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messages communi

forthwith.

Chapter the two houses was adopted. On the 24th May, 1855, re-
XVII.

solutions, which had been communicated by the Lords,
at a conference, were agreed to by the Commons, whereby
it was arranged that one of the clerks of either house
may be the bearer of messages from the one to the other ;
and that the reception of the messages should not, of
necessity, interrupt the business then proceeding.

Messages accordingly, as a rule, occasion no interruption, Lords'
though the business of the house that is in course of trans- c
action when a message from the Lords is received, is ca
occasionally interrupted; for instance, when the Speaker
communicates the message to the house, whereupon motions
are made, and questions are put from the chair which arise
upon the communication of the message (see p. 505).
A conference, whereby both houses are brought into General

:. character direct intercourse with each other, by deputations of their of a co own members, is the most formal and ceremonious method ference. of communicating important matters by one house of Parliament to the other; and while the managers are at the conference, the deliberations of both houses are suspended.

Either house may demand a conference upon matters Subjects which, by the usage of Parliament, are allowed to be proper conference. occasions for such a proceeding; as, for example : (1) To communicate resolutions or addresses to which the concurrence of the other house is desired.? (2) Concerning the privileges of Parliament. (3) In relation to the course of proceeding in Parliament.4 (4) To require or communicate statements of facts on which bills have been passed by the other house. (5) To offer reasons for disagreeing to or insisting on amendments made by one house to bills passed by the other.

On all these and other similar matters, it is regular to When to be demand a conference: but as the object of communications of this nature is to maintain a good understanding between 1 110 C.J. 254.

for a

* 89 ib. 220; 90 ib. 656 ; 91 ib. . 87 ib. 421 ; 88 ib. 488; 89 ib. 225; 102 ib. 861. 232; 95 ib. 422 ; 112 ib. 363, &c. 5 19 ib. 630.

3 9 ib. 344.

demanded. i See resolution, 1 C. J. 114.

V

be stated.

the houses, it is not proper to use them for interfering with Chapter
and anticipating the proceedings of one another, before the
fitting time. Thus, while a bill or other matter is pending
in the other house, it is irregular to demand a conference

concerning it.
Purpose to In demanding a conference, the purpose for which it is

desired should be explained, lest it should be on a subject
not fitting for a conference. The causes of demanding a
conference need not, however, be stated with minute distinct-
ness. It is sufficient to specify that they were upon matters
of high importance “respecting the due administration of
justice ; " " to the prosperity of the British possessions in
India ; " " essential to the stability of the empire, and to
the peace, security, and happiness of all classes of his

Majesty's subjects.” 3
Reasons Conferences were formerly demanded, in order to offer
offered by
message or

reasons for disagreeing to amendments to bills, until 1851, conference. when, by resolutions of both houses, agreed to at conferences

12th and 15th May, 1851, messages between the two houses
were substituted for conferences, unless a conference was
preferred ; 4 and since these resolutions were agreed to,
there has been only one instance of a conference where a

message would have been admissible.
Time and It is the privilege of the Lords to name both the time and
place of
meeting.

place of meeting, whether the conference be desired by
themselves or by the Commons. The agreement of both

houses to a conference is communicated by message. Managers Each house appoints managers to represent it at the appointed.

conference, and, by "ancient rule,” the number of the Com-
mons named for a conference is double that of the Lords.?
It is not, however, usual according to later practice to

? 2nd Aug. 1641, 2 ib. 581; 22nd March, 1678, 9 ib. 555; see also 51 ib. 5; 32 Parl. Hist. 188; 4 Hatsell,

23.

were, by resolution, 24th April, 1866.
substituted for conferences, in com-
municating addresses for commis-
sions under the Corrupt Practices
Act, 15 & 16 Vict. c. 57 (see p. 661).

- Oaths Bill, 1858, 113 C. J. 182.
“10. J. 154.
? 1 ib. 154.

385 C. J. 473 (Sir J. Barrington); 88 ib. 488 (E. I. O. Charter); 89 ib. 232 (Union with Ireland).

4 106 ib. 210. 217. 223. Messages

XVII.

managers.

Chapter specify the number of the managers for either house. The

managers of the house which desires the conference are the
members of the committee who draw up the reasons, to
whom others may be added ; and the managers of the
other house are selected from the members who have taken
an active part regarding the bill, if present; or other
members may be named, who happen to be in their places.
But it is not consistent with the principles of a conference
to appoint managers whose opinions do not coincide with
the objects thereof."

The duty of the managers—for they are not allowed to Duty of
speak—is confined to the delivery and receipt of the resolu-
tions to be communicated, or the bills to be returned, with
reasons for disagreeing to amendments. One of their
number reads the resolutions or reasons, and afterwards
delivers the papers on which they are written, which is
received by one of the managers for the other house. When
the conference is over, the managers return to their respec-
tive houses and report their proceedings.

Messages have now practically superseded conferences in Conferrelation to bills : but the former course of proceedings must regard to still be briefly explained. Let it be supposed that a bill sent bills. up from the Commons has been amended by the Lords and returned ; that the Commons disagree to their amendments, draw up reasons, and desire a conference; that the conference is held, and the bill and reasons are in possession of the House of Lords. If the Lords should be satisfied with the reasons offered, they send a message to acquaint the Commons that they do not insist upon their amendments. But if they insist upon any of their amendments, they desire another conference, and communicate the reasons of their perseverance. If the Commons persist in their disagreement to the Lords' amendments, they were formerly precluded, by the usage of Parliament, from desiring a third conference; and unless they allowed the bill to drop, laid it aside, or deferred the consideration of the reasons and amendments, they desired a free conference. This practice,

10. J. 350; 122 ib. 438.

Free conference.

however, was departed from on one special occasion. In Chapter

XVII. 1836, after two conferences upon the Municipal Corporations Bill, a free conference was held, according to ancient usage : 1 but the disagreement between the two houses continued, and the consideration of the Lords' amendments and reasons was postponed for three months. In the following session, another bill was brought in, to which amendments were made by the Lords, to which the Commons disagreed. The results of the free conference, however, had been so unsatisfactory, that the usage of Parliament was departed from, and four 2 ordinary conferences were successively held, with such success that the bill received the royal assent.

A free conference differs materially from the ordinary conference; for, instead of the formal communication of reasons, the managers attempt, by discussion, to effect an agreement between the houses. If a free conference should prove as unsuccessful as the former, the disagreement is almost helpless : though, if the house in possession of the bill should be prepared to make concessions, it is competent to desire another free conference upon the same subject; or, if a question of privilege or other new matter should arise, an ordinary conference may be demanded. 3 Until 1836, no free conference had been held since the year

1740; nor has there been any subsequent example. Forms of When the time appointed for a conference has arrived, conference. WubWeDo

ce business is suspended in both houses, the names of the

managers are called over, and they leave their places, and
repair to the conference chamber. The Commons, who come
first to the conference, enter the room uncovered, and remain
standing the whole time within the bar, at the table. The
Lords have their hats on till they come just within the bar
of the place of conference, when they take them off and
walk uncovered to their seats; they then seat themselves,
and remain sitting and covered during the conference. The
lord (usually the lord privy seal) who receives or delivers

hold

1 91 0. J. 783.
2 92 ib. 466. 512. 589. 646.
3 4 Hatsell, 42-45. 52.

* By order, 16th Jan. 1702, none but managers are to stand within the bar.

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Chapter the paper of resolutions or reasons stands up uncovered,
XVII.

while the paper is being transferred from one manager to
the other : but while reading it he sits covered. When
the conference is over, the Lords rise from their seats, take
off their hats, and walk uncovered from the place of con-
ference. The Lords who speak at a free conference, do

so standing and uncovered. Joint com. A few words may be added concerning other means of other mittees of s, communication between the two houses, less open and communi

y means of both houses, communication Deum 421. ostensible than those already described. The representa- cat

tion of the executive government by ministers, in both
houses, who have a common responsibility for the measures
and policy of the state, secures uniformity in the direction
of the councils of these independent bodies. Every public
question is presented to them both, from the same point of
view; the judgment of the cabinet, and the sentiments of
the political party which they represent, are adequately
expressed in each house; and a general agreement is thus
attained, which no formal communications could effect.
The organization of parties also exercises a marked influence
upon the relations of the two houses. When ministers are
able to command a majority in the Lords as well as in
the Commons, concord is assured. The views of the domi-
nant party are carried out spontaneously in both houses, as
if they were a single chamber. But when ministers enjoy-
ing the confidence of the majority of the Commons are
opposed by a majority of the Lords, it is difficult to avert
frequent disagreements between the two houses. The policy
approved by one party is condemned by the other; and the
minority in the Commons naturally look for the support of
the majority in the Lords. Hence the decisions of one
house are often contested by the other. When this conflict
of opinion arises upon a bill, the proceedings which ensue
have already been explained. When it arises upon a ques-
tion of policy or administration, the course pursued is, in
great measure, determined by the character of the differ-
ence. The two houses may differ upon abstract questions

1 4 Hatsell, 28, n.; see also Lords' s. o. Conferences, 101-103 ; 1 C. J. 156.

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