instrument of appointment is to be preserved by the Clerk of the House, and a duplicate filed in the office of the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery.5

1 Ante, p. 4.

2 Male, p. 23; 14 Com. J. 63, 88.

3 64 Com. J. 48; 81 ib. 223; 86 ib. 134, 182; Votes, Feb. 5, 1851 (Dungarvan).

424 Geo. III. sess. 2, c. 26, s. 5.

5 Ib. s. 8.





The Writ.] When a general election takes place, on a general the writ appoints a day on which Parliament is to meet, specifies the number of representatives to be elected, and concludes by enjoining the officer to whom it is addressed to remit the writ itself to Chancery on the day so appointed; which may be any day not less than thirty-five days after the date of the proclamation for dissolving Parliament.1 A new writ is much to In other the same effect; but it explains, in addition, cases. how the vacancy occurred which is to be supplied; and is further distinguished from the other writ, by naming no period within which the election is to be effected.2 The omission has, however, been supplied by various legislative provisions, which will be noticed in the next chapter.

Writ, how directed.] The person to whom the In Ireland : writ is directed is, in an Irish "county of a city or town, the Sheriff of such county, who is also the Returning Officer.3 In every other Irish constituency, the writ is directed to the Sheriff of the county at large, whether he be the Returning Officer of the particular constituency or not. In an English or Welsh borough, the writ is In England directed to the Returning Officer or his Deputy.5 5 or Wales: In an English or Welsh county,6 and in every

115 & 16 Vic. c. 23. See form, APPENDIX, p. viii. See form, APPENDIX, p. ix.

34 Geo. IV. c. 55, s. 33.

1 Geo. IV. c. 11, s. 5. 17 & 18 Vic. c. 57. 616 & 17 Vic. c. 68, s. 1.

CHAP. II. Scotch constituency,' the writ is directed to the In Scotland. Returning Officer.


Not necessarily the

person who

Clerk of the


sides over the election:

And this seems the proper place for stating the rules which determine who may be Returning Officer 2-a name given to the functionary who executes the formal instrument called the Return, which records the result of the election, and establishes the chosen member's title to his seat.

It results from this definition, that the Returning Officer may, or may not, be the proper transmits the person for transmitting the return to the Clerk return to the of the Crown. Thus the return to the writ for an Irish borough election is transmitted by the Sheriff, who is Returning Officer for the county Nor who pre- only. Nor need he be the person who presides over the election, because, though this is usually the case, it is not so universally. For example, the Sheriff-Substitute in Shetland immediately presides over that portion of the election for the county of Orkney and Shetland which takes place in Shetland; he does so by virtue of a precept delivered to him by the Sheriff of Orkney; but the latter officer exclusively draws up, and executes the return; and is therefore the only Returning Officer for the county. Nor need the Returning Officer be an elector,' though, practically, he usually holds the post by virtue of some other office which implies the Nor only one possession of a vote. Nor need the function be vested in one person only; though, whatever number of individuals may share it, they are technically styled "the Returning Officer." Thus, in the Southampton case, April 3, 1735, the House resolved, "that the Mayor and

Not neces

sarily an elector:


1 2 & 3 Will. IV. c. 65.

2 For definitions of this title see 2 Will. IV. c. 45, s. 79; 6 Vict. c. 18, s. 101; Roe, 437, 439; Heywood B. E. 57. 3 Heywood B. E. 54, 81, 82; Roe, 437, 8b; Male, 74, 83.

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