Guidance for Candidates at Parish council elections in England

Election petitions

The outcome of a parish council election can be challenged through an election petition.

Lodging an election petition

Only certain people can lodge an election petition, and only under specific circumstances.
An election petition can be presented by:1

  • someone claiming to have been a candidate at the election, or
  • at least four electors (not anonymously registered electors) who had a right to vote at the election (although they need not have voted)

The allowable grounds for a petition are that:2  

  • the successful candidate was disqualified at the time of the election
  • the successful candidate was not duly elected
  • the election was invalidated by corrupt or illegal practices
  • the election was invalidated because of general corruption or the employment of a corrupt canvasser/ agent

Normally, a petition must be presented within 21 calendar days after the date of the election.3 However, if the petition complains of corrupt or illegal practices involving the payment of money or other reward, or an illegal practice relating to election spending, further time may be allowed.

For any questions relating to election petitions, including to confirm the deadlines for lodging an election petition, you should contact the Election Petitions Office:

The Election Petitions Office
Room E105
Royal Courts of Justice

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 0207 947 6877

Fax: 0870 324 0024

There are costs attached to an election petition. If you are considering lodging an election petition, we strongly recommend that you take independent legal advice.


Last updated: 9 January 2024