Election Law

Election Law

The expertise and standing of the Matrix election team is well-established and widely recognised. It has extensive experience in all areas of election law and in all related areas.

Clients include:

  • All three of the major political parties and their elected representatives, as well as other parties and third-party campaigners such as charities and trades unions
  • Registration and returning officers
  • The Electoral Commission

Members are frequently instructed in each of the core areas of election law. They have appeared in many Parliamentary and local government election petition cases under the Representation of the People Act 1983 and related legislation, both in election courts and in the High Court. They are also regularly instructed in relation to the legal and regulatory issues concerning political parties, funding and campaigning that arise under the Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act 2000.

Notable Cases

  • The Winchester Parliamentary Election Petition;
  • Ahmed v Kennedy (the leading appellate authority on the procedure for commencing election petition challenges);
  • R v Fiona Jones MP and Attorney General v Jones (disqualification and re-instatement of an MP following convictions for election expense offences);
  • The Oldham East and Saddleworth Election Petition; and
  • (oao Woolas) v Parliamentary Election Court; and the Tower Hamlets Election Petition (Erlam v Rahman).

Related Areas

Matrix also has extensive expertise in a number of related areas:

  • Other aspects of public law, such as parliamentary and local government law
  • Human rights law
  • The law relating to internal elections / selections in unincorporated associations such as trades unions and political parties
  • The law relating to disciplinary issues and investigations within political parties
  • Media law
  • Criminal law

Notable Matrix cases in these areas include:

  • Greens v United Kingdom (concerning prisoners’ rights to vote);
  • R v Chaytor (regarding the extent of parliamentary privilege); and
  • Foster v McNicol and Corbyn (challenging the nomination of the incumbent in a political party leadership election).

Recent Cases

  • R. v Mackinlay (Craig) [2018] UKSC 42; [2019] AC 387 (re the overlap between national and constituency election expenses when completing candidate returns of expenditure);
  •  R (oao Liberal Democrats) v ITV Broadcasting [2019] EWHC 3282 (Admin); [2020] 4 WLR 4 (whether a decision to exclude the Liberal Democrat leader from a televised leaders’ debate in the general election was amenable to judicial review);
  • R (oao Good Law Project) v Electoral Commission [2019] EWCA Civ 1567; [2020] 1 WLR 1157 (whether a donation by a referendum campaign to a permitted participant could also be a referendum expense of the donor);
  • Greene v Forbes (The Peterborough Election Petition) [2020] EWHC 676 (QB); [2021] QB 67 (a ruling of the Divisional Court as to whether a dissolution of Parliament for a general election causes a Parliamentary Election Petition to abate or drop automatically);
  • Rothery v Evans [2021] EWHC 577 (QB) (an injunction application by an aspiring candidate to be reinstated on a ballot paper to party members selecting a mayoral candidate for their political party);
  • Corbyn v. Evans [2021] EWHC 130 (QB) (application for pre-action disclosure in relation to the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn’s membership of the Labour Party).