Director of Public Prosecutions v Luft: HL 26 May 1976

The defendants were campaigning against the National Front in an election. They were separately said to have distributed leaflets infringing the 1949 Act, in that the expenses were not authorised, and the leaflets did not have the name of the printer. One magistrate held that the offence was committed only if there was an intention to support one candidate, and the other had been convicted. The divisional court certified a case to the House.
Held: ‘where there are more than two candidates for a constituency, to persuade electors not to vole for one of those candidates in order to prevent his being elected must have the effect of improving the collective prospect of success of the other candidates though it may be uncertain which one of them will benefit most. So in anyone sophisticated enough politically to want to intermeddle in a parliamentary election at all, an intention to prevent the election of one candidate will involve also an intention to improve the chances of success of the remaining candidate if there is only one, or of one or other of the remaining candidates if there are more than one, although the person so intending may be indifferent as to which of them will be successful.’


Lord Diplock, Lord Salmon, Lord Edmund-Davies, Lord Fraser of Tullybelton, Lord Russell of Killowen


[1976] UKHL 4, [1977] AC 962, [1976] 2 All ER 569, [1976] 3 WLR 32




Representation of the People Act 1949 63


England and Wales


CitedRegina v Hailwood and Ackroyd Ltd CCA 1928
During a parliamentary by-election in which there were three candidates, Conservative, Liberal and Labour, the accused had in- curred expenses on account of issuing publications which were antagonistic to the Conservative candidate and advised the . .
CitedRegina v Tronoh Mines Ltd 1952
(Central Criminal Court) The defendant, while a general election was pending, published in a national newspaper an advertisement attacking the financial policy of the outgoing Labour government.
Held: The interpretion of laws restricting . .
DistinguishedGrieve v Douglas-Home SCS 23-Dec-1964
(Election Court) . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 09 July 2022; Ref: scu.248616