Shortly before polling day in a local government election Liberal Democrat supporters printed and distributed in key wards a leaflet that made assertions about Labour policy. It was distributed in such a way as not to alert voters as to its true source, namely the Liberal Democrats. The losing Labour candidate issued a petition challenging the election in which the Liberal Democrat candidate was elected. The petition was defended not least on the basis that the statements of fact in the leaflet were not false and so did not constitute a fraudulent device under section 115. The court held that, since the leaflet had been designed to give the appearance of being a Labour Party publication with the intention of deceiving those persons to whom it was directed and had lied about its genesis, it was a fraudulent device notwithstanding that its contents were true.
An allegation of ‘undue influence’ in an election required proof of both a fraudulent device and some real influence. The court was satisfied that it would not be desirable to have a different standard of proof in different courts on the same issue. The standard of proof, is that a person accused of corrupt practice should only be held to have committed it if the allegation is proved beyond reasonable doubt.
Gazette 27-May-1992,  1 WLR 1059
Representation of the People Act 1983 115
England and Wales
Cited – Aehmed v Afzal and Another QBD 2-Apr-2008
The claimant candidate in a local government election challenged the election of his opponent as void since was alleged to have conducted a smear campaign.
Held: It was not for the defendant to have to prove the truth of what he said in a . .
Cited – Watkins v Woolas QBD 5-Nov-2010
The petitioner said that in the course of the election campaign, the respondent Labour candidate had used illegal practices in the form of deliberately misleading and racially inflammatory material.
Held: The claim succeeded, and the election . .
Cited – Erlam and Others v Rahman and Another QBD 23-Apr-2015
The petitioners had alleged that the respondent, in his or his agent’s conduct of his campaign to be elected Mayor for Tower Hamlets in London in May 2014, had engaged in corrupt and illegal practices.
Held: The election was set aside for . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 10 December 2021; Ref: scu.87653