False Return prohibited.
Returns contrary to the last Determination of the Commons adjudged false.
Whereas False and Double Returns of Members to serve in Parliament are an Abuse of Trust in a
matter of the greatest Consequence to the Kingdome and not only an Injury to the Persons duely chosen
by keeping them from their Service in the House of Commons and putting them to great Expence to make their
Elections appeare but also to the Counties Cities Boroughs and Cinque-Ports by which they are chosen and the
Businesse of Parliament disturbed and delayed thereby Be it therefore enacted and declared by the Kings most
Excellent Majestie by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons
in this present Parliament assembled and by the Authority of the same That all false Returns wilfully made of
any Knight of the Shire Citizen Burgesse Baron of the Cinque-Ports or other Member to serve in Parliament
are against Law and are hereby prohibited And in case that any Person or Persons shall returne any Member to
serve in Parliament for any County City Borough Cinque-Port or Place contrary to the last Determination in the
House of Co[m]mons of the Right of Election in such County City Borough Cinque-Port or Place that such Returne
soe made shall and is hereby adjudged to be a false Returne.
II. Party grieved to recover Double Damages and full Costs.
And bee it further enacted That the Party grieved (to witt) every Person that shall bee duely elected to serve
in Parliament for any County City Borough Cinque-Port or Place by such false Returne may sue the Officers
and Persons making or procuring the same and every or any of them att his Election in any [of (fn. 1) ] His Majesties
Courts of Record att Westminster and shall recover double the Damages hee shall sustaine by reason thereof
together with his full Costs of such Suit.
III. Officer making false Return;
And to the End the Law may not bee eluded by Double Returns Bee it further enacted That if any Officer
shall wilfully falsly and maliciously returne more Persons then are required to bee chosen by the Writt or Precept
on which any Choice is made the like remedy may bee had against him or them and the Party or Parties that
willingly procure the same and every or any of them by the Party grieved att his Election.
IV. Securities to procure Return void.
Giving such Security; Penalty £300.
And bee it further enacted That all Contracts Promises Bonds and Securities whatsoever hereafter made or
given to procure any Returne of any Member to serve in Parliament or any thing relating thereunto bee adjudged
void And that whoever makes or gives such Security Contract Promise or Bond or any Guift or Reward to procure
such false or Double Returne shall forfeit the Su[m]m of Three hundred Pounds One Third part thereof to bee
to His Majestie His Heires and Successors another Third part thereof to the Poor of the County City Borough
or Place concerned and one Third part thereof to the Informer with his Costs to bee recovered in any of His
Majesties Courts of Record att Westminster by Action of Debt Bill Plaint or Information wherein noe Essoigne
Protection or Wager of Law shall bee allowed nor any more then one Imparlance.
V. Clerk of the Crown to enter single and double Returns of Members, and Alterations made therein in a Book.
All Persons may have free Access thereto; Fee; Book or true Copy thereof Evidence; Clerk of the Crown not making Entry, or altering or unduly giving Certificate or neglecting Duty; Penalty £500, and Loss of Office, and Incapacity.
And for the more easie and better proof of any such false or double Returne Bee it enacted by the Authority
aforesaid That the Clerk of the Crowne for the time being shall from time to time enter or cause to bee entered
in a Book for that purpose to bee kept in his Office every Single and Double Returne of any Member or Members
to serve in Parliament which shall bee returned or come into his Office or to his Hands and alsoe every Alteration
and Amendment as shall bee made by him or his Deputy in every such Returne to which Book all Persons shall
have feee Accesse at all seasonable times to search and take true Copies of soe much thereof as shall bee desired
paying a reasonable Fee or Reward for the same And that the Partie or Parties prosecuting such Suit shall and
may att any Tryal give in Evidence such Book soe kept or a true Copy thereof relateing to such False or Double
Returne and shall have the like Advantage of such proof as hee or they should or might have had by produceing
the Record it selfe Any Law Custome or Usage to the contrary notwithstanding And in case the said Clerke of
the Crown shall not within Six Days after any Returne shall come into his Office or to his Hands duely and fairely
make such Entry or Entries as aforesaid or shall make any Alteration in any Returne unlesse by Order of the
House of Commons or give any Certificate of any Person not returned or shall willfully neglect or omitt to performe
his Duty in the Premisses hee shall for every such Offence forfeit to the Party and Parties aggrieved the Su[m]m of
Five hundred Pounds to bee recovered as aforesaid and shall alsoe forfeit and lose his said Office and bee for ever
incapable of having or holding the same.
VI. Limitation of Action.
Provided always That every Information or Action grounded upon this Statute shall bee brought within the
space of Two Yeares after the Cause of Action shall arise and not after.
VII. Continuance of Act.
Provided alsoe and bee it enacted by the Authority aforesaid That this Act shall continue for the Terme of
Seven Yeares and from thence to the end of the next Session of Parliament and noe longer.