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Thursday, 14 December 1905

Mr GROOM (Darling Downs) (Minister of Home Affairs) . - I move -

That the following new clause be inserted : - 50A. After section 202 of the Principal Act the following sections are inserted : - "202A.- (1) No party to the petition shall, ex cept by consent of all parties or by leave of the Court, be represented by counsel or solicitor.

(2)   In no case shall more than one counsel or one solicitor appear on behalf of any party. 202B. The Court may award costs against an unsuccessful party to the petition.

Provided that the amount of costs to be paid by any party shall in no case exceed the sum of One hundred pounds."

When the Bill was last in Committee I undertook to have a clause drafted which would provide for a reduction of expense in any litigation before the Court of Disputed Returns. I think that this clause will have that effect. It) provides that no party to a petition shall be represented by counsel or solicitor except by consent of all parties, or by leave of the Court.

Mr Mahon - It would be better to say "and by leave of the Court."

Mr GROOM - The wording of the clause is the same as that in the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. The Court would not authorize the appearance of counsel if mere questions of fact were involved. In no case is more than one counsel or one solicitor to appear on behalf of any party, and the costs to be paid by any party are in no case to exceed £100, the intention being, where necessary, to allow something to the successful party to recoup him for the expense incurred in bringing forward witnesses, and in paying fees of Court, and so on.

Mr Maloney - If all parties do not agree, counsel cannot appear.

Mr GROOM - That is so, unless the Court considers that the assistance of counsel is necessary.

Mr Fisher - How will that provision be enforced ?

Mr GROOM - The Court will not be able to hear any other counsel who may wish to appear. Only one counsel may take part in the proceedings.

Mr Chanter - A junior counsel might sit in the Court and instruct the senior counsel .

Mr GROOM - Any second counsel would have no more right to take part in the proceedings than any private person, and could not obtain a fee for anything be might do.

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