ELECTION-RELATED LITIGATION IN THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN SUPREME COURT: WITHSTANDING INTERLOCUTORY STRIKE-OUT APPLICATIONS
By Don Mitchell CBE QC
 The process for presenting an election petition in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court is a highly technical and legally complex area of law, known well by only a few specialists. The rules for presentation and service of the petition are neither transparent nor easily understandable. The requirements are onerous. Compliance requires considerable time, effort, and expense. The arcane language used may not be accurately understood by the layman. It seems that every effort has been made to block a petitioner’s attempts to understand what he or she must do. All but the most determined and well-resourced petitioners are likely to be deterred by the procedure. With general elections due to be held in Anguilla no later than April 2015, this topic is most appropriate to be raised at this time.
 To understand the legal background to the procedure for contesting the result of an election in our region, we start with our Constitutions. These provide that election petitions are heard by the High Court. So, for example, section 41(2) of the Anguilla Constitution baldly states:
“Any question whether a person has been validly elected as a member of the Assembly . . . shall be determined by the High Court, whose decision shall be final and not subject to any appeal.”
 The right to present an election petition is further constrained by the statutory provisions. So, section 64(1)(a) of the Anguilla Elections Act states that
“Except as provided in paragraph (b), the petition shall be presented within 21 days after the return made by the Returning Officer of the member to whose election the petition relates.”
Failure to file and serve the petition within the statutory period of 21 days is fatal. The period of 21 days is an improvement over the more traditional period of 7 days still provided by the legislation in some other countries.
 There is usually no hint in our elections legislation as to what the grounds of an election petition might be. One possible ground is mentioned in section 64(1)(b) of the Anguilla Act which, however, merely states that
“if a petition questions the return or election upon an allegation of corrupt practices, and specifically alleges a payment of money or other reward to have been made by any member, or to his account, or with his privity, since the time of the return in pursuance or in furtherance of such corrupt practices, the petition may be presented within 28 days after the date of the payment or other reward.”
This section only extends the period of time for filing and serving an election petition to 28 days where corrupt practices are alleged. This extension of time is, no doubt, as in the UK, in recognition of the inevitable difficulty faced by a petitioner in collecting evidence of corrupt practices.
 Where the elections legislation sets out the basis for declaring an election void by listing the offences on conviction whereof a candidate incurs the penalty of disqualification for membership of the House and the avoidance of his election, then it is important to be certain that the offence alleged in the petition to have been committed by the candidate is one of the listed offences, and that he has been prosecuted and convicted of the offence.
 Our Constitutions, elections statutes and the applicable case law require an election petition to be presented within a specified timeframe, in a particular manner, and to provide specific information. At the conclusion of the trial the judge must determine whether the person elected was in fact duly elected or whether the election is void. The court has power to declare some other person elected.
 Forty years ago, when I was a young lawyer beginning my practice of law, elections results were challenged on few and simple grounds. There were no locally-made rules relating to election petitions. We followed then, as many of us still do, the UK Election Petition Rules, 1960 (the UK Rules). The applicable common law principles were set out in Halsbury. Petitions, and the applications to strike them out, typically followed the precedents and the procedure explained in the established textbooks: Atkins Court Forms, Rogers on Elections; Parker on The Law and Practice of Election Petitions; and Schofield’s Election Law. If your law library was lacking, then you were likely to be lost at sea when it came to assisting a disappointed candidate.
 The grounds for bringing an election petition in our jurisdiction are not clearly defined in the legislation. Taking into account our Constitutions and election statutes, the most usual grounds for challenging an election were, and are, that:
(a) the ballot was cast using a pen instead of the official pencil, or a tick was made instead of a cross, or
(b) an error was made by an election official that affected the result, or at least meant the election was not conducted so as to be substantially in accordance with the rules; or
(c) a candidate or his or her agent committed corrupt or illegal practices which so extensively prevailed in an election that they might reasonably be supposed to have affected the result; or that
(d) the successful candidate was disqualified under the Constitutional provisions.
 Then as now, an election petition might not be unilaterally withdrawn by the petitioner, but only as permitted by the judge. The theory is that the presentation of an election petition is not the commencement of a private lawsuit, but the initial step in a quasi-criminal proceeding. The public in general, and the constituency in particular, have an interest in it. That is why it cannot be abandoned at the mere will of a petitioner without the leave of the court.
 Where there are no local rules, recourse is had to the UK Rules. We were reminded that these UK Rules apply to us by the 1979 St Kitts decision of Sir Maurice Davis CJ in the Court of Appeal in Anthony Ribeiro’s appeal. In that case, in the court below, Cecil Hewlett J had personally carried out a recount in open court of all of the ballots cast in a by-election which, on election-day had returned Mr Ribeiro as the winner by 13 votes. But, there were 99 rejected ballots. Dr Simmonds argued that the majority had been cast for him. The judge carried out his own recount, the result of which was that he certified Dr Simmonds as having been returned for the seat with a majority of 22 votes. There were at the time no locally-made election petition rules in St Kitts. He took the view that he could dispose of the matter by following our rules of court without reference to the UK Rules. On appeal, Sir Maurice held that the reception of law provisions of the then applicable Courts Act applied the UK Rules to St Kitts. He found that, despite the fact that the judge did not observe certain technicalities in the recounting, being satisfied of the fairness and accuracy of the judge’s count, the wish of the people expressed through the ballot box should prevail. He dismissed the appeal.
 Sir Vincent Floissac CJ came to the same conclusion on the applicability of the UK Rules in relation to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in his 1997 decision in the Michael Browne appeal. He held that Rule 9(4) was a mandatory statutory provision, and failure to serve notice of the nature of the security within the time prescribed paralysed the petition. Charmaine Pemberton J did the same in relation to Grenada in her 2004 judgment in the High Court in the George Prime case.
 The applicability of the UK Rules has not always been without controversy. So, in Lindsay Grant’s 2004 petition against the return of Rupert Herbert in the general elections in St Kitts, the respondent filed an interlocutory application to dismiss the petition on the ground that the court’s jurisdiction to hear election petitions could not be exercised in the absence of special rules. Neither counsel appears to have apprised Davidson Baptiste J of Sir Maurice’s decision in the Ribeiro case that the UK Rules apply. If they had, Baptiste J may well have dismissed Rupert Herbert’s application on the basis that there were election petition rules, ie, the UK Rules. Instead, he dismissed the application on the general principle that the court must have jurisdiction to hear election petitions. He struck out some of the allegations in the petition, but he ordered the matter to proceed to trial. It seems that there should no longer be any doubt that, in the absence of local election petition rules, and given the reception of law provisions of our current Supreme Court Acts, the UK Rules apply to us, and our courts are required to follow the principles and procedure provided for by those Rules and the learning that derives from the cases that interpret them.
 The UK Rules apply when there is no local provision for the procedure to be followed in election petitions. It is not necessary for the Chief Justice to make the rules that the election statute permits to be made. There may well be rules incorporated in the statute. If only some of the election petition rules are included in a local election statute, it cannot be said to be without local rules. So, Anguilla has recently inserted into its Elections Act some of the basic rules to be followed in presenting an election petition. These provisions may be considered to be grossly inadequate, but their insertion into the Act has introduced a local code to govern electoral petitions in Anguilla, subject to any further rules that may be made under the Act. The result is that in Anguilla the fuller UK Rules can probably no longer be applied.
 Most of our election statutes provide for election petition rules to be made by the Chief Justice. In this connection, the Anguilla Elections Act contains an unusually enlightened provision which is not duplicated to my knowledge in any other jurisdiction. Section 64(2) provides that the local High Court Judge may make further election petition rules. It states:
“Rules, not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act as to the deposit of security and the practice and procedure for the service and hearing of election petitions and matters incidental thereto may be made by a Judge.”
However, no High Court Judge has ever made any election petition rules for Anguilla.
 The statutory provisions and the rules provide little guidance to a potential petitioner trying to establish whether his or her complaint is a valid ground on which to challenge an election. Section 65 of the Anguilla Elections Act provides for the election of a candidate, certified by the Judge as personally guilty or guilty by his agents of any corruption or illegal practice, to be void. Section 66 provides further for a candidate’s election to be void, and for him to be disqualified from standing in the subsequent by-election, if it is shown on the election petition that corrupt or illegal practices or illegal payments or employments committed in reference to the election for the purpose of promoting or procuring the election have so extensively prevailed that they may reasonably be supposed to have affected the result. The terms ‘corruption’ and ‘illegal practice’ are not defined, so that one must have reference to the case law to understand their meaning.
 The formalities set out in our election statutes and the UK Rules applying to an election petition are onerous. So, a petition might be required to be served within 5 days of its filing. The court has no discretion or power to extend the time for service, regardless of the circumstances. If it is not served within the required time, the court will hold that it has no jurisdiction to entertain the petition. The requirement that a petition be presented within a particular time is substantive, not procedural, and the time cannot be enlarged in the courts discretion. Similarly, if the petitioner fails to serve the required notice on the respondent of the amount and nature of the security, but instead, for example, serves a copy of the application notice relating to the security, the court has no power or discretion to cure the irregularity and extend time for compliance.
APPEALS FROM THE REGISTRATION PROCESS
 Legal challenges that affect election results begin even before the election takes place. Decisions of a Registration Officer during the process of the revision of the voters' lists are usually appealable to the High Court. So, in the 1999 appeal to the High Court from a decision of the Registration Officer by Terence Henry in St Kitts, Neville Smith J dismissed the appeal when he ruled that the Registration Officer was not obliged to automatically remove the names of persons objected to and who did not appear before him. Later the same year, the Court of Appeal dismissed Terence Henry’s appeal against Smith J’s decision. The Court confirmed that any person aggrieved by a decision of the Registration Officer, on the hearing of claims for and objections to the registration of voters, has a right of appeal to the High Court.
 In the Laureen James appeal to the High Court against the decision of the Registration Officer not to remove names from the Voters’ List, Francis Belle J, in a 6-page 2007 judgment, followed the decision of Smith J in the Terence Henry case. He found that the Registration Officer was not obliged to remove the names of persons who did not appear before him from the List. He ordered the Registration Officer to rehear the objections, taking care to hear the evidence, and to make a Record of it, and to produce the Record if there was an appeal to the High Court. In a later Laureen James case, she appealed again against a decision of the Registration Officer. Errol Thomas J, in an 11-page 2013 judgment, found that the elections statute required Notice of Appeal to be given to the Registration Officer within 7 days of his decision. Notification after 13 days rendered the appeal null and void, and he dismissed her appeal.
 Kenrick Radix’s case from Grenada is authority for the rule that complaints against the registration process may not normally be brought in an election petition. In that case, the Electoral List had not been revised annually as required by the House of Representatives Act. The losing candidate, Kenrick Radix, complained by way of an election petition that several persons who were entitled to be registered to vote were precluded from doing so, while others whose names had appeared on an earlier list were improperly omitted, so that the election was contrary to the Constitution and null and void. The trial judge dismissed his petition. On appeal, Sir Maurice Davis CJ held that the election of a candidate can be avoided only upon proof of an election offence committed by the candidate or upon proof of some irregularity during the conduct of the election which affected the results, or that the election was conducted so badly that it was not substantially in accordance with the law on elections. The validity of the List was a separate question, and the time to raise that issue was some time before it was proclaimed by the Governor General. Once it was proclaimed it became conclusive as to the persons who were entitled to vote at the next election or by-election as the case may be, and he dismissed the appeal against the decision of the trial judge.
 In the nine appeals to the High Court by Cherita Clarke against decisions made by the Registration Officer in objections against the inclusion of various persons in the List of Voters, Darshan Ramdhani J [AG] was left somewhat bemused at the casual and indifferent way in which the objections were dealt with. In a 20-page judgment he attempted to set out for the election officer’s information and guidance some of the basic and elementary steps that he needed to take if his hearing of an objection was to be a fair one. He was required to give notice of the objections to the persons objected to, and he should consider all the evidence, and at the end state clearly the reasons for his decisions. He remitted eight of the matters to the Registration Officer with directions to properly rehear them and in the event of any appeal to give reasons for his decisions.
 In an earlier period, once the election petition was presented, its hearing was swift and there were few opportunities to file an interlocutory application. Procedural questions were generally raised and decided during the trial before the judge. Some interlocutory applications could be dealt with at an earlier stage, such as applications questioning the sufficiency of the security. But, then as now, the amount of the security was so low that petitioners preferred to pay the amount into court rather than bring sureties to sign a recognizance. Applications might also be brought by a respondent for particulars of an election offence that was pleaded generally in the petition to be given by the petitioner. If the particulars were not given within the time ordered, the petition was liable to be dismissed.
 Obtaining an interlocutory order in your client’s favour is a vital, usually conclusive, strategic step in election petition proceedings. The constitutional and statutory provisions invariably prohibit an appeal against an interlocutory order. This point has been repeatedly made by the Court of Appeal. See for example the judgments in William Williams’ 1975 appeal from St Lucia. Bruno J refused an application by the petitioner for an enlargement of time to furnish particulars in an election petition. The petitioner applied for leave to appeal the order. On an in limine objection that the court had no jurisdiction to entertain an appeal in an interlocutory proceeding in an election petition, Sir Maurice Davis CJ found that the Constitution prohibited any appeal from a decision of the High Court other than a final decision. Williams filed another application for a scrutiny of all the ballots cast and a declaration that he was the duly elected candidate. The High Court Judge refused to conduct a scrutiny on the basis that he was satisfied with the conduct of the election officers. On appeal, Elwyn St Bernard JA held that scrutiny is not an automatic exercise in every election petition, and the appeal was dismissed. See also Brian Alleyne CJ [AG]’s 2006 judgment in the Eugene Hamilton appeals from St Kitts. He dismissed them on the basis that no appeal lay from an interlocutory decision in the High Court in an election petition. It is noteworthy that this objection was also successfully made in limine on the hearing of the appeal. Another example of how the Court of Appeal treats an attempted appeal from an interlocutory order is found in Michael Gordon JA’s 2008 judgment in the A-G of Grenada’s appeal from Grenada. As Gordon JA pointed out, the Constitution of Grenada permits appeals to the Court of Appeal from a final order of a judge in an election petition, but not from a decision made on an interlocutory application. We have seen above that in Anguilla no appeal is possible even against a final order made in an election petition.
 In the 1970s and 1980s, interlocutory applications to set aside the proceedings usually dealt with allegations of failure by the petitioner to meet the formal requirements of either the Constitution or the Election Act. These objections are still relevant today and might include:
(a) That the petitioner was not the candidate or a qualified voter or otherwise qualified to bring the petition;
(b) That the petition was presented outside of the time limited by the Act;
(c) That security for costs was not given within the time limited;
(d) That notice of the security for costs was not served in time;
(e) That the petition was not signed by the petitioner;
(f) That the petition contained impermissible evidence;
(g) That all the necessary respondents had not been joined as parties;
(h) That two or more elected candidates have been wrongly joined in one petition;
(i) That the petition had not been served on the appropriate respondents within the prescribed time;
(j) That ordered particulars have not been delivered in the time ordered.
Within the last 20 years, interlocutory applications have become more sophisticated, including relying on constitutional objections. However, the traditional grounds of objection still continue to be made in the courts of the ECSC.
 Failure to follow the deadlines in elections laws can be fatal on an interlocutory application to dismiss. In the 1967 Stevens petition from Nevis, the petitioner forgot to insert a prayer for relief. He applied to the High Court to amend the petition to add a prayer, but it was after the time limit for presentation had elapsed. Edgar Heyliger J held that there was no valid petition before him, and to permit the amendment would be to permit a petition to be presented outside the time specified. Additionally, the bond failed to comply with the requirements of the Constitution. He dismissed the petition. On appeal, Elwyn St Bernard JA delivered judgment upholding Heyliger J’s judgment. He held that the requirement that a petition be presented within a particular time was substantive, not procedural, and the time could not be enlarged in the court’s discretion, making a petition presented out of time liable to be struck out. The amendment sought by adding a prayer was an amendment to cure a defect in the document which did not contain any allegation that by reason of one or more acts or practices the election of the candidate was void. Finally, he held that the provisions relating to security for costs are peremptory and impose conditions which must be complied with before a petition can be considered to be properly presented to the court. He dismissed the appeal.
 The statutory requirements for service of the petition and of the notice of security for costs are generally stringent. A petition may be dismissed on an interlocutory application if there is any defect in the giving or serving of the Recognizance for Security for Costs. Satrohan Singh J so ruled in St John Payne’s 1984 petition from St Kitts.
 In Shemilita Joseph’s 1999 petition out of Antigua, Kenneth Benjamin J was faced with an application by the respondent to strike out the election petition on the grounds, inter alia, that the petitioner had failed to serve a copy of it on Sherwin Bowen, who had been returned to the seat. In his ruling he did not strike out the petition, but instead struck Mr Bowen from the proceedings, struck certain paragraphs from the petition, and continued the proceedings against the Returning Officer.
 In Ethlyn Smith’s 2003 election petition in the British Virgin Islands, Hugh Rawlins J had to deal with an interlocutory application to strike out. There were several complaints against the validity of her petition. These included that (i) she was out of time for entering security for costs; (ii) failure to join the Returning Officer; (iii) wrongful joinder of the Supervisor of Elections in her official capacity; (iv) failure to provide the prescribed security; (v) wrongful joinder of two elected members in the same petition; (vi) failure to disclose any cause of action against anyone, the petitioner complaining that she received votes marked with a tick instead of a cross. The petitioner filed an application to amend. Rawlins J accepted the respondent’s application, ruling that you cannot go to CPR 2000 to deal with misjoinder or non-joinder of parties; that you cannot amend an election petition to join parties out of time; and that the election statutes are to be interpreted stringently, and failure to comply with their requirements is fatal to the petition unless the court can find that the failure goes only to form. He dismissed the petition.
 In the Grenadian case of George Prime, Charmaine Pemberton J in a 22-page 2004 ruling dealt with the respondent’s interlocutory application to strike out the election petition. The grounds were (i) that security was not provided as required by the Representation of the People Act; (ii) for non-compliance with the applicable UK Election Petition Rules, 1960; and (iii) on the ground that it was not competent for an election petition to raise matters other than concerning the conduct of the polls on polling day. She held that the UK Rules applied in Grenada. She also held that where the Act allows for late registration of voters, as in Grenada, decisions taken by the Returning Officer are final, and may not, in the absence of bad faith, be inquired into on an election petition. She found that payment of the required security by way of a cheque (not cashed by the Registrar until after the prescribed deadline) was not compliance with the Act. Finally, she found that the petitioner had not within the 5-day limit served the respondents with the petition and a copy of any affidavit accompanying the recognizance, and she granted the application and dismissed the petition.
 In Daven Joseph’s case from Antigua, Louise Blenman J, in a 25-page 2009 High Court ruling, upheld an application to dismiss two petitions for failure to file them within the statutory period of 7 days and to serve them within 5 days thereafter. She ruled that CPR 2000 did not apply to election petitions as CPR 2000 did not comfortably co-exist with the provisions of the Representation of the People Act. She also ruled that failure to serve the petitions within the stipulated 5-day period was fatal, and she granted the application and struck out the petitions.
 The corrupt practice of election bribery as a criminal offence has always been subject to its own special rules of drafting, not found in the old RSC 1970, which dealt only with civil proceedings. The current leading practitioners’ textbooks on drafting election petitions cite an authority as ancient as 1865 to indicate that it is enough to allege generally in an election petition that “The respondent, by himself and other persons on his behalf, was guilty of bribery, treating, and undue influence, before, during and after the election.” It has always been for the respondent to apply for particulars of the names of the other persons, of the dates of each of the alleged acts of bribery and treating, the names of the persons bribing, and of the persons bribed and treated, of the times and nature of the alleged acts of treating, etc. In Beal v Smith, the election judge in chambers ordered the petitioners to file and serve particulars in writing three days before the day appointed for the trial. On appeal, the Court of Appeal refused to interfere with this exercise of his discretion. Modern editions of Atkins Court Forms cite this early case as authority for a generalized pleading of fraud in an election petition. Similarly, Halsbury states that it is sufficient for an election petition to allege the grounds generally, and a petition alleging that the respondent is charged with bribery, corruption, and undue influence, and also with illegal practices, would in form be sufficient. This is the procedure in the UK even today under the 1960 UK Rules.
 In recent years, our courts have begun to diverge from this procedure. So, in Lindsay Grant’s 2004 election petition from St Kitts he alleged electoral fraud on the part of the respondents. They filed interlocutory applications, either to dismiss the petitions on the basis that they were bad for want of particulars of fraud and of material facts, or for the relevant paragraphs to be struck out. Davidson Baptiste J in three separate rulings on 27 July 2005 granted the applications and, though he did not dismiss the petitions for want of particulars, he struck out the relevant paragraphs. He does not appear to have had the assistance of counsel on the correct procedure under the UK Rules to be followed where particulars of an allegation of electoral fraud are omitted from the election petition. He was persuaded to follow J Hewlett’s High Court decision in Simmonds v Ribeiro, without having his attention drawn to the fact that this decision was overruled in the Court of Appeal by Sir Maurice in Ribeiro v Simmonds. Eugene Hamilton’s appeal to the Court of Appeal failed on the procedural ground that the court had no jurisdiction to entertain interlocutory appeals in election petitions. The Court was not able to get to the issue of the procedure recommended in Beal v Smith.
 Three months later in Dominica, in Ferdinand Frampton’s 2005 election petition alleging bribery, corruption and undue influence, Hugh Rawlins J on an interlocutory application to strike it out, and a counter application to amend it, described the time limits set in the election legislation as “conditions precedent, mandatory, and peremptory” which must be strictly followed. He also ruled that CPR 2000 did not apply to an election petition except to the extent the rules so provide, and in this case the rules did not permit it. He held that the petitions alleging corruption had not, within the time limited, been ‘perfected’ by giving detailed particulars of the alleged corruption. He did not accept that in Dominica it was sufficient in an election petition to allege the grounds of corruption generally, i.e., that the respondent and his agents were charged with bribery, corruption, and undue influence, and also with illegal practices, and he dismissed the five petitions. In arriving at this decision, Rawlins J recognised that in the UK it is sufficient in an election petition to allege the grounds generally that a respondent and his agents are charged with bribery, corruption, undue influence, and with illegal practices, leaving it for the respondent to apply for particulars. Yet, he was persuaded that an election petition must be ‘perfected’ within the time stipulated. He relied on dicta by Dennis Byron CJ [AG] in the 1997 BVI case of Thomas v Stoutt to find that the petitioner should have given full particulars of the alleged election fraud. That case was a land dispute in the British Virgin Islands. The 1970 Rules of the Supreme Court (RSC) applied to land disputes. Byron CJ held that under the rules an allegation of fraud pleaded in general terms will not suffice. Instead, it is necessary for particulars of fraud such as definite facts on specific conduct to be pleaded. But, a land dispute is a civil trial, to which the civil procedure rules applied then as now. It is not clear to me how Rawlins J came to be persuaded to apply that rule of procedure to an election petition case.
 Ferdinand Frampton appealed to the Court of Appeal against Rawlins J’s ruling. Denys Barrow JA, sitting as a single judge of the Court, determined the issues on written submissions in a 10-page judgment in 2006. However, he was not able to get to the substance of the appeal. He was obliged to dismiss it on the basis that it was out of time, and that the court had no discretion to give relief from sanctions.
 The John Abraham 2010 election petitions from Dominica alleged bribery and treating, illegal practices, returning voters and the Form 27 oath; that votes were wrongly admitted or rejected; a wrongful miscount; return of votes wrongly counted; and denial of access to the radio station. The respondents filed interlocutory applications claiming that the petitions did not disclose any cause of action, or were misconceived; that the claim pleaded corruption in vague and generalized terms; that the petition disclosed no cause of action; and that the alleged treating and illegal practices were unknown to the law of Dominica. Errol Thomas J, in a 66-page ruling, relying inter alia on the previously cited dicta by Byron CJ in Thomas v Stoutt, struck out three of the five petitions, leaving two of them to go to trial. He was also persuaded to follow a number of Indian and Malaysian decisions, without being advised as to the entirely different statutory regime of those countries. He came to the conclusion that the civil procedure requirement for the pleading of full particulars of an alleged fraud in cases governed by the civil procedure rules applies also to an election petition. He struck out the allegations of bribery, treating, and illegal practices on the basis that no sufficient particulars had been given. He left the sole issues for trial as the disqualification of the respondents. This being a ruling in an interlocutory application, there was no appeal to the Court of Appeal. It is likely that, had Thomas J been pointed to the more relevant decisions of our courts and the UK courts, he might have come to a different decision.
 In the Lindsay Grant 2010 petition in St Kitts, on an interlocutory application to strike out the petition, Indra Hariprashad-Charles J, in a 48-page ruling, held that:
(a) An allegation of misconduct by government requires the A-G to be joined;
(b) A pleading of ‘bribery and treating’ requires material facts to be pleaded;
(c) A pleading of ‘procuring a person to vote’ requires that the statutory regime for objecting should be followed, rather than pleading the matter in an election petition;
(d) Similarly, a pleading that the recording officer made ‘inadequate arrangements to hear objections to voters’ should have followed the statutory regime for objecting at the time; and
(e) Similarly, a pleading that an ‘illegal registration policy’ was in place should have followed the statutory regime for objecting at the time.
Although submissions were made to her that the correct procedure under the UK Rules did not require full particulars of an allegation of corrupt practices to be included in the election petition, but a respondent may apply for particulars, she appears to have come to the contrary finding, and she struck out the petition. There being no appeal from an interlocutory decision of a High Court Judge in St Kitts in an election petition, her ruling could not be further tested.
 It is difficult to understand how this long-established civil procedure rule on the need to particularise allegations of fraud in a writ, claim form, or statement of claim has crept into our election petition procedure. Our present CPR 2000 contains no reference to petitions, or to the contents of petitions. The previous civil procedure rules did apply to some petitions, but not to election petitions. As long ago as 1968, Allen Lewis CJ held in the Duporte appeal from St Kitts that the civil procedure rules are not generally applicable to election petitions; they are only applicable to the extent there is an express constitutional or statutory power that permits the rules to apply.
 Thus, the old RSC, O.18.12 requiring parties to plead material facts in relation to all allegations of fraud in civil proceedings had no application to petitions. Indeed, while the old RSC, O.9 did apply to some petitions, it required such a petition to contain only “a concise statement of the claim made or the relief or remedy required in the proceedings begun thereby.” It is a necessary consequence of Lewis CJ’s decision that the civil procedure rule that a claimant may not plead fraud without giving particulars fraud does not displace the election petition rule that it is for a respondent to apply for particulars.
 To conclude this point, it would appear that the reception of law sections of the relevant Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Act, which applied the UK Rules to Dominica, were not brought to Rawlins J’s attention. Nor, it appears, was he made aware of Sir Maurice’s judgment in the Anthony Ribeiro appeal which established that in election petitions, where our rules are silent, the UK Rules apply. Had those provisions been brought to his attention, it is likely that he would have concluded that in Dominica, as in the UK, it is permissible for an election petition to plead corruption generally, and it is open to the respondent to apply for particulars, and that the petitioner is not obliged to give particulars in the petition. It is quite possible that, had counsel brought these to his attention, his judgment might have been different.
 Interlocutory applications to strike out petitions are sometimes wholly, sometimes partially, successful and sometimes not successful at all. In Ronald Green’s 2010 petitions from Dominica, the petitioner obtained from the Registrar subpoenas against the respondents who had failed to file any witness statements of their own. The petitioner was determined to force the respondents to testify against themselves. The respondents applied to set aside the subpoenas and to strike out various witness statements issued on behalf of the petitioner. Gertel Thom J, in a 27-page ruling, found for the respondents and she both set aside the subpoenas and ordered the impugned parts of the witness statements to be struck out. Thereafter the matter proceeded to trial.
 It is not unusual, on an application to strike out a petition, for some of the allegations made in the petition instead to be struck out for failure to comply with the rules, and for the matter otherwise to proceed to trial. That was the conclusion Baptiste J came to in his 2005 ruling on Rupert Herbert’s interlocutory application to strike out Lindsay Grant’s petition in St Kitts.
HEARING THE PETITION IN THE HIGH COURT
 Petitions occasionally survive the hazard of preliminary objections and proceed to trial. There, they sometimes succeed, and sometimes they do not. A petition challenging the conduct of the Returning Officer at the voting station may request that the trial judge conduct a scrutiny of the ballots to determine if they were correctly counted. In an early Milton Cato election petition heard by Sir Eric Hallinan CJ of the Federal Supreme Court, sitting in his original jurisdiction in St Vincent, Mr Cato claimed that the returning officer had erroneously rejected a number of votes. The Chief Justice directed the Registrar of the court to conduct a scrutiny of the rejected ballots, and to report back to the court. On receipt of the report, and after trial, the Chief Justice decided that, while the elections law made it mandatory for a voter to make a cross on the ballot paper, where the voter appeared to have made a genuine attempt to make a cross, his attempt should be treated as compliance. Where the cross was in an ambiguous position, it will be a valid vote if after striking out all that was unessential for the cross it clearly indicated an intention to vote for the candidate who claimed it. And, he dismissed the petition.
 In the 1969 local government election case from Dominica of Active v Scobie, the question of the use of the pencil for voting arose again. Neville Berridge J conducted a scrutiny limited to the ballots endorsed “rejected”. Of the 48 under scrutiny, he disallowed 20 and, of the remaining 26, 10 were cast for the petitioner and 16 for the respondent. The respondent having the majority of the votes, he therefore dismissed the petition and declared the respondent duly elected and returned.
 In the 1972 Emery Robertson election petition in St Vincent, the petitioner claimed various election offences, including that the respondent’s agent infringed the secrecy of the voting at a polling station by disclosing the names and numbers of persons who had voted at the station. He sought a declaration that the respondent was not duly elected and that his election and return were wholly null and void. The trial judge held that the agent had communicated the information complained of and declared the election void. On appeal, Cecil Lewis CJ held that there was sufficient evidence to justify the trial judge’s finding of the illegal communication of information. However, this finding could not be used as a basis for declaring the election void, because s.67 of the Constitution listed the offences on conviction whereof a candidate incurred the penalty of disqualification for membership of the Assembly and the avoidance of his election. The offence in question was not one of those offences, and in any event no one had been successfully prosecuted for the offence. The trial judge therefore had no authority to declare the appellant’s election void. And he allowed the appeal.
 Edison Lewis’ 1976 case challenged the election of Reuben Harris in Grenada on the ground that certain ballots should have been rejected because the marks made on them were in ink and not the pencil provided for at the polling station. The trial judge scrutinised the rejected ballots and held that the ballots were valid and should have been counted as such. The evidence showed that the respondent obtained the majority of the votes. On appeal, Elwyn St Bernard JA held that the judge’s conclusion was right since the irregularities and omissions complained of did not affect the results of the election.
 Other problems may arise with the conduct of the elections on election day. In Lindsay Grant’s 2004 election petition against Rupert Herbert’s election, allegedly because of irregularities committed by the Supervisor of Elections, Francis Belle J, in a 24-page judgment after trial, found that the irregularities had not been proved and dismissed the petition. The petition had survived the interlocutory process before Baptiste J described earlier, but it finally collapsed when the court was not satisfied with the evidence of lack of impartiality of the Supervisor of Elections.
 In the 2009 Dean Jonas election petitions from Antigua, Louise Blenman J, in a 133-page judgment, dismissed most of the Petitioner’s claims. She held that permitting voting after the statutory closing time did not breach the electoral law, and using an unlawful Photo List instead of the published Register of Voters represented substantial compliance with the law. But, she declared the election void for failure to open the polling booth at 6 a.m. as required by the statute on the basis that voting was affected. Compare Albert Redhead J’s earlier 1989 judgment in Donald Halstead’s election petition. There had been substantive non-compliance with the rule as to the time for opening and closing of the poll, resulting in seven hours of not voting and three hours of voting outside the statutory period. He held that, while the time for opening and closing the poll is directory only and there is no breach if there is no compliance, on the basis of the evidence and the law, the elections might have been affected by the non-compliance, and on that basis the election was invalid.
 Jacquie Quinn-Leandro appealed Blenman J’s judgment to the Court of Appeal. Hugh Rawlins CJ, in a 103-page judgment, allowed the appeal and held that, based on the evidence before the trial judge of the high percentage of the electorate that had in fact voted, voting had not been affected. The trial judge had erred in holding that late voting was properly pleaded because the issue was not raised either on the facts pleaded in the petitions or by way of further particulars. So, late voting was not a live issue, despite the petitioners seeking to bring it in subsequently in evidence that was presented at trial. He concluded that the elections should not be declared invalid in any of the contested constituencies on the ground of substantial non-compliance with the electoral law. The circumstances did not show that the breaches that occurred in the conduct of the election were substantial in the sense that a reasonable person would think that the election in each contested constituency was a sham or travesty, particularly given the high percentage of the electorate that voted in each contested constituency. He found that the judge erred when she dismissed the statistical evidence adduced during the trial on the ground that she found them very unhelpful, without attempting to asses them. He found that on an assessment of the statistical evidence it was highly improbable that the late opening of the polls affected the results.
 Some candidates are not afraid of allowing their names to be put forward for nomination, even when they should know that they are disqualified by one statutory provision or the other. In Waple Nedd’s 1972 appeal from Grenada, Allen Lewis CJ upheld the finding by the trial judge that the appellant was disqualified on the basis that she was an election officer in the constituency. In Dominica in 1995, Charles Savarin failed in his challenge on the basis of his opponent’s alleged disqualification. Sir Vincent Floissac CJ overturned the decision of Odel Adams J and held that the General Manager of a statutory corporation was not a public servant and was not disqualified by virtue of holding an office or appointment in a branch of the public service, as contended by Mr Savarin.
 In Cedric Liburd’s 2010 petition against Eugene Hamilton’s election in St Kitts, Mr Liburd claimed that Mr Hamilton’s nomination, election and return were null and void as he was disqualified due to his being a US citizen. The evidence disclosed that he was the holder of a Green Card, which merely gave him rights of residence, and was not evidence of his disqualification. Indra Hariprashad-Charles J, in a 26-page judgment, dismissed the petition.
 Cedric Liburd and the Attorney-General both appealed Hariprashad-Charles J’s decision. Davidson Baptiste JA, in a 24-page judgment, held that the judge had correctly concluded that the evidence did not show that Mr Hamilton was under any acknowledgement of allegiance or obedience or adherence to any foreign power or state. The question whether a person is by virtue of his own act under an acknowledgment of allegiance to a foreign state is to be determined in accordance with the provisions of the applicable foreign law. There was no basis for upsetting the trial judge’s finding, and he dismissed both appeals.
 In the Ronald Green petitions from Dominica, the claim was that the respondents were disqualified by reason of their foreign citizenship. The evidence was that they held French passports. They claimed French citizenship by descent. The petitions, having survived interlocutory challenges, came before Gertel Thom J who, in a 49-page judgment, dismissed them on the basis that there was no proof that the respondents were disqualified by virtue of swearing allegiance to the foreign government. Her decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal.
 In the Mark Brantley petition in the Nevis High Court against irregularities in the Nevis elections, Lionel Jones J, in a 146-page judgment, allowed the petition in part and voided the election of Hensley Daniel. But, he refused to order the names of the voters who were unlawfully removed from the Voters List to be restored. In Joseph Parry and Hensley Daniel’s appeals against Jones J’s judgment, the Court of Appeal, in a 56-page judgment, dismissed both appeals and granted Mr Brantley’s cross-appeal on the basis of bias and breach of a constitutional right to freedom of expression. The returning officer’s failure to serve notices of objection to inclusion on the electoral roll, and the failure to publish the revised monthly lists, resulted in a failure to communicate adverse decisions to those affected, so that the decisions in question were in breach of the rules of natural justice, and a nullity.
 In recent years, it has become popular to file constitutional motions to challenge matters related to general elections. One of the first was Randolph Russell’s 1994 constitutional motion complaining at the failure to appoint a Constituency Boundaries Commission and to register new voters. Dunbar Cenac J had held that, while the constitutional rights of the claimants had been infringed, damages would not be awarded, and the election would not be set aside. On appeal, Sir Vincent Floissac CJ held that the requirement to appoint a Constituency Boundaries Commission was directory rather than mandatory, and accordingly the general election would not be set aside. In any event, the jurisdiction to determine the question as to be validity of elections to the House of Assembly and other questions referred to in s.36 of the Constitution has been excluded from the jurisdiction of the High Court conferred by s.96 because the former jurisdiction is a peculiar and special jurisdiction. It is essentially a parliamentary jurisdiction conveniently assigned to the judiciary by the Constitution and by legislation. The constitutional right to be registered to vote having been infringed damages could be awarded, and these should not be restricted to a nominal award but should acknowledge the significance and sanctity of the constitutional right. The Privy Council affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeal and Lord Mustill, writing for the Board, dismissed the appeal to it.
 In the 2009 Shawn Richards case from St Kitts, fixed date claim forms were filed seeking judicial review and constitutional relief. The claimants challenged the report of the Constituency Boundaries Commission; sought to quash the Commission’s report; claimed declarations; and sought an order of mandamus. Errol Thomas J, in a 107-page judgment, found that the National Assembly Resolution SRO18/2006 was null and void, as was the Proclamation giving effect to the Commission’s Report; and he granted an injunction preventing the bringing into effect of the Report. He found the Attorney-General to have acted in contempt of court on the basis that he advised the Prime Minister that he could safely ignore an order of the court.
 On appeal by the A-G of St Kitts, Michael Gordon JA, in a 27-page judgment delivered the following year, allowed the Attorney-General’s appeal and set aside the High Court orders. He found that the evidence did not disclose a breach of the terms of the Judge’s order which had been prohibitory, not mandatory, and there was no allegation that the A-G did any act in breach of the order. The evidence disclosed only that the A-G had failed to inform the Court of the Resolution pending before the National Assembly. In any event, the contempt, if proved, would amount to a criminal contempt, not a private contempt, and which would have to be prosecuted by the DPP.
 In 2010 in Dominica, the Supervisor of Elections, Bernard Christopher, brought a constitutional motion claiming that he had been treated in a discriminatory manner in the matter of his calling for voter ID cards. He claimed declarations that his constitutional rights had been violated, and sought injunctions and damages. Birnie Stephenson J, in a 35-page judgment, found that his claim did not show any cause of action against the Prime Minister; he had not pleaded any material facts to prove discrimination; and, he had failed to particularize any disabilities or restrictions or privileges or advantages others enjoyed which were denied to him. She held that his claim was unmeritorious; that he had no locus standi; that his claim for an order of mandamus failed for his not having obtained leave in compliance with CPR 56.3; and she granted the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General’s application to strike out the constitutional motion.
 The following year in Dominica, Birnie Stephenson J, delivered a 30-page ruling in a motion brought by Edison James for constitutional relief. He claimed that the election writ was null and void; that the election was unconstitutional; and he sought damages. The respondents filed an interlocutory application to strike out the motion on the basis that it showed no reasonable cause of action and was an abuse of the process of the court. She dismissed Mr James’ claim on the basis that, while there may have been a valid claim at the time the original election petitions were filed (and they were still pending) the whole issue raised in the motion was now academic and moot given that the claimant had regained his seat in a subsequent by-election.
 Sometimes a constitutional motion goes to an extreme in demonstrating that it is not designed to be a substitute for an election petition. So, in the 2002 St Lucia constitutional motion brought by Martinus Francois against the A-G, Francois claimed a declaration that the Prime Minister calling elections before the 5-year period provided in the Constitution was unconstitutional and deprived him of his fundamental rights. The trial judge held that there had been no contravention of the provisions of the Constitution, that no cause of action was disclosed, and dismissed the case with stinging costs of EC$20,000.00.
 François appealed the High Court order to the Court of Appeal. Dennis Byron CJ, in a 5-page judgment, confirmed that general elections could lawfully be held at any time during the 5-year period. Where the Constitution provides that the Governor General performs a function in his own deliberate judgment, or in accordance with the advice of, or after consultation with any other person, that function shall not be inquired into by any court. Because the costs ordered in the High Court exceeded the permitted prescribed costs, he varied the costs order to EC$14,000.00 in the court below, and with EC$9,333.33 costs of the appeal, but otherwise he dismissed the appeal. The entitlement of a successful party to an award of costs by the election court is not in doubt since the 1991 decision of the Court of Appeal from Antigua in Hubert Henry’s case from Antigua.
 Martinus Francois applied for leave to appeal to the Privy Council. In a 3-page judgment delivered the same day, Dennis Byron CJ, ruled that Mr Francois’ proposed interpretation of section 55 of the Constitution was so frivolous that it warranted no more than summary rejection, as it did not raise any genuinely disputable issue. And, he dismissed the application.
 Very recently there were the 117-page ruling and the 74-page judgment by Darshan Ramdhani J [AG] in the 2013 Shawn Richards Constituency Boundaries Commission case. This was a challenge to the validity of the Report of the Boundaries Commission in St Kitts-Nevis. The issues for trial were whether there was any justification for the allegation of the existence of a perception of bias, and whether the Commission had sufficiently consulted. The trial judge granted leave to bring judicial review and proceeded to hear the case. At the end of the trial, he found that there was no evidence of bias, but voided the Report and prohibited the Commission from submitting the Report to the Governor-General on the basis that it had not sufficiently consulted.
FIXED DATE CLAIM FORMS
 Attempts to get around the stringent election petition constraints by resorting to the Fixed Date Claim Form procedure usually do not succeed. So, in 2005 Julian Prevost filed a FDCF claiming that Mr Blackmore, who had been successful in the general elections, was not qualified to be nominated or elected as a Member of Parliament because he was disqualified under the Constitution being a special adviser to the Prime Minister. On an interlocutory application to strike out the claim on the ground that it was unstainable, misconceived, frivolous, vexatious, and an abuse of the court’s process, and had no prospect of success at a trial, Hugh Rawlins J determined in a 10-page ruling that the proceedings should have commenced by petition rather than a FDCF, and he dismissed it.
 In 2006, the Attorney-General of Grenada learned the hard way that there is no point in trying to avoid the stringent time limits for election petitions by instead filing a fixed date claim form. When he challenged the election of Peter Charles David on the basis that he was a Canadian citizen, Kenneth Benjamin J upheld the respondent’s application to strike out the claim on the basis that the High Court has no jurisdiction to challenge the validity of the election using the fixed date claim form procedure.
 The A-G then applied to the Court of Appeal for leave to appeal. This application was heard by teleconference by a single judge of the Court, and refused on the basis that no leave could be given, as the decision of the High Court Judge was an interlocutory one from which no appeal lay in Grenada.
 The A-G nevertheless filed another application for an extension of time and proceeded to argue his appeal before the full Court. Section 37(7) of the Grenada Constitution permits an appeal against a final order of a judge in an election petition, but not against an interlocutory order. Michael Gordon JA, ruled that, notwithstanding the order previously made by the single judge refusing leave, the Court would proceed to deal with the new application. He held in a 6-page judgment that the trial judge’s order striking out the claim on an application by the respondent was not a final order. The Court of Appeal therefore had no jurisdiction to hear the appeal. He dismissed the application for an extension of time. It was noticeable in this case that the A-G had not filed a Notice of Appeal upon which he could argue his appeal. He was of the mistaken view that the form of notice of appeal, filed with his earlier, dismissed application for leave to appeal, was sufficient.
 St Vincent and the Grenadines has seen its share of the fixed date claim form procedure being attempted as a substitute for election petitions. So, in the 2011 Linton Lewis case, Gertel Thom J, in a 45-page judgment, dealt with six applications. Three of them were for leave to bring claims for judicial review of decisions of the Chief Magistrate and the DPP, and the other three of them were applications by the DPP and the Senior Magistrate to set aside leave previously granted. The main issue before Thom J was the refusal of the Magistrate to issue criminal summonses under the Representation of the People Act against several successful candidates in the just-completed general elections. They were accused of making false statements of fact in relation to the applicants’ personal characters. Summonses had also been applied for against other persons who had registered in the wrong constituency. The applications against the DPP alleged that he had brought up before himself several private criminal prosecutions filed by the applicants and had nolle prossed them. He was accused of apparent bias on the basis that he had in the past been the PRO to the Prime Minister, and a junior in the PM’s law chambers; of procedural unfairness; and, of irrationality. The judge refused the claimants’ three applications for leave to bring claims for judicial review on the basis that there was no realistic prospect of success. She granted the DPP’s application for leave previously given in one of the matters to be set aside on the basis that material non-disclosure was established. She dismissed the application of the Chief Magistrate to set aside the leave given to Ms Frederick to claim judicial review of her decision not to prosecute. She ordered the remaining two claims of Ms Frederick for judicial review of the magistrate’s decision to proceed to trial.
 On appeal by the Chief Magistrate, Sonya Young, to the Court of Appeal, Dame Janice Pereira CJ, in a 16-page judgment, held that the trial judge was correct to find that the evidence of mere past association of the DPP with the PM was not evidence of bias on the part of the DPP; and that in the absence of evidence of fraud, dishonesty, mala fides, or corruption, a court would be loath to find that a DPP’s decision to nolle pross reviewable. She dismissed the appeals of the claimants, and allowed the appeal of the Chief Magistrate.
 In St Lucia there is an interesting and perhaps unique constitutional provision that permits the High Court to state a case to the Court of Appeal for a ruling on a matter of law. In the 2012 Ezechiel Joseph matter, Hugh Rawlins CJ, in a 53-page judgment, dealt with the question whether CPR 26.9 is available in an election petition in St Lucia for a party to apply for relief from sanctions, and whether disclosure under CPR 2000 is available to the parties. He held that:
(a) CPR 2000 does not apply to election petitions unless the rules so permit;
(b) The St Lucia Elections Act provides the entire regime by which election petitions are governed; and
(c) None of the interlocutory processes of CPR 2000 apply
And the matter was remitted to the high court for the petition to be heard. It may be considered extraordinary that as recently as the year 2012 lawyers were seriously arguing that the civil procedure rules apply to election petitions.
 There is a good argument that the elections legislation in our various States and Territories needs to be amended to set out clearly for the benefit of political candidates the grounds on which a petition may be based. Serious errors may occur in an election, but based on the case law, may not be used as a ground for challenging an election. So, an election will not be declared invalid by reason of any act or omission by the Returning Officer in breach of his official duty in connection with the election if the election was conducted substantially in accordance with the law, and the act or omission did not affect its result. This means that in an election where there is a large majority of votes for one candidate there may be any number of procedural errors, but a petition is unlikely to be successful because the result would not have been affected. The result is that those practices may continue until or unless a close election occurs. Those responsible are never held accountable, lessons are not learned, and good practice is not established.
 There is a good argument also that the question whether a candidate is disqualified should be dealt with administratively before the election, rather than by means of a petition following the election. Apparent disqualification is at present not usually a ground for invalidating a candidate’s nomination. The result is that the candidate may be elected even though he or she may be disqualified, leaving it for an expensive and uncertain challenge to be made through the courts. In Anguilla there is a proposal that the question be settled by authorising the Returning Officer on nomination day to call on the candidate to swear an oath as to his qualification. Presumably, the draughtsman thinks that the threat of a prosecution for perjury will be more of an obstacle to unqualified persons offering themselves, than depending on a successful petition to the court after the election. However, given that a large number of both elected and prospective candidates in Anguilla are reasonably suspected of being naturalised Canadian or US citizens, it is not thought likely that the amending Bill will get very far.
 It is true for all our jurisdictions, so far as I am aware, that under the present rules the grounds of a petition may not be amended once submitted. Once the statutory limit for filing a petition has passed, further grounds may not be added to an existing petition nor any new issues that arise be investigated even if they cast doubt on the validity of the result. It is of concern that no matter how meritorious, the time for filing or amending a petition cannot be varied, even with the leave of the court. There is a good argument to be made that the grounds of a petition should be able to be altered as new information that casts doubt on the validity of an election comes to light.
 Different decisions reached by different courts as to what exactly are the requirements of the law introduce uncertainty as to whether a petition will be struck out. Particular difficulty is encountered in satisfying the court that sufficient particulars of fraud on the part of the successful candidate or his agents have been pleaded. The previous practice of requiring a respondent to apply to the court for an order for further particulars of the alleged fraud, if he requires them, has ceased to be followed. The civil procedure rule that fraud may not be pleaded generally, but must be particularized, has instead prevailed.
 It remains unclear whether Baptiste J’s 2005 Lindsay Grant decisions represent the settled view on the need for a petition to give full particulars of an allegation of election fraud. As we have seen, Rawlins J came to the same conclusion in his 2005 ruling in the Ferdinand Frampton election petition from Dominica. Hariprashad-Charles J took the same position in the Lindsay Grant petition against the return of Glen Philip in the 2010 St Kitts elections. Thomas J came to the same result in the 2010 John Abraham election petition.
 Sir Maurice’s previous 1979 decision in Anthony Ribeiro suggests that it is possible that, were the matter of generalized pleadings of bribery and illegal practices to reach the Court of Appeal again, a different decision may be taken. However, if a trial judge in a jurisdiction where no appeal in an election petition lies to the Court of Appeal were to follow the above-cited decisions on the need to plead full particulars of fraud, on an interlocutory application, the Court of Appeal would be powerless to intervene. As we have seen, Baptiste J’s Lindsay Grant decisions were appealed to the Court of Appeal, but the issue was never argued as Alleyne CJ dismissed the appeal on the basis that the Court had no jurisdiction to entertain an interlocutory appeal in an election petition. The Ferdinand Frampton appeal was similarly dismissed on a procedural ground without going to the issue.
 The environment may be beginning to change. After many heart-felt pleas by High Court Judges and others that the Chief Justice make rules in accordance with the provisions of our elections laws, our current Chief Justice has recently done so for the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis. These new Election Petitions Rules now provide, for that Federation at least, a detailed and modern code which should result in political candidates and lawyers finding the presentation of an election petition a more straightforward affair. It is now clear in St Kitts-Nevis what is the meaning of a ‘corrupt practice’; what are to be the contents of the petition; the power of a judge to order particulars of an election offence; the requirement for the Registrar to publish notice of the petition; how a judge may vary the requirement for service; how notice of the security is to be served; in what circumstances a petition may be amended; how the petition may be withdrawn; how the petitioner may be substituted; how to add or substitute a respondent; how to consolidate several petitions relating to the same election; when the Returning Officer is to be a respondent; the mode of trial; the power of the judge to reserve a question of law for the Court of Appeal; the applicability of CPR 2000 in any matter not provided for by the Act or by these Rules; and, finally, precedents of the forms to be used in election petitions.
 The introduction of these modern election petition rules is a major improvement on the previous confused situation that existed in St Kitts-Nevis concerning the correct rules to apply to election petitions. However, in the absence of a clear rule on the matter, it may still fall for a Court of Appeal decision in the future to finally determine whether a St Kitts-Nevis election petition is required to plead full particulars of any election fraud or offence pleaded generally. It may be said that the Rule 28 provision that CPR 2000 applies to election petitions where there is no specific rule has the consequence of importing the civil procedure rule against generalised pleadings of fraud. The provision in Rule 4 that a judge may order particulars of an election offence may be held not to permit presenting a petition alleging election fraud generally without giving full particulars of the alleged fraud prior to the expiry of the time for presentment. It would be a pity if this were so, as it must be nearly impossible for a candidate to discover the particulars of the fraud, acquire the necessary witness statements and other evidence, and draft, file and serve the election petition in the extremely short time provided in some jurisdictions. It may be asked whether such an interpretation does not have the effect of encouraging and facilitating election fraud.
 Since parliament in Anguilla has deemed it appropriate for the rule-making power to be vested in a High Court Judge, perhaps the High Court Judge could be persuaded, with the assistance of the Bar and the office of the Attorney-General of Anguilla to adopt the St Kitts-Nevis Rules with such amendment as may be necessary for Anguilla. And, then, one may hope that the Chief Justice will in due course roll out the St Kitts-Nevis Rules for all the other States and Territories of our nine jurisdictions. Hopefully, if this is done, the Chief Justice will take the opportunity to make it clear that election fraud may be generally pleaded, and it is for a respondent to apply for particulars of an alleged fraud to be given at some convenient time before the trial.
 Our nine jurisdictions of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court fall into several distinct categories when considering election petitions. The situation is fluid, and which category any one of us is located in changes from time to time. The first, most traditional type is the country that has no election petition rules in its elections law, so that the UK Rules apply. The second type is the country that has included in its election law a number of rules governing the presentment and hearing of an election petition, as Anguilla has, so that the reception of law provision in our Supreme Court Act no longer applies, and the UK Rules are excluded. The third type is the country, like St Kitts-Nevis recently, that has persuaded the Chief Justice to make an extensive set of election petition rules, so that the UK Rules no longer apply.
 A political candidate must consider what legal process he or she should commence, depending on which of these three categories his country falls in, to ensure a fair election. Such a challenge may be brought at different stages: before, during, and after the election. He may decide to bring a challenge to the registration process by filing an appeal to the High Court. Alternatively, he may be advised to file a claim or to seek judicial review, or to file a constitutional motion, either before, during or after the election, depending on the wrong done and the relief sought. Or, he may be advised to await the outcome of the election and to file a petition to challenge his opponent’s election.
 In each of our nine jurisdictions, the filing of an election petition after the election has concluded is the standard procedure for challenging the election of a candidate who it is alleged was wrongfully elected. The jurisdiction to regulate membership in parliament is, in the constitutional theory of the separation of powers, vested in parliament itself. The court has no place in determining the validity of the election of a member of the House, except to the extent that parliament has delegated that power to the court. The rules governing the presentment of an election petition and its trial are onerous and restrictive. The public policy behind this stance is the need to ensure that there is no delay in determining who the persons are who are entitled to form the government immediately after elections have ended. This public policy has been determined by the courts of the UK and the West Indies to supersede the need to ensure that the election has been fairly conducted. A challenge to an unfair election is permitted, but it must be prosecuted within strict guidelines and timetables.
 The interlocutory application to strike out an election petition is one of the strongest and most efficient mechanisms available to a successful candidate whose election is being challenged by a petition. Even with the new election rules being rolled out, candidates and their lawyers will in the years to come continue to be ingenious and imaginative in attempting to persuade the court to strike out an election petition challenge filed against their election. The courts on their part will continue to struggle to strike a balance between the imperatives of, on the one hand, ensuring that elections are conducted within the rules set by the Constitution and the elections statutes, and, on the other, of ensuring that candidates declared defeated at the polls do not unnecessarily hold up the formation of a new government immediately after an election has concluded.
12 September 2014
TABLE OF CASES CONSIDERED
A-G of Grenada v David [GDAHCV2006/?] 
A-G of Grenada v David [GDAHCVAP2006/0018] , 
A-G of Grenada v David [GDAHCVAP2006/0034] 
A-G of St Kitts v Richards [SKBHCVAP2009/0009] 
Abraham v Darroux et al [DOMHCV2010/0003] 
Active v Scobie and Davis (1969) 13 WIR 189 
Beal v Smith (1865) LR 4CP 145 
Blanchette v Martin [SKBHCV2004/0184] 
Blanchette v Martin [SKBHCVAP2005/0012 & 0012A] 
Brantley v Daniel [NEVHCV2011/0130] 
Browne v Francis-Gibson (St Vincent Civ App No 11 of 1994) 
Cato v Allen (1958) 1 WIR 68 
Chance v DPP [SVGHCV2011/0076] 
Chance v DPP [SVGHCVAP2011/0025] 
Christopher v Skerrit [DOMHCV2010/0287] 
Clarke v George [SDKHCV2013/0331-0339] 
Duporte v Freeman (1968) 11 WIR 497 
Fernandez v Maginley [ANUHCV2009/0144] 
Frampton v Pinard [DOMHCV2005/0149] 
Frampton v Pinard [DOMHCVAP2005/0015] 
Francois v Compton [SLUHCV2002/000?] 
Francois v Compton [SLUHCVAP2002/0008] , 
Frederick v DPP [SVGHCV2011/0021] 
Frederick v DPP [SVGHCVAP2011/0024] 
Frederick v George et al [DOMHCV2010/0003] 
Frederick v Young [SVGHCV2011/0100] 
Frederick v Young [SVGHCV2011/0115] 
George & Penn-O’Neal v Parsons et al [BVIHCV2003/0098] 
Grant v Herbert [SKBHCV2004/0182] , 
Grant v Herbert [SKBHCVAP2005/0013 & 0013A] 
Grant v Phillip et al [SKBHCV2010/0026] 
Green v Saint Jean [DOMHCV2010/0006] 
Green v Saint Jean [(No 1) [DOMHCV2010/0006 & 0007] , 
Green v Saint Jean (No 2) [DOMHCV2010/0006] 
Green v Saint Jean et al [DOMHCVAP2010/0001] 
Greene v Adams et al [ANUHCV2009/0148] 
Halstead v Simon (1989) 1 OECS LR 198 
Hamilton v Liburd [SKBHCV2004/0183] 
Hamilton v Liburd et al [SKBHCVAP2005/0011 & 0011A] 
Henry v Halstead (1991) 41 WIR 98 
Henry v O’Loughlin (St Kitts Civ No ? of 1999) 
Henry v O’Loughlin (St Kitts Civ App 12 of 1999) 
James v George [SKBHCV2010/0222] 
James v Speaker [DOMHCV2011/0199,0200] 
James v Williams [SKBHCV2007/0097-0113] 
Jonas v Quinn-Leandro [ANUHCV2009/0141] 
Joseph v Bowen et al (Antigua Civ No 40 of 1999) 
Joseph v Codrington [ANUHCV2009/0147] 
Joseph v Reynolds [SLUHCVAP2012/0014] 
Joseph v Skerrit [DOMHCV2010/0007] 
Lewis v DPP [SVGHCVAP20110026] 
Lewis v Harris et al (1976) 23 WIR 170 
Lewis v Williams [SVGHCV2011/0019] 
Liburd v Hamilton [SKBHCV2010/0020] 
Liburd v Hamilton [SKBHCBAP2011/0017, 0018] 
Nedd v Simon (1972) 19 WIR 347 
Nibbs v Walker [ANUHCV2009/0144] 
Parry v Brantley [NEVHCVAP2012/0003] 
Payne v Jones (St Kitts Civ No 19 of 1984) 
Prevost v Blackmore [DOMHCV2005/?] 
Prime v Nimrod [GDAHCV2003/0251] 
Quinn-Leandro v Jonas (2010) 78 WIR 216 
Radix v Gairy (1978) 25 WIR 553 
Richards v Boundaries Commission [SKBHCV2009/0159, 0179] 
Richards v Boundaries Commission [SKBHCV2013/0241] 
Ribeiro v Simmonds 1 OECS Law Reports 165 
Ribeiro v Simmonds (St Kitts Civ No 4 of 1978), unreported 
Robertson v Tannis (St Vincent Civ No ? of 1972) 
Russell v A-G (1995) 50 WIR 127 
Russell v A-G (1997) 51 WIR 110 
Sanford v Graneau et al [DOMHCV2010/0005] 
Savarin v Williams (1995) 51 WIR 75 
Simon v Spencer [ANUHCV2009/0142] 
Smith v Christopher [BVIHCV2003/0097] 
Stevens v Walwyn (1967) 12 WIR 51 
Stephenson v DPP [SVGHCV2011/0020] 
Stephenson v DPP [SVGHCVAP2011/0023] 
Tannis v Robertson (1973) 20 WIR 560 
Thomas v Stoutt (1997) 55 WIR 112 
Williams v Giraudy (St Lucia Civ No ? of 1975) 
Williams v Giraudy et al (1975) 22 WIR 532 
Williams v Giraudy (1978) 25 WIR 529 
Young v Frederick [SVGHCVAP2011/0022] 
 Paper prepared for a Panel Discussion held during the 11th Regional Law Conference of the OECS Bar Association, 12-14 September 2014, in Anguilla. My thanks are due to my friends and colleagues, Ola Mae Edwards JA (Ret) who kindly reviewed the text for me, and made valuable suggestions; and Terence V Byron CMV of St Kitts, who generously shared his meticulous research, and Anthony Astaphan SC of Dominica who shared some of the more obscure cases; also to Pam Webster and Harry Wiggin of Websters; Joyce Kentish of Joyce Kentish & Associates; and Yvette Webster and Dana Campbell of Keithley Lake & Associates for the loan of their law libraries and help with research
 It will be appreciated that this paper is not an exhaustive analysis of all the law and procedure on the topics dealt with, but only a survey of the relevant cases from the jurisdiction of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. Cases of other jurisdictions, particularly in the West Indies, will be essential for a complete argument to be presented on any of the issues dealt with here. Additionally, the law and procedure vary from State to State within our jurisdiction, so that care must be taken with all precedents
 This is the federal-type court with headquarters in St Lucia that serves the six independent Commonwealth Caribbean Countries of Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, and St Kitts-Nevis, and the three British Overseas Territories of Montserrat, Anguilla and the Virgin Islands
 See Hudson Tannis v Emery Robertson at paragraph  below
 Election Petition Rules, SI 1960/543 as amended
 Halsbury’s Laws of England, 3rd edition (perhaps the 2nd edition is the more relevant for some States)
 SH Day, Rogers on Elections. Vol II. Parliamentary Elections & Petitions With Appendices of Statutes, Rules and Forms (Seventeenth Edition, 1895, Stevens & Sons, London)
 Parker, Frank R, The Powers, Duties & Liabilities of an Election Agent and of a Returning Officer at a Parliamentary Election in England and Wales, Including the Law and Practice of Election Petitions by the Late Frank R Parker, (Third Edition, edited by Oscar F Dowson)
 Rory Mates and Andrew Scallan, Schofield’s Election Law (2nd Edition, Schaw & Sons) 1996 looseleaf edition
 See Cato et al v Allen et al at paragraph  below; Active v Scobie and Davis at paragraph  below; and Edison Lewis v Reuben Harris at paragraph  below
 See William Williams v Emmanuel Giraudy at paragraph  below; and Cato v Allen at paragraph  below; and Donald Halstead v Henderson Simon at paragraph  below and Dean Jonas v Jacqui Quinn-Leandro at para  below; and Jacqui Quinn-Leandro v Dean Jonas at paragraph  below;
 See Lindsay Grant v Rupert Herbert, at paragraph  below; and Ferdinand Frampton v Ian Pinard at paragraph  below; and John Abraham v Kelver Darroux at paragraph  below; and Emery Robertson v Hudson Tannis at paragraph  below
 See Waple Nedd v Vernon Simon at paragraph  below; and Charles Savarin v John Williams at paragraph  below
 Parker, p. 671
 Kennedy Simmonds v Anthony Ribeiro [2 OECS Law Reports 165], per Cecil Hewlett J, from St Kitts
 Anthony Ribeiro v Kennedy Simmonds [2 OECS Law Reports 179], per Sir Maurice Davis CJ, delivered 13 March 1979, from St Kitts
 The West Indies Associated States Supreme Court (St Christopher, Nevis and Anguilla) Act, 1975, sections 11(1) and 6(3)
 Michael Browne v Yvonne Francis-Gibson (Civ App No 11 of 1994), per Sir Vincent Floissac CJ, unreported, from St Vincent
 See George Prime v Elvin Nimrod at paragraph  below
 Then a High Court Judge, but later a Justice of Appeal
 See Lindsay Grant v Rupert Herbert at paragraph  below
 Elections Act, RSA c E30
 A bright young lawyer representing a disappointed candidate may one day successfully challenge them as an infringement of the “fair trial” provisions of the Constitution
 See Stevens v Walwyn at paragraph  below
 Terence Henry v Leonard O’Loughlin (Civ No ? of 1999), per Neville Smith J, from St Kitts, unreported
 Terence Henry v Leonard O’Loughlin (Civ App 12/1999), from St Kitts, unreported
 Radix v Gairy (1978) 25 WIR 553, per Sir Maurice Davis CJ, delivered 19 September 1978, from Grenada
 Cherita Clarke v Wingrove George [SKBHCV2013/0331-0339], per Darshan Ramdhani J, delivered 27 August 2014, from St Kitts
 William Williams v Emanuel Giraudy et al (Civ No ? of 1975) per Bruno J, delivered 10 January 1975, from St Lucia
 William Williams v Emanuel Giraudy and Eudes Bourne (1975) 22 WIR 532; per Sir Maurice Davis CJ, delivered 10 January 1975, from St Lucia
 William Williams v Emanuel Giraudy and Eudes Bourne (1978) 25 WIR WIAS 529, with separate judgments by Elwyn St Bernard JA and Neville Berridge JA [AG], delivered 27 February 1978, from St Lucia
 By section 41(2) of the Anguilla Constitution 1982, see paragraph  above
 See Section 41(2) of the Anguilla Constitution 1982
 See Daven Joseph v Chandler Codrington at paragraph  below
 See George Prime v Elvin Nimrod at paragraph  below
 See Michael Browne v Yvonne Francis-Gibson at paragraph  above
 See Ethlyn Smith v Delores Christopher at paragraph  below
 See Ethlyn Smith v Delores Christopher at paragraph  below
 See Shemilita Joseph v Sherwin Bowen at paragraph  below; and Daven Joseph v Chandler Codrington at paragraph  below
 See William Williams v Emanuel Giraudy at paragraph  above
 Stevens v Walwyn (1967) 12 WIR 51, per Elwyn St Bernard JA, delivered 26 July 1997, from Nevis
 Then a High Court Judge, later a Justice of Appeal
 St John Payne v Roy Jones 1984 (Civ No 19 of 1984) per Satrohan Singh J, from St Kitts, unreported
 Then a High Court Judge, later Chief Justice of Belize
 Shemilita Joseph v Sherwin Bowen et al (Civ No 40 of 1999), per Kenneth Benjamin J, from Antigua, unreported
 Then a High Court Judge, but later Sir Hugh Rawlins, CJ
 Ethlyn Smith v Delores Christopher & Supervisor of Elections; and Reeial George and Irene Penn-O’Neal v Eileen Parsons; and Paul Wattley v Supervisor of Elections [BVIHCV2003/0097, 0098], per Hugh Rawlins J; delivered 23 July 2003, from the Virgin Islands
 George Prime v Elvin Nimrod [GDAHCV2003/251], per Charmaine Pemberton J, delivered 19 March 2004, from Grenada
 Then a High Court Judge, but later a Justice of Appeal
 Beal v Smith (1865) LR 4CP 145
 Atkins Court Forms, 2nd Edition, Vol 18, on Elections, para 8, captioned “Election Petitions, at page 129
 Halsbury’s Laws of England, 3rd Edition, Vol 14 on Elections at para 444 on “Contents and form of petition”
 Lindsay Grant v Rupert Herbert et al [SKBHCV2004/0182]; Eugene Hamilton v Cedric Liburd [SKBHCV2004/0183]; Glenroy Blanchette v Earl Martin [SKBHCV2004/0184], per Davidson Baptiste J, delivered 27 July 2005, from St Kitts, unreported
 See Anthony Ribeiro v Kennedy Simmonds at paragraph  above
 See Beal v Smith at paragraph  above
 Ferdinand Frampton v Ian Pinard et al [DOMHCV2005/0149], per Hugh Rawlins J, delivered 28 October 2005, from Dominica
 Later, as a member of the Privy Council, styled the Rt Hon Sir Dennis Byron CJ, and presently the President of the Caribbean Court of Justice
 Thomas v Stoutt (1997) 55 WIR 112, per Dennis Byron CJ [AG], from the Virgin Islands
 See Thomas v Stoutt at paragraph  above
 Duporte v Freeman (1968)11 WIR 497, per Allen Lewis CJ, from St Kitts
 Then a High Court Judge, subsequently a Justice of the Court of Appeal
 See Lindsay Grant v Rupert Herbert et al at paragraph  above
 Cato et al v Allen et al (1958) 1 WIR 68, per Sir Eric Hallinan CJ, delivered 12 July 1958, from St Vincent
 Active v Scobie (1969) 13 WIR 189, per Neville Berridge J, delivered 20 January 1969, from Dominica
 Emery Robertson v Hudson Tannis (Civ No ? of 1972); from St Vincent, unreported
 Hudson Tannis v Emery Robertson (1973) 20 WIR 560, per Cecil Lewis CJ [AG], delivered 14 March 1973, from St Vincent
 Edison Lewis v Reuben Harris et al (1976) 23 WIR 170, per Elwyn St Bernard JA, delivered 29 October 1976, from Grenada
 See Lindsay Grant v Rupert Herbert at paragraph  above
 Donald Halstead v Henderson Simon et al (1989) 1 OECS LR 198, per Albert Redhead J, delivered 30 June 1989, from Antigua
 Waple Nedd v Vernon Simon (1972) 19 WIR 347, per Allen Lewis CJ, delivered 25 July 1972, from Grenada
 Charles Savarin v John Williams (1995) 51 WIR 75, per Sir Vincent Floissac CJ, delivered 31 October 1995, from Antigua
 Ronald Green v Petter Saint Jean [DOMHCVAP2012/0001], per Dame Janice Pereira C-J, delivered 11 March 2013, from Dominica, unreported
 Randolph Russell v A-G (Civ No ? of 1994), per Dunbar Cenac J, delivered 20 June 1994, from St Vincent
 Randolph Russell et al v A-G (1995) 50 WIR 127, per Sir Vincent Floissac CJ, delivered 24 March 1995, from St Vincent
 Randolph Russell v A-G (1997) 51 WIR 10, per Lord Mustill, delivered 15 May 1997, from St Vincent
 Edison James v Speaker of the House of Assembly et al [DOMHCV2010/199&200], per Birnie Stephenson J, delivered 10 June 2011, from Dominica
 Martinus Francois v Petrus Compton [SLUHCV2002/?], from St Lucia, unreported
 Hubert Henry v Donald Halstead (1991) 41 WIR 98; per Sir Vincent Floissac CJ, delivered 29 November 1991, from Antigua
 Shawn Richards v Constituency Boundaries Commission (1) [SKBHCV2013/0241], per Darshan Ramdhani J, delivered 25 November 2013, from St Kitts
 Shawn Richards v Constituency Boundaries Commission (2) [SKBHCV2013/0241], per Davidson Baptiste J, delivered 31 July 2014, from St Kitts
 Julian Prevost v Rayburn Blackmore [DOMHCV2005/?], per Hugh Rawlins J, from Dominica, unreported
 A-G of Grenada v Peter Charles David [GDAHCV2006/?], per Kenneth Benjamin J, from Grenada, unreported
 Linton Lewis v Colin Williams et al [SVGHCV2011/0019]; Nigel Stephenson v DPP et al [SVGHCV2011/0020]; Vynette Frederick v DPP et al [SVGHCV2011/0021]; Patricia Chance v DPP [SVGHCV2011/0076]; Vynette Frederick v Sonya Young [SVGHCV2011/0100]; Vynette Frederick v Sonya Young [SVGHCV2011/0115], per Gertel Thom J, delivered 15 November 2011, from St Vincent
 Sonya Young v Vynette Frederick [SVGHCVAP2011/0022]; Nigel Stephenson v DPP et al [SVGHCVAP2011/0023]; Vynette Frederick v DPP et al [SVGHCVAP2011/0024]; Patricia Marva Chance v DPP [SVGHCVAP2011/0025]; Linton Lewis v DPP et al [SVGHCVAP2011/0026], per Dame Janice Pereira CJ, delivered 31 May 2012, from St Vincent
 Despite the judgments of our Court of Appeal in Ribeiro v Simmonds per Sir Maurice Davis CJ in 1977, see paragraph  above; and Michael Browne v Yvonne Francis-Gibson, per Sir Vincent Floissac CJ, in 1997, see paragraph  above
 The Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2014
 See Lindsay Grant v Rupert Herbert et al at paragraph  above
 See Ferdinand Frampton v Ian Pinard et al at paragraph  above
 See John Abraham v Kelver Darroux at paragraph  above
 See Anthony Ribeiro v Kennedy Simmonds at paragraph  above
 See Ferdinand Frampton v Ian Pinard at paragraph  above
 The National Assembly (Election Petitions) Rules, 2014, SRO No 4 of 2014
 Rule 2
 Rule 3
 Rule 4
 Rule 7
 Rule 8
 Rule 9
 Rule 12
 Rule 13
 Rule 14
 Rule 16
 Rule 19
 Rule 21
 Rule 23
 Rule 24
 Rule 28
 Rule 29
 See the Elections Act, section 64(2), at paragraph  above