A request for a ruling from the the Federal Appeals Panel

One for readers interested in the constitutional details of how the Liberal Democrats are run…

Here’s the request for a ruling I’ve submitted to the Federal Appeals Panel. Submitted not only so I can claim a prize for the most boring blog headline of the year, but also because it’s one of those details which is irrelevant 99% of the time but can then derail major issues the other 1% of the time.

I would like the Federal Appeals Panel to make a ruling on how the party’s rules should be interpreted in any cases where the Federal Constitution and rules made under it are in conflict, and similarly for any cases where the Federal Constitution and other constitutions within the party, or rules made under them, are in conflict. As this covers a large number of potential combinations of documents, if there is no simple across-the-board ruling which it is appropriate to make, I would be happy with a ruling setting out the criteria the Federal Appeals Panel decides should be used in cases of such conflict.

My reason for asking is that there is always a chance of rules being in conflict and, in particular, with the party currently reviewing its rules and procedures, there a significant chance that at some point during any resulting changes that different rules will be in conflict, either due to error or due to the different bodies voting to change different rules on different dates.

Moreover, Ruling #3 in the Federal Appeals Panel report included in the York spring conference booklet implies that where the Federal Constitution and the Federal Election Rules are in conflict (with each setting out a different electorate for a contest), it is the Federal Election Rules which should be followed. This implies that the principle to be followed is that rules made under the constitution are to be considered superior to the constitution itself. However, with the ruling not explicitly addressing this point it means we have an unclear precedent which could cause confusion in future.

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