Voter ID pilots for local elections

March 21st, 2019 by James Goudie KC 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 KC 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 KC 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 KC 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 KC 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 »


Election candidates home address

June 7th, 2018 by James Goudie KC in Elections and Bylaws

The mayoral election procedure in R (Jarvis) v SoS for CLG (2018) EWHC 1259 (Admin) was governed by the Combined Authorities (Mayoral Elections) Order 2017.  The Order (“the 2017 Order”) includes a requirement for candidates to give their home address in full in their nomination papers in circumstances where that address is subsequently published (“the requirement”).  Mr Jarvis did not wish to publish his address.  He has been the subject of death threats.  He considered that publication would endanger his life, or that of members of his family.  He sought judicial review of the requirement and of the Returning Officer’s decision that Mr Jarvis had to abide by the requirement. Read more »


Local Government Election Court

June 23rd, 2017 by James Goudie KC in Elections and Bylaws, Social Care

In R (Rahman) v Local Government Election Court (2017) EWHC 1413 (Admin) a Divisional Court (Lloyd Jones LJ and Supperstone J) refused the Applicant’s application to amend the grounds of his application for judicial review of a decision of the Local Government Election Court which found the Applicant personally guilty and guilty by his agents of a number of electoral offences under the Representation of the People Act 1983 (“the 1983 Act”). The findings of the Election Court had the effect of automatically disqualifying the Applicant from holding elected office until 23 April 2020. Read more »


Bylaw Validity

January 31st, 2017 by James Goudie KC in Elections and Bylaws

The issue in the unsuccessful appeal by way of case stated in Akerman v Richmond LBC (2017) EWHC 84 (Admin) was as to the validity of bylaws made by the Council under Section 235 of the Local Government Act 1972 making it a criminal offence to moor a boat against specified land for longer than a maximum period specified.  The appellant contended that the bylaw is unlawful at common law because it was made for an improper purpose and was irrational. It was submitted on his behalf that the material generated by the consultation process showed that the basis for making the bylaw was anti-social behaviour but the bylaw did not address such behaviour and was such an excessive response to the evidence of that behaviour that it was ultra vires at common law. It was also submitted that making the bylaw was a disproportionate infringement of his rights under Article 8 of the ECHR.
The questions the district judge stated for the Divisional Court were:- Read more »


Election Petition

January 30th, 2017 by James Goudie KC in Elections and Bylaws

The Court hearing an Election Petition should not hypothesize as to how people might vote. A psychological approach is not appropriate. The foregoing was reaffirmed in Richards v Devenish (2017) EWHC 37 (QB).


Revocation of bylaws

October 24th, 2016 by James Goudie KC in Elections and Bylaws

DCLG have issued Model Revocation Byelaws and Guidance thereon.