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Chapter business, or immediate influence upon the judgment of

XXY- Parliament.

In passing private bills, Parliament still exercises its legis- its funclative functions, but its proceedings partake also of a judicial passing character. The persons whose private interests are to be {JTMTM^ promoted appear as suitors for the bill; while those who Partly

judicial.

apprehend injury are admitted as adverse parties in the suit.
Many of the formalities of a court of justice are maintained;
various conditions are required to be observed, and their
observance to be strictly proved; and if the parties do not
sustain the bill in its progress, by following every regulation
and form prescribed, it is not forwarded hy the house in
which it is pending. If they abandon it, and no other
parties undertake its support,1 the bill is lost,2 however
sensible the house may be of its value. The analogy which
all these circumstances bear to the proceedings of a court of
justice, is further supported by the payment of Fees 3 which
is required of every party promoting or opposing a private
bill, or petitioning for or opposing any particular provision.
It may be added that the solicitation of a bill in Parliament
has been regarded, by courts of equity, so completely in the
same light as an ordinary suit, that the promoters have been
restrained, by injunction, from proceeding with a bill, the
object of which was held to be to set aside a covenant;i or

1 Cf. infra, p. 827, as to " Parties moters and opponents agreed in

not proceeding with their biU." soliciting the bill in an amended

In 1828, the Manchester and Salford form (Minutes of Committee).

Improvement Bill was abandoned, s Cf. infra p. 827, n. 5.

in committee, by its original pro- 3 See infra, Chap. XXXIII.

moters; when its opponents, having * North Staffordshire Railway

succeeded in introducing certain Co., 1850; Stockton, &c, Railway

amendments, undertook to solicit Co. v. Leeds and Thirsk and Clarence

its further progress. But in another Railway Companies; 5 Railway and

e, the committee would not allow Canal Cases, 691. On the 27th May,

this course to be taken (Minutes, 1869, the directors of the London,
1859, iii. 84, Cork Butter Market Chatham, and Dover Railway Corn-
Bill). And, in 1873, the committee pany were restrained by Vice-Chan-
on the Kingstown Township Bill, cellor Stuart from further promoting
after the commissioners, under their a bill, which had already passed the
corporate seal, had withdrawn from Commons, and had been read a first
its promotion, refused to allow them time in the House of Lords, and
to proceed with it, as individual from using the seal of the company
petitioners (infra p. 819). In the for any such or the like purpose
Horncastle Gas BiU, 1876, the pro- {Times, 28th May, 1869). But on

which was promoted by a public body, in evasion of the Towns Improvement Act, 1847.1 Parties have also been

[graphic]

restrained, in the same manner, from appearing as petitioners against a private bill pending in the House of Lords.2 Such injunctions have been justified on the ground that they act upon the person of the suitor, and not upon the jurisdiction of Parliament; which would clearly be otherwise in the case of a public bill. And acting upon the same principles, Parliament has obliged a railway company, under penalty of a suspension of its dividends, to apply in the next session for a bill to authorize the construction of a line of railway which the company had pledged itself to make, and in good faith to promote it.s Principles This union of the judicial and legislative functions is not Parliament confined to the forms of procedure, but is an important is guided. prjncjpie in tlie inquiries and decision of Parliament, upon the merits of private bills. As a court, it inquires into, and adjudicates upon, the interests of private parties; as a legislature, it is watchful over the interests of the public. The promoters of a bill may prove, beyond a doubt, that their own interests will be advanced by its success, and no one may complain of injury or urge any specific objection; yet, if Parliament apprehends that it will be hurtful to the community, it is rejected as if it were a public measure, or qualified by restrictive enactments, not solicited by the parties. In order to increase the vigilance of Parliament, in protecting the public interests, the chairman of committees in the House of Lords, and the chairman of ways and means in the House of Commons, are entrusted with the peculiar care of unopposed bills, and with a general revision of all other private bills (see pp. 705-8, 758-4, 849); while the agency of the government departments is also applied in aid of the legislature (see p. 754).

the 31st May, the lords justices dis- 1 Kingstown Township Bill, 1873;

charged this order as not being see p. 819.

justified by the circumstances of the '100 H. D. 3 s. 784 (Hartlepool

case, while they acknowledged the Junction Bailway).

authority of the court to make such 'Infra, p. 817, n. 5 (South

an order, if the occasion should Western Bailway, Capital and

warrant it, 5 Chancery Appeals, 671. Works Act, 1855).

Chapter In pointing out this peculiarity in private bills, it must, Private

_1_ however, be understood that, while they are examined and through*

contested before committees and officers of the house, like ^e aame

stages as

private suits, and are subject to notices, forms, and public
intervals, unusual in other bills; yet in every separate
stage, when they come before either house, they are treated
precisely as if they were public bills.1 They are read as
many times, and similar questions are put, except when any
proceeding is especially directed by the standing orders;
and the same rules of debate and procedure are maintained
throughout.

In order to explain clearly all the forms and proceedings Necessity
to be observed in passing private bills, it is proposed to bills super-
State them, as nearly as possible, in the order in which *JJdBe01m"ow
they successively arise; but before doing so it is necessary JJ^j^
to advert briefly to the important modern legislation, by law; (6)by
which the necessity for private bills has, in numerous visional
cases, been superseded by general laws. As a result of .
the policy pursued in this respect by the legislature, parties JjJ^^
are now enabled, for a large number of various purposes, Legisia-
to avail themselves of the provisions of public general Acts, cedureTM*
instead of having to apply for special powers by the means A3cctotland^
of a private bill. This policy has been carried out (a) by
amendments in the general law which have facilitated
various kinds of objects or furthered particular classes of
undertakings or interests; (6) by the establishment and
extension of the system of "Provisional Orders"; and
(c) by the passing, in 1899, of the Private Legislation
Procedure (Scotland) Act.

The following are some of the principal general Acts relating to matters which formerly have been the subjects of private Acts of Parliament, viz. the Tithe Commutation Acts, the Acts for the enfranchisement of copyholds, the Joint-Stock Companies Acts, the Acts for the regulation and management of railway companies, the Settled Estates

1 Cf. for example, 160 C. J. 405, interruption of business, under

8th Aug., 1905, when the considera- Standing Order (relative to Public

tion of the Lords' amendments to a Business), No. 1 (Sittings of the

private bill stood adjourned, on the House).

and Settled Land Acts, the Acts relating to entail in Scot- chapter land, the Towns Improvement (Ireland) Act, the Incumbered Estates Act in Ireland, the Endowed Schools Acts, the Naturalization Act, the Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Acts, the Education Acts, the Municipal Corporation Acts, the Local Government Acts for England and Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.

By the various statutes which authorize procedure by Provisional Order, many of the Government departments, and in some cases a local authority, are empowered to grant provisional orders, which are practically bills and which have only to be confirmed in an Act of Parliament in order to become law. In most cases, these orders confer powers or secure objects for which a private bill was formerly necessary; and in a later chapter (Chapter XXX.) it is proposed to summarize the purposes for which provisional orders may be granted, the statutes under which various authorities are empowered to grant them, and the procedure in Parliament upon the bills for their confirmation. It should, however, be observed here that, in addition to their powers of granting provisional orders, many government departments have also been invested with powers of administration in matters which otherwise would have been the subject of special legislation, and are empowered, in numerous cases, to grant orders which are not provisional, that is to say, which do not require confirmation in an Act of Parliament.

By the Private Legislation Procedure (Scotland) Act which was passed in 1899, parties have been provided with a new means of obtaining parliamentary powers in regard to almost every matter "affecting public or private interests in Scotland for which they are entitled to apply" by means of a private bill. The special machinery which has thus, in so large a class of cases, taken the place of procedure by private bill, centres in the powers conferred by the Act, upon the Secretary of Scotland, of granting orders which are subsequently confirmed by Parliament in a bill. The provisions of this Act, however, and the Chapter system which it has established, will be more conveniently

XXV

! dealt with later (Chapter XXXI.), after the method of

passing private bills has been described.

In the ensuing chapter it is proposed to describe the Proposed proceedings preliminary to the introduction of a private describing bill into either house, and the duties, with regard to all such bills, of the Chairman of Committees of the House of Lords private

bills.

and the Chairman of Ways and Means, who together
determine in which house each private bill shall be first
introduced. The course of proceedings in the Commons
upon a private bill will then be followed throughout from
its first introduction in that house (Chapter XXVII.), and,
subsequently, the course of proceedings in the Lords
upon private ("Local") bills (Chapter XXVIII.). Those-
private bills, such as Naturalization, Name, Estate, and
Divorce Bills, which have usually originated in the Lords,
and which are known as "Personal" bills, will be more
conveniently followed—in a later chapter (Chapter XXIX.)-
—in their course from the Lords to the Commons.

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