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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.
own resolutions, and instead of punishing the plaintiff, and
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.
escape with a reprimand. Stockdale, while in prison,
Hansard were again ordered not to plead, and once more
Meanwhile, as the imprisonment of the plaintiff and his
In the contest with the House of Commons carried on by For the second
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.
Chapter by Mr. Howard against Sir William Gosset and other
officers of the house, known as Howard's second action, for
having wilfully evaded the service of the order, the house,
custom, ordered that he should be sent for in the custody of
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.
321 C. J. 705.
disputing its privileges." From this doctrine a committee of Chap:er
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-
mation of the Serjeant-at-arms, that he had been served
was held that he was justified by the warrant.5
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.
Chapter assault in removing him from the lobby, the house gave
leave to Mr. Erskine to appear and plead in the action, and
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.
i These views, expressed long since, receive confirmation from a
letter of Lord Jeffrey, 2 Cockburn's