European Assembly Elections Act, 1977

Questioning of Assembly elections.

17.—(1) An Assembly election may, and may only, be questioned by a petition to the High Court.

(2) (a) Subject to paragraph (b) of this subsection and Rule 97 (2) of the First Schedule to this Act, a petition shall not be accepted for lodgement with the court unless the petitioner lodges with the petition security in the sum of five thousand pounds for costs which may become payable by him.

(b) Where the court is satisfied that a petitioner is unable to lodge the amount specified in paragraph (a) of this subsection or that to require a petitioner to lodge the said amount would cause him serious hardship, the court may require him to lodge such lesser amount as the court considers appropriate.

(3) A petition may be presented by any person who has reached the age of eighteen years but may only be presented within a period specified in the Rules contained in Part V of the First Schedule to this Act and the said Rules shall have effect as regards the petition.

(4) An Assembly election may be questioned on the grounds of want of eligibility under section 7 of this Act, obstruction of or interference with or other hindrance to the conduct of the election, or mistake or other irregularity which, if established, are likely to have affected the result of the election.

(5) Any party to a petition may appeal on a question of law to the Supreme Court against a decision of the High Court on the petition and subject to the foregoing the decision of the High Court shall be final and not appealable.

(6) At the trial of a petition which the court does not dismiss, the court shall determine the matter at issue in the petition and shall in its order determining the petition include either—

(a) a declaration of the correct result of the Assembly election, or

(b) if it considers that it is unable to determine the correct result of the Assembly election, a declaration that the whole of such election or a specified part of such election was void together with a statement of its reasons for making the declaration.

(7) Where the court declares that the whole or any part of an Assembly election was void, a fresh election shall be held in accordance with the provisions of this Act to fill the resulting vacancy or vacancies in the Assembly and the poll at the fresh election shall be taken on such day, being a day within the period of three months beginning on the date of the court's order, as the Minister by order appoints; provided that it shall not be obligatory under this subsection to hold a fresh election if an Assembly election otherwise is due to be held in the State within the period of six months next following the said date.