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VI.

to defend them. In this action the privileges and order of Chapter the house were alone relied upon in the defence of Messrs. _ Hansard ; and the Court of Queen’s Bench unanimously

decided against the claim of privilege.
Damages Still the House of Commons was reluctant to act upon its
paid,

own resolutions, and instead of punishing the plaintiff, and
his legal advisers, it ordered the damages and costs to be
paid, “under the special circumstances of the case;” though
it was determined that, in case of future actions, Messrs.
Hansard should not plead, and that the parties should
suffer for their contempt of the resolutions and authority of
the house. Another action was brought by the same person,
and for the publication of the same report. Messrs. Hansard
did not plead, the judgment went against them by default,
and the damages were assessed by a jury, in the Sheriff's
Court, at 6001. The Sheriffs of Middlesex levied for that
amount, but having been served with copies of the resolutions

of the house, they delayed paying the money to Stockdale Commit- as long as possible. At the opening of the session of ment of the

Parliament in 1840, the money was still in their hands.
The House of Commons at once entered on the consideration
of these proceedings, and committed Stockdale to the
custody of the Serjeant. The sheriffs were desired to refund
the money, and, on their refusal, were also committed.?
Mr. Howard, the solicitor of Mr. Stockdale, was suffered to

escape with a reprimand. Stockdale, while in prison,
Stockdale's commenced a fourth action by the same solicitor, and with
fourth
action, him was committed to Newgate for the offence. Messrs.

Hansard were again ordered not to plead, and once more
judgment was entered up against them.

Meanwhile, as the imprisonment of the plaintiff and his
attorney did not prevent the prosecution of further actions,
protection was obtained for the publication of parliamentary
papers by the statute 3 & 4 Vict. c. 9 (see p. 102).

In the contest with the House of Commons carried on by For the second

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first action Stockdale and by his attorney, an action was commenced of Howard The sheriffs paid the money to Adolphus & Ellis, 253.

and others, Stockdale under an attachment, 11

see p. 68.

Howard's

action.

v. Gossct

Chapter by Mr. Howard against Sir William Gosset and other

officers of the house, known as Howard's second action, for
taking him into custody, and conveying him to Newgate,
in obedience to orders of the house, and the Speaker's
warrants. The house gave the defendants leave to appear,
and directed the attorney-general to defend them. The
circumstances which originated this action, and the results
to which it led, may be briefly described. When Mr.
Howard commenced his fourth action against Messrs. Han-
sard (see p. 142), he was ordered to attend the house : but

having wilfully evaded the service of the order, the house,
Persons instead of resolving that he was in contempt, adopted the
sent for in
custody,“ precedent of 31st March, 1771,and, according to ancient
see p. 70.

custom, ordered that he should be sent for in the custody of
the Serjeant, and that Mr. Speaker should issue his warrant, Form of

warrant,
which directed the Serjeant-at-arms “to take into your
custody the body of the said Thomas Burton Howard."
Howard was taken into custody on this warrant, and brought
to the bar; and it was for this arrest that the action of
trespass was brought. In the argument it was contended, Arguments

and judg. not only that the warrant was informal, but that the house ment." had exceeded its jurisdiction in sending for a person in custody, without having previously adjudged him guilty of a contempt. The house might have sent for him, it was urged, and when he did not appear, have declared him in contempt, and committed him for his offence: but they had no right to bring him in custody, and thus imprison him upon a charge instead of on conviction. This doctrine, however, was not supported by the court : but judgment was given for the plaintiff because according to the judgment of the court the warrant was technically informal. The judges, however, considered that no question of privilege was involved in their decision ; and " that the form of the warrants issued by Mr. Speaker, by order of the house, may be questioned and adjudged to be bad, without impugning the authority of the house, or in any way

1 98 C. J. 59.
2 Ib. 118. 67 H. D. 3 s. 22. 975.

321 C. J. 705.
495 ib. 30.

VI.

favour

ceedings

irlig.

disputing its privileges." From this doctrine a committee of Chap:er
the Commons ? entirely dissented. “They could not admit -
the right of any court of law to decide on the propriety of
those forms of warrants which the house, through its
highest officer, has thought proper to adopt on any par-
ticular occasion : but, in considering the course to be
adopted by the house in consequence of this judgment, the
committee recommended to the house that every legitimate
mode of asserting and defending its privileges should be
exhausted before it prevented, by its own authority, the

further progress of the action.” Later cases The house concurred in the opinion of the committee, and Legal pro

ordered that a writ of error be brought upon the judgment against privilege of the Court of Queen's Bench, though, to avoid “sub- and officers

members mitting to abide by the judgment of the court of error, in

"ment, see the event of its being adverse," the Serjeant was not p. 86. authorized to give bail, and execution was levied on his goods.3 Judgment was given by the Court of Exchequer Chamber, on the writ of error, on the 2nd February, 1847, when the judgment of the court below was reversed by the lower to

cominit, unanimous opinion of all the judges of whom the court was see p. 69. composed. They found, "that the privileges involved in this case are not in the least doubtful, and the warrant of the Speaker is, in our opinion, valid, so as to be a protection to the officer of the house." 4

In the case of Lines v. Russell (see p. 68), on the infor-
Russell,

mation of the Serjeant-at-arms, that he had been served
with a writ and declaration, at the suit of William Lines,
the house resolved, that the Serjeant:have leave to plead to,
and defend, the action. He pleaded accordingly, and it

was held that he was justified by the warrant.5
Bradlaugh In like manner, the Serjeant having informed the house,
0. Erskine.

Lines t.

5th May, 1882, that an action had been commenced against Mr. Erskine, the deputy Serjeant, by Mr. Bradlaugh, for an

? 2nd Report on Printed Papers, 1815 (397), p. vi.

? 100 C. J. 642; see also H. D. 30th May and 26th June, 1845.

3 100 C. J. 562.

Shorthand writer's notes, as printed by the House of Commons, 1847 (39), p. 161.

5 107 C. J. 64. 68.

VI.

Chapter assault in removing him from the lobby, the house gave

leave to Mr. Erskine to appear and plead in the action, and
directed the attorney-general to defend him. Judgment
was given for the defendant on demurrer, it being held by
the court that the order of the house furnished a sufficient
justification of anything done by the defendant under it,
and within its scope, and on the 20th February, 1883, final
judgment was given for the defendant.? A subsequent
attempt was made by Mr. Bradlaugh, in the form of an
action against the Serjeant, to obtain an injunction from the
High Court of Justice to restrain him from using force to Bradlaugh

v. Gosset,
prevent Mr. Bradlaugh from entering the house for the
purpose of taking his seat. The house made the usual order
for the defence of the Serjeant;8 and on the 9th February,
1884, the Queen's Bench Division decided against Mr.
Bradlaugh on the ground that the order under which the
Serjeant acted related to the internal management of the
procedure of the house, and that the Court of Queen's
Bench had no power to interfere 4 (see also p. 136).
Thus far the course adopted by the house has led, for Present

position of the present, to a fortunate termination of its contests with privilege." the courts of law: but it must be acknowledged that the position of privilege is unsatisfactory. Assertions of privilege are made in Parliament, and denied in the courts; the officers who execute the orders of Parliament are liable to vexatious actions; and if verdicts are obtained against them, the damage and costs are paid by the Treasury. The parties who bring such actions, instead of being prevented from proceeding with them, by some legal process acknowledged by the courts, can only be coerced by an unpopular exercise of privilege, which does not stay the actions. A remedy has already been applied to actions connected Remedy by

statute. with the printing of parliamentary papers (see p. 102); and a well-considered statute, founded upon the same principle,

| 137 C. J. 182. 187.

Times report, 12th Jan. and 21st Feb. 1883.

3 138 C. J. 364. 370.

12 Q. B. D. 271.

is the only mode by which collisions between Parliament Chapter and the courts of law can be prevented for the future. It is not desired that Parliament should, on the one hand, surrender any privilege that is essential to its dignity, and to the proper exercise of its authority ; nor, on the other, that its privileges should be enlarged. But some mode of enforcing them should be authorized by law, analogous to an injunction issued by a court of equity to restrain parties from proceeding with an action at common law, and even with a private bill, or an opposition to a private bill, in Parliament (see p. 687); and such a prohibition should be made binding, not only upon the parties, but upon the courts.

VI.

i These views, expressed long since, receive confirmation from a

letter of Lord Jeffrey, 2 Cockburn's
Life, 353.

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