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§ 23. “The Passing of this Act.”

Before the Act 33 Geo. III. c. 13 (1793) every Act in which no particular time of commencement was specified operated and took effect from the first day of that session of Parliament in which it was passed. (Panter v. Attorney-General, 6 Brown's Cases in Parliament, 486.) An Act which was to take effect from and after the passing of the Act operated by legal relation from the first day of the session. (Latless v. Holmes, 4 T.R. 660.) But now, by 33 Geo. III. c. 13, where the commencement of an Act is not provided for in the Act, the date endorsed on the Act, stating when it has passed and received the Royal assent, is the date of its commencement. The Royal assent may be given during the course of the session, in which the two Houses of Parliament concur in it, or at the end of the session. The practice is to endorse on the first page of the Act, immediately after the introductory title, the date of the Royal assent. The Royal assent to an Imperial Act is given by the Queen in person or by commission; if by commission it is only given to such bills as may be specified in the schedule thereto.

This Act received the Royal assent on 9th July, 1900, which day is therefore the date of “the passing of this Act.” But, although that date marks the commencement of the Act, the Commonwealth is not established, nor does the Constitution take effect, until the Queen has made a proclamation under the Act and the day fixed by that proclamation for the establishment of the Commonwealth has arrived. The only immediate consequences of the passing of the Act were—(1) That the Queen in Council was empowered to issue a proclamation appointing a day, not later than one year after the passing of the Act for the establishment of the Commonwealth (see § 24, “Proclamation”), and (2) that the Parliaments of the several colonies might proceed to pass preliminary electoral laws and to make arrangements for the election of the first Federal Parliament. In the Canadian Constitution it is expressly provided that the “subsequent provisions” are not to commence or have affect until after the day appointed in the Queen's proclamation for the establishment of the union.

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