The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association – The CPA was founded in 1911 at a meeting of Heads of Government in Westminster Hall as the then-Empire Parliamentary Association and its affairs were administered by the UK Branch. The original members were Australia, Canada, Newfoundland, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
FOTO – PHOTO (1924)
Westminster – Delegates at Captain Clowes’ residence
PHOTO – Taken during the Empire Parliamentary Association’s tour of South Africa in 1924. Acc No 1656 (32) – From the collections of the Parliament of South Africa
Submitted by Lila Komnick – Photographer: C F Stokes, from the South African Railways Publicity Department – 1924
As the Commonwealth modernised, so did the CPA. In 1948 it adopted its present name and changed its rules to enable all member Branches to participate in the Association’s management. It also established a separate Headquarters Secretariat to manage its affairs.
In 1989 the CPA created the constitutional posts of Patron and Vice-Patron. HM Queen Elizabeth II as the Head of the Commonwealth consented to become Patron. The Vice-Patron is normally the Head of State or Government of the Branch hosting the coming plenary conference.
Today the CPA is governed by an International Executive Committee which controls the management of activities and business of the Association. The Committee consists of 35 Members: the Officers of the Association, the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians and three Regional Representatives from each Region except Africa which, as a large Region, has six Representatives.
The Committee meets just prior to the General Assembly, to which it reports, and holds a second meeting in another Commonwealth country midway between General Assemblies.
Like the Commonwealth, the CPA continues to evolve, and in the last decade more than 50 new Parliaments and Legislatures joined or rejoined the CPA. Its newest Member is the Rwandan Parliament, which joined the CPA in 2010. This brings the total number of CPA branches to 175.
For more information on the activities of the international CPA and Headquarters Secretariat, please visit www.cpahq.org.
Involvement in the British CPA – Different people and different parties
The Guidelines were approved by the CLEA members at their 1998 Conference in
Ocho Rios and were supported at later CLEA meetings held in Malaysia, South
Africa, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom.
In June 1998, a group of distinguished Parliamentarians, judges, lawyers and legal academics joined together at Latimer House, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom, at a
Colloquium on Parliamentary Sovereignty and Judicial Independence within the
Commonwealth.The Colloquium was sponsored by the Commonwealth Lawyers’
Association,The Commonwealth Legal Education Association,The Commonwealth
Parliamentary Association and The Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association with the support of the Commonwealth Foundation, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The product of the Colloquium, The Latimer Houser Guidelines on Parliamentary and Judicial Independence were initially placed before Commonwealth Law Ministers at their meeting in Port of Spain in May 1999 and again at their meeting in St Vincent and
the Grenadines in November 2002.
In November 2002, Law Ministers gave detailed consideration to the Guidelines
which had been refined by a working group consisting of the sponsoring associations and the Commonwealth Secretariat and invited the Commonwealth Secretary
General to convene a small group of Law Ministers to work with the Commonwealth Secretariat in order to refine and develop principles based on the Guidelines
for submission to Heads of Government.
Leaders from the Executive, the Judiciary, the Legislature, Commonwealth partner
organizations and representatives of civil society from all the 18 Commonwealth
countries in Africa met in Nairobi from 4-6 April 2005.The Forum was organized
by the Commonwealth Secretariat and hosted by the Government of Kenya. The
Forum was convened to consider ways and means of promoting and advancing the
Commonwealth (Latimer House) Principles following their adoption by Commonwealth Heads of Government in Abuja in December 2003. This document represents a draft blue print prepared by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Partner organisations for such action plan.