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way of Message, but only at a Conference ; for this is not to remind. a Message, but an interrogatory (t).
When a bill, resolution, &c. has been sent by one House to the other, and it is neglected, they may send a Message reminding them of it (v), or requesting them to hasten its passing (w).
When a bill having passed one House and been trans- To ask evidence. mitted to the other, is grounded upon special evidence, and not upon common notoriety, the House may, either by Message, or at a conference, request of the other the grounds of evidence upon which it was passed; which is immediately communicated (w). But when the Lords When evidence have asked of the Commons the evidence upon which a Money Bill was passed, it has been refused, as intrenching upon their privilege with respect to Supply (y).
If the Lords require the attendance of a member of the to request atHouse of Commons, that House has invariably required Members that the Lords should, in their Message, express the cause for which the attendance is required, and even then the House proceed no farther than to give leave for the mem. ber to attend, and he is still at liberty to attend or not, as he may think fit. The Commons are also as strict with respect to similar Messages from the Lords (z). For both Houses have always been extremely jealous of admitting any proceeding which might seem to allow an authority in the other House to command the attendance of their members. Accordingly, the most advised practice has been for the House whose member is requested to attend to send answer immediately (if the member be in his place, Manner of giving and he, standing up, express his willingness to go) that he has leave to attend “if he thinks fit” (a). But if the member be not in his place, no answer is sent (except to say
(t) 3 Grey, 151, 181.
(0) 3 Hats. 25 ; 5 Grey, 154.
that they will send an answer by Messengers of their own) until the member named is present in his place, and then, on his hearing the Message read, and consenting to comply with it, the House give him permission to go; but still add, in their answer to the Lords, "if he thinks fit”(6).
But when the Lords sit on the trial of a Peer, on an indictment, as a Court of Criminal Judicature, members of the House of Commons may then, and then only, be ordered to attend to give evidence.
It sometimes happens that through some special causes, the usual manner and form of transmitting Messages between the two Houses is departed from ; in such a case the House sending such Message states the reason of their doing so, and the House receiving it acquiesce, but desire that it may not be drawn into a precedent at any future time (c). But if either House depart from the established rule without assigning a just and satisfactory reason, it is a breach of the privileges of the other House. The mode of proceeding in such a case is for the House whose privilege is broken to send a Message to the other stating the fact, and requesting a Committee of Conference on the subject, the decision of which is abided by, and the matter amicably arranged (d).
And this extends to all other proceedings between the two Houses, by Message or otherwise, For either House may, conceiving their privileges violated, request a Conference thereon, which should be granted, even though the ground of complaint may prove to be no breach of privilege (e); as the matter cannot be determined by the complaint of one, or the decision of the other, until it has been finally adjudged in such a Committee.
How to be treated.
16) C. J. 6 June, 1834.
(c) C. J. 29 Jan. 1817. (d) 3 Grey, 155; aud soe J. H. of A. Upper Canada, for 1824, pp. 55, 58, &c. (e) C. J. v. 1, p. 46; and see J. H. of A. U. C. for 26 & 27 April, 1839.
CHA P. XV..
On Proceedings between the Two Houses.
The exclusive privileges claimed by each House of Parliament, may now be considered as firmly established and pro well defined. “They form two of the pillars of our Two “ Constitution,” says Bramwell (a), “ the foundations of " which are buried deep in past ages, with the records of “their Institution.” But it will sometimes happen, that popular excitement, or an internal desire for aggrandizement, will for a time obtain the mastery over the feelings and actions of those Assemblies, and from the want of a due attention to the forms to be observed in their intercourse with each other, that the harmony which should at all times subsist between such powerful and closely connected bodies, will be disturbed -and the mutual forbearance and respect which should be the characteristic of their intercourse, be exchanged for perverse jealousy and angry recrimination. - To avoid the occurrence of such scenes, should be the ardent desire of every member of either Housemand to do so, the principles which have been laid down in former timės, as the peculiar rights and privileges of each branch should be continually kept in view, that no proceeding may be had which would tend, in the remotest degree, to affect or oppose them.
The leading principle which appears to pervade all proceedings between the two Houses of Parliament is, that there should there shall subsist a perfect equality between them, and an equality and that they shall be, in every respect, totally independent between them. one of the other. Hence it is, that neither House can
(a) Bra. 7.
independenco between them.
Privilege violated by the other House.
claim, much less exercise, any authority over a member of the other (6): but if there be any ground of complaint against an act of the House itself, against any individual member, or against any officers of either House-the complaint ought to be made to the House where the offence is charged to have been committed, and the nature or mode of redress or punishment, if punishment be necessary, must be determined upon or inflicted by that House,
It has been already shown (c), that whenever either House conceive their privileges to have been violated by the other, the aggrieved House should ask a cunference upon the subject, that the matter may be therein deliberated, and satisfactorily decided
As the manner of proceeding in all cases where the two Houses come in contact with each other, has been fully treated upon in other parts of this work, further comment upon the matter here will be rendered unnecessary, by giving references to the Chapters alluded to containing the same, as follows:
As to Messages between the two Houses, see Chap. XIV. On Messages.
As to Members, &c. of either House offending the privileges of the other, see Chap. IV. On Members.
As to the manner of requesting the Members of either House to attend and give evidence before the other, see Chap. XVI. On Witnesses.
As to proceedings between the two Houses in matters of Supply, see Chap. IX. On Money Bills.
As to proceedings to be had in Conferences between the two Houses, see Chap. XII. On Committees (Committees of Conference).
t (6) Sec S. Q. H. of L. 50. () See arte, p. 100.
It is an essential and undisputed privilege of both Houses of Parliament, which they possess in cominon with every other court, to summon Witnesses before them for examination upon any subject on which they may require information to guide them in their deliberations ; but in the House of Commons this evidence may not, as in the Lords, be given upon oath, except before Election Committees, and other cases where it is expressly allowed by act of Parliament.
- Witnesses are not to be produced but where the House When to be prohas previously instituted an enquiry (a); and all orders du for their attendance must necessarily specify the subject upon which they are required to give evidence.
When a person is examined before a Committee, or at Form of Exanithe bar of the House, any member wishing to ask him a "ati question must address it to the Speaker or Chairman, who repeats it to the Witness, or says, "you hear the question, "answer it." But if the propriety of the question be objected to, the Speaker directs the Witness, Counsel, and Parties, to withdraw ; for no motion can be moved, put, or debated, when they are present (c). Sometimes the questions are previously settled in writing, before the Witness enters (6). The questions asked must be entered upon the Journals (d), but the testimony given in answer before the House is never written down; except before a
(a) 10 Grey, 165; C. J. 3 March, 1779.
(6) 2 Hats, 108.