The claimants sought to issue election petitions to challenge the results of local elections. The petitioners had complied with all the rules save that they had failed to serve the notice of presentation within the five day period. The claimants argued that the Civil Procedure Rules took sway over the Election Rules, and that the before the court had a discretion to waive the time limit.
Held: The Rule was expressed particularly strongly, and it was not possible to construe it in such a way as to allow a discretion. Timeous compliance was at its heart. The statute had to be looked at on its true construction to see whether any discretion existed.
The Court considered time limits for service of documents dealing with the provision of security for costs. It was submitted that Part III of the 1983 Act and the Rules made under it together comprised a discrete and purpose-built statutory scheme with the result that there was no power to extend time notwithstanding the general discretion in the Civil Procedure Rules not least because Rule 19(1) of the Election Petition Rules 1960 provided that time in relation to this provision ‘shall not be enlarged by order or otherwise’ although the rule goes on to provide that ‘save as aforesaid rules 2.8 to 2.11 of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 shall apply to any period of time prescribed by these Rules’.
Held: The Court accepted the submission. Simon Brown LJ explained, ‘where the legislation intends to provide for the softening of any mandatory requirement it expressly says so’. He continued: ‘. . the legislation dictates the following hierarchy of provisions: first, Part III of the Act and the Rules made under section 182(1); next the CPR; finally, any residual ‘practice, principle or rule’ of the House of Commons (likely to concern matters such as agency and scrutiny).’
Simon Brown, May, Clarke LJJ
Times 20-Jan-2003,  EWCA Civ 1793,  LGR 161,  1 WLR 1820,  2 All ER 440
Representation of the People Act 1983 163(1), Election Petition Rules 1960 (1960 No 543) 6(1) 19(1)
England and Wales
Doubted – The Shrewsbury Petition: Young v Figgins 1869
The petitioners had properly complied with the section so far as service on the successful candidate went; they had not, however, served the returning officer who was a deemed respondent. Counsel for the successful candidate applied inter alia on . .
Cited – Williams v Mayor of Tenby CCP 1879
The defendant had not given appropriate notices under the act and complained that his petition had been struck out: ‘It is said that there would be hardship supposing money deposited, if mere omission of notices should prevent a petition. I see no . .
Cited – Devan Nair v Yong Kuan Teik PC 1967
(Malaysia) The Malaysian election rules provide in certain circumstances for service by a notice published in the Gazette but such notice was in the event out of time.
Held: The respondent’s appeal should be allowed and the petition struck . .
Cited – Absalom v Gillett QBD 1995
An application was made under rule 13 to strike out a local government election petition for non-compliance with s.136(3) and rule 6: the petitioners there had served the notice on the returning officer but had not served the successful candidates. . .
Cited – Regina v Secretary of State for the Home Department Ex Parte Jeyeanthan; Ravichandran v Secretary of State for the Home Department CA 21-May-1999
The applicant had failed to comply with the Rules in not using the form prescribed for appliying for leave to appeal against a special adjudicator’s decision to the Immigration Appeal Tribunal. The application, by letter, included all the relevant . .
Cited – Gough v Local Sunday Newspapers (North) Ltd and Another CA 12-Mar-2003
The appellant claimed he had been libelled, when he was called incompetent by the respondent in the way he dealt with finding an uncounted bundle of votes after an election. He appealed a finding of justification. The finding was based upon an . .
Cited – The Conservative and Unionist Party v The Election Commissioner and Others Admn 19-Feb-2010
A local election result had been set aside for fraud in the winning Conservative candidate. The Commissioner made an order for costs against his party which was now challenged for lack of jurisdiction the Commissioner being functus officio, and the . .
Cited – The Conservative and Unionist Party v The Election Commissioner CA 23-Nov-2010
A losing candidate at a local election alleged corrupt and illegal practices relating to the entry of non-existent people on the electoral roll and using postal votes. The Election Commissioner found this proved and the election void, and awarded . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Elections, Civil Procedure Rules
Updated: 11 December 2021; Ref: scu.178779