The Law Commissions on electoral law and “undue spiritual influence”

The Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission have published their joint report on Electoral Law. One of the issues that the two Commissions have had to deal with is that of “undue influence”. Its Terms of Reference were to “review the law relating to the conduct of elections and referendums in the UK, including challenges and associated criminal offences”.

In the Tower Hamlets case – Erlam & Ors v Rahman & Anor [2015] EWHC 1215 (QB), which we noted at the time – Mr Commissioner Mawrey QC held that a letter signed by 101 religious leaders and scholars published in a Bengali-language newspaper (with an estimated readership of 20,000) six days before polling day constituted undue influence by the threat of spiritual injury. Drawing on a series of nineteenth-century Irish cases, he summarised his view of the scope of s.115 Representation of the People Act 1983  like this: Continue reading