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Chapter the two houses was adopted. On the 24th May, 1855, re-
solutions, which had been communicated by the Lords,
Messages accordingly, as a rule, occasion no interruption, Lords'
:. 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.
* 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.
the houses, it is not proper to use them for interfering with Chapter
desired should be explained, lest it should be on a subject
Majesty's subjects.” 3
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
message would have been admissible.
place of meeting, whether the conference be desired by
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-
? 2nd Aug. 1641, 2 ib. 581; 22nd March, 1678, 9 ib. 555; see also 51 ib. 5; 32 Parl. Hist. 188; 4 Hatsell,
were, by resolution, 24th April, 1866.
- Oaths Bill, 1858, 113 C. J. 182.
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
Chapter specify the number of the managers for either house. The
managers of the house which desires the conference are the
The duty of the managers—for they are not allowed to Duty of
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.
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
1 91 0. J. 783.
* By order, 16th Jan. 1702, none but managers are to stand within the bar.
Chapter the paper of resolutions or reasons stands up uncovered,
while the paper is being transferred from one manager to
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
1 4 Hatsell, 28, n.; see also Lords' s. o. Conferences, 101-103 ; 1 C. J. 156.