Morgan v Simpson

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Morgan v Simpson
CourtCourt of Appeal
Citation(s)[1975] QB 151; [1974] 3 WLR 517; [1974] 3 All ER 722; 72 LGR 715; (1974) 118 SJ 736
Voting, elections, integrity, democracy

Morgan v Simpson [1975] QB 151 is a UK constitutional law case, concerning the right to vote and the integrity of votes and elections in the United Kingdom.


Gladys Morgan and four voters an election in Croydon for the Greater London Council on 12 April 1973 petitioned that the election was invalid after 44 unstamped ballot papers were not counted. At 18 polling stations, official counters had inadvertently not stamped papers with the official marks. The candidate declared ‘duly elected’, David Simpson, had a majority of 11, and if the uncounted papers were included the rival would have won by 7 votes. They claimed there was an ‘act or omission’ in breach of an officer’s official duty, and that it affected the result under RPA 1949 s 37(1).

The Divisional Court held the election was conducted ‘substantially in accordance with the law as to elections’ and the fact that small errors affected the result was not enough. Morgan appealed. Anthony Scrivener appeared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.


The Court of Appeal declared the election invalid, because the result would have been affected. On the proper construction of the Representation of the People Act 1949 section 37(1), any breach of local election rules was enough to compel the court to declare the election void.

Lord Denning MR said the following:

Stephenson LJ concurred and said the following in conclusion:

Lawton LJ gave a concurring opinion, and said the following:



  • AW Bradley, KD Ewing and CJS Knight, Constitutional and Administrative Law (16th edn 2015) 164

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