Sharma & Ors v. The Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago (Trinidad and Tobago )  UKPC 41 (20 June 2007)
Privy Council Appeal No 73 of 2006
Chandresh Sharma and others Appellants
The Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago Respondent
THE COURT OF APPEAL OF
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
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JUDGMENT OF THE LORDS OF THE JUDICIAL
COMMITTEE OF THE PRIVY COUNCIL
Delivered the 20th June 2007
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Present at the hearing:-
Lord Bingham of Cornhill
Lord Hope of Craighead
Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers
Lord Rodger of Earlsferry
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[Delivered by Lord Bingham of Cornhill]
"57. No member of either House shall take part in the proceedings of that House (other than proceedings necessary for the purposes of this section) until he has made and subscribed before that House the oath of allegiance, so however that the election of a Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and the election of a President of the Senate and Vice-President of the Senate may take place before the members of the House of Representatives, or the members of the Senate, as the case may be, have made and subscribed such oath."
This provision is reinforced by Rule 2 of the Standing Orders of the House 1961. Sections 140-141 of the Constitution are central to this appeal. They provide:
"140. (1) There shall be a Salaries Review Commission which shall consist of a Chairman and four other members all of whom shall be appointed by the President after consultation with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.
(2) The members of the Salaries Review Commission shall hold office in accordance with section 126.
141. (1) The Salaries Review Commission shall from time to time with the approval of the President review the salaries and other conditions of service of the President, the holders of offices referred to in section 136(12) to (15), members of Parliament, including Ministers of Government and Parliamentary Secretaries, and the holders of such other offices as may be prescribed.
(2) The report of the Salaries Review Commission concerning any review of salaries or other conditions of service, or both, shall be submitted to the President who shall forward a copy thereof to the Prime Minister for presentation to the Cabinet and for laying, as soon as possible thereafter, on the table of each House."
Section 136(12) to (15), referred to in section 141(2), relates to the office of Auditor-General and other prescribed offices, the office of Judge, the offices of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Chief Parliamentary Counsel and Solicitor General and certain other offices.
"91. (1) In any matter not herein provided for, resort shall be had to the usage and practice of the Commons House of Parliament of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which shall be followed as far as the same may be applicable to this House, and not inconsistent with these Standing Orders nor with the practice of this House.
(2) In cases of doubt the Standing Orders of this House shall be interpreted in the light of the relevant usage and practice of the House of Commons, but no restrictions which the House of Commons has introduced by Standing Order shall be deemed to extend to this House or its Members until the House has provided by Standing Order for such restriction."
This is a provision of obvious relevance since the most recent (23rd, 2004) edition of Erskine May's Treatise on The Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament describes the UK practice very clearly on pages 27-28:
"The salary of a Member becomes payable when he takes the oath or makes the affirmation required by law, and begins from the day following that on which the poll is held … A Member who has not taken the oath within six months of the return of his writ to the Clerk of the Crown is not entitled to claim any salary prior to the date he takes the oath … A person who is a Member at the time of a dissolution of Parliament continues to receive his salary until the end of the day of the poll in the consequent general election."