Monday, 14 January 2008

Electoral Commission not very good shock

OK, in a previous post I questioned the ability of the Electoral Commission to act within the Scottish judicial system.

That sparked a debate, and I am grateful to the resident legal genius for his illumination of the case as follows (my comments in italics):

*throat clearing in Rumpole of Bailey manner*

Paragraph 7.7 of the Commission document "Managing the Scottish Parliamentary and local government elections: guidance for Returning Officers":
"there are a number of non-electoral offences that may also be relevant in the election context. Such examples include:
- making a false statement (Perjury Act 1911)
- forgery and using a false instrument (Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981)"

Section 18 of the Perjury Act 1911 says "This Act shall not extent to Scotland or Ireland
Section 31 of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981 provides that only the counterfeiting provisions apply to Scotland and not the forgery provisions.
See, what you have here is the imperialist attitude of England-based regulatory bodies whose opinion is that the whole world surely must follow the same rules as they do. They give no consideration to the different legal system operating in Scotland. Spycatcher springs to mind.

10 other legal errors made by the Electoral Commission:
1. Same document, para 5.20 and 5.21 - misses the three judges from the Court of Session sitting as the Registration Appeal Court also responsible for hearing appeals from the Sheriff Court in relation to the registration of electors.
2. Same document quotes wrong procedure for Election Petitions.
3. "Placemat" in relation to Scottish Parliament elections says should reject if identity of the voter "could be identified". Test under the rules is "can be identified"
4. Similarly with the "Placemat" for Local Government elections.
5. Booklet for Adjudication of Doubtful ballots also gets this wrong.
6. Guidance for Scottish Parliament elections: candidates and agents wrongly refers to the (English) Elections Petitions Rules rather than the Rules of the Court of Session
7. Local Government elections guidance wrongly refers to the (English) Elections Petitions Rules rather than the Sheriff Court Rules.
8. Guidance for Scottish Parliament elections gets the procedure for Election Petitions wrong.
9. Erratum to this guidance still gets it wrong.
10. Guidance for Local Government elections also gets the procedure for Election Petitions wrong.

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