Rex v Graham-Campbell, Ex parte Herbert: 1935

Mr A P Herbert had laid two informations at Bow Street Police Station for summonses against fifteen named Members of Parliament, who were members of the Kitchen Committee of the House of Commons and the manager of the Refreshment Department of the House, alleging the unlawful sale of alcohol without a licence contrary to the 1910 Act. The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate declined to exercise jurisdiction, holding that the Members of Parliament were not susceptible to the jurisdiction of the court because they were protected by the privileges of the House. Mr Herbert sought an order of mandamus. The Attorney General argued in reply:- ‘The House sits for long periods and arrangements have to be made for heating the House when the weather is cold and the provision of refreshment for the mind in the library and refreshment for the body in suitable places. The regulation of those matters is clearly within the area of the internal affairs of the House and connected with the affairs of House.’
Held: The request was rejected. Lord Hewart CJ accepted the AG’s argument and upheld the magistrate’s decision and the reasoning of the magistrate. Only as an afterthought did he express the view that the majority of the provisions of the 1910 Act were inapplicable to the House of Commons. Avory and Swift JJ agreed, albeit that Avory J devoted most of his judgment to the question of whether the Act on its true construction applied to the House of Commons.
Lord Hewart said: ‘the magistrate was entitled to say, on the materials before him, that in the matters complained of the House of Commons was acting collectively in a matter which fell within the area of the internal affairs of the House, and, that being so, any tribunal might well feel, on the authorities, an invincible reluctance to interfere.’


Lord Hewart CJ, Avory, Swift JJ


[1935] 1 KB 594


Licensing (Consolidation) Act 1910


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedChaytor and Others, Regina v SC 1-Dec-2010
The defendants faced trial on charges of false accounting in connection in different ways with their expenses claims whilst serving as members of the House of Commons. They appealed against rejection of their assertion that the court had no . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Constitutional, Licensing

Updated: 18 May 2022; Ref: scu.427749