Referendum Act, 1942

The trial of a referendum petition.

38.—(1) The following provisions shall have effect in respect of the trial of a referendum petition, that is to say:—

(a) every referendum petition shall be tried by the High Court and every such trial shall be before three judges of that court;

(b) the trial shall take place in the City of Dublin, but it shall be lawful for the court to transfer the trial or any part thereof to any other place whenever, owing to the number of local witnesses or for any other reason, such transfer appears to the court to be expedient;

(c) if the trial or any part thereof is transferred to a place outside the City of Dublin, sections 41 , 42 , 43 , and 44 of the Courts of Justice Act, 1936 (No. 48 of 1936), shall apply and have effect as if the court were the High Court on Circuit and the said place (if it is not an appeal town) were an appeal town;

(d) the evidence at the trial shall, save where the court otherwise directs, be given viva voce;

(e) the petitioner and the respondent (if any) shall each be entitled to adduce evidence and, where there are two or more respondents, each of them shall be entitled to be heard and adduce evidence separately;

(f) where two or more referendum petitions are presented in respect of the same provisional referendum certificate, all such petitions shall, so far as practicable, be heard and determined by the same three judges, and all or any two or more of such petitions may, at the discretion of the court, be tried together or be consolidated;

(g) the referendum returning officer shall attend the trial and produce and deliver to the court the provisional referendum certificate and generally give to the court such assistance as shall be requested of him by the court, but without prejudice to his being called as a witness by any party to the petition;

(h) no person shall be asked or required to state how he voted at the referendum;

(i) the costs of all parties to the petition shall be in the discretion of the court, and the court shall have power to order the costs or any part of the costs of any party to the petition to be paid by any other such party, and, where the costs or any part of the costs of the Attorney-General are so ordered to be paid by the petitioner, the court shall make provision for the payment, where necessary, of such costs out of or by means of the security for costs given by the petitioner.

(2) The court trying a referendum petition shall be entitled, at any time during such trial, to direct that a particular person shall be brought before the court and shall give evidence at such trial, and whenever the court so directs, the following provisions shall have effect, that is to say:—

(a) the court shall have power to compel the attendance of the person to whom such direction relates, and the Attorney-General shall take all such steps as the court shall direct for bringing such person before the court;

(b) the costs and expenses of bringing such person before the court (including any moneys payable to him as witness's expenses) shall be defrayed in the first instance by the Attorney-General but shall be part of the Attorney-General's costs and shall ultimately be borne accordingly;

(c) the said person shall be compellable to give evidence and shall be examined by the court and may be cross-examined by any party to the referendum petition;

(d) the said person shall not be entitled to refuse to answer any question on the ground that such answer would incriminate him in respect of any crime or offence.