The Constitution Unit


VIDEO: Nicholas Paines QC & Henni Ouahes  - Reforming Electoral Law

24 February 2015


Nicholas Paines QC - Reforming Electoral Law

Henni Ouahes - Reforming Electoral Law

Speakers: Nicholas Paines QC & Henni Ouahes (Law Commission)

28 February 2015

Electoral law in the UK has grown complex, voluminous, and fragmented, with many statutes and secondary legislation governing a long list of elections and referendums. The twin aims of the project are to ensure, first, that electoral laws are presented within a rational, modern legislative framework, governing all elections and referendums under statute; and second, that the law governing the conduct of elections and referendums is modern, simple, and fit for purpose. The Law Commission have recently published the Electoral Law Consultation Paper, which sets out provisional proposals and consultation questions for reform of electoral law.

Nicholas Paines QC was appointed as Law Commissioner with responsibility for public law on 18 November 2013. Mr Paines was formerly a leading silk in EU and public law. He sits as a Deputy High Court Judge in the Administrative Court, a Deputy Judge of the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) and the First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber) and a Recorder in the Crown Court. He is also a member of the Bar of Northern Ireland.

Henni Ouahes BA, BCL was called to the Bar in 2005. Having completed pupillage at a construction and engineering set of chambers, he joined the Government Legal Service to pursue his interest in public law. He was a case lawyer in the Civil Appeals Office with responsibility for judicial review and tribunals appeals, before joining the Law Commission for England and Wales in 2011 to work on the electoral law project, eventually publishing the scoping consultation paper and scoping report.  He has observed elections and referendums in his time at the Commission, and was employed in the context of GLA elections in Haringey in May 2011. Under the supervision of Nicholas Paines QC, the public law Commissioner, he  reviewed , with his research assistant  Gethin Thomas , substantive electoral law , and helped draft the consultation paper  published on 9 December 2014.