Election Petition

March 24th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Elections and Bylaws

On the dissolution of Parliament, a Parliamentary Bye-Election Petition does not abate, with the Court having no jurisdiction with regard to costs. Rather, it can be withdrawn, with the leave of the Court, upon the petitioner paying the respondent’s costs. So held in GREENE v FORBES (2020) EWHC 676 (QB).


Election Expenses

February 28th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Elections and Bylaws

The primary purpose of the Police and Crime Commissioner Elections (Amendment) Order2020, S.I. 2020/190, is to provide that “election expenses” are not to count towards a candidate’s spending limit to the extent that they are reasonably incurred and reasonably attributable to a candidate’s disability.


Welsh Electoral Reform

February 4th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Elections and Bylaws

The Welsh Minister for Housing and Local Government has announced on 3 February 2020 an “ Electoral Reform Support Grant “ to be made available to all Welsh local authority Electoral Services teams. This is to support their work in implementing both recent and forthcoming electoral reform in Wales. It is in order to assist these teams with the pressures associated with the extension of the franchise, canvass reform and other Welsh electoral reform. It is in particular to support local authorities with registering newly enfranchised individuals. The extensions include by lowering the voting age to 16 and extending the franchise to qualifying foreign citizens.


Expenses Incurred

September 19th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Elections and Bylaws

In R (Good Law Project) v Electoral Commission (2019) EWCA Civ 1567 the Court of Appeal was concerned with the interpretation of the phrase “expenses incurred”, which is to be found throughout election legislation, and dates from the middle of the nineteenth century. The Court observed, at paragraph 82, that it did not appear to have caused any great difficulty in practice.  The Court referred, at paragraph 83, to the Cockermouth Division case (1901) 5 O’M v H 155, and said:-

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Election Timetable

April 4th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Elections and Bylaws

MHCLG has updated its “Election timetable in England”, setting out how often different types of local authority in England hold elections for their councillors, subject to boundary changes, and its Guidance on “Local government structure and elections”, providing information on the different types of council in England and their electoral arrangements.



Voter ID pilots for local elections

March 21st, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Elections and Bylaws

R (Coughlan) v Minister for the Cabinet Office, Braintree District Council Interested Party (2019) EWHC 641 (Admin) concerns a decision to introduce pilot schemes to require voters to present either one form of photo ID or up to two forms of non-photo ID. Whether the decision was lawful turns on the proper interpretation of Section 10 in Part II of the Representation of the People Act 2000 (“the 2000 Act”). This empowers Orders in respect of approved pilot schemes for voting in local government elections. In essence, the central question is whether the voter ID pilots are schemes within the meaning and scope of Section 10(2)(a), that is whether they are schemes for testing “how voting … is to take place”.  Supperstone J rejected the challenge. He was satisfied (paragraph 75) that the Section 10(1) power was intended to allow proposed changes to local government electoral procedures from time to time existing to be tested.  He continued that he agreed with the following points:-

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Elected Representatives

March 12th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Elections and Bylaws

Currently all controllers for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 2018 (“DPA 2018”) are required to provide certain information to the Information Commissioner’s Office (“the ICO”) and pay a charge, unless a relevant exemption applies. There are a number of exemptions from paying the charges for certain types of data controller and processing. The exemptions are intended to form part of a fair and flexible framework of paying charges to the ICO, and provide for scenarios where payment of a charge would not be appropriate, for example because payment of the charge would give rise to significant negative impact. Read more »



February 27th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Elections and Bylaws

The Combined Authorities (Mayoral Elections) (Amendment) Order 2019, S.I. 2019/350, and The Local Authorities (Mayoral Elections) (England and Wales) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2019, S.I. 2019/351, amend the rules that apply to Combined Authority Mayoral Elections and Local Authority Mayoral Elections. The rules are amended to remove the requirement that each candidate’s home address must be published during the election process and be included on the ballot paper. The instruments also remove the requirement for each candidate’s qualifying address to be published during that process. A candidate’s qualifying address is the address that qualifies the candidate to stand for election. Read more »


Illegal Election Practice

December 18th, 2018 by James Goudie QC in Elections and Bylaws

In the Matter of the Representation of the People Act 1983 (“the RPA”) and in the Matter of a Local Government Election in the Boulton Ward of the City of Derby, Banwait v Bettany (2018) EWHC 3263 (QB) was an Election Petition brought by Mr Banwait.

He was the unsuccessful Labour candidate in the local Election. Mr Banwait polled 1,128 votes in the Election, some 474 votes fewer than the successful candidate representing UKIP, Mr Bettany. He was the respondent to the Petition. By his Petition Mr Banwait challenged the Election and sought an order that Mr Bettany was not duly elected and that the Election was void, and would have to be re-run. Read more »


Authorisation and declaration of election expenses

July 25th, 2018 by James Goudie QC in Elections and Bylaws

R v Mackinlay (2018) UKSC 42 is a pre-trial appeal concerning a point of pure statutory construction. The Respondents face charges of knowingly making false declarations in relation to election expenses, or aiding and abetting or encouraging or assisting such offences. The parties asked the judge to determine the point on a preparatory hearing.

The question of law certified by the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) as a point of law of general public importance is as follows:

“Do property, goods, services or facilities transferred to or provided for the use or benefit of a candidate free of charge or at a discount (as identified in section 90C(1)(a) of the Representation of the People Act 1983 (as amended)) only fall to be declared as election expenses if they have been authorised by the candidate, his election agent or someone authorised by either or both of them?” Read more »