NI: UK law commissions call for new framework governing elections

The UK’s three law commissions have called for a new legal framework for the conduct of elections and referenda in an interim report published today.

The report comes off the back of the commissions’ joint project on electoral law, dealing with 17 major statutes and 30 sets of regulations and concluded that the law in this area has become complicated and fragmented.

Under the proposed reforms electoral laws would be consistent across all types of election and would be simplified and modernised – many of the laws are from the nineteenth century.

Among the recommendations are that challenges to elections should be updated and that judges should be given the power to limit the potential costs to challengers. The commissions also recommend electoral offences be made easier for prosecutors, the electorate and officials to understand and that the maximum sentences for serious electoral offences be increased to 10 years.

It is now for the UK’s governments to determine whether the commissions should proceed with the project.

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