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tion by rural sanitary authorities of the powers of highway boards, as adoption under suɔh circumstances will give them useful administrative powers without adding to the burthens on the union.
Following this comes an amended provision as to the audit of accounts, which applies both to highway districts and ordinary highway parishes. By section 9 the accounts are to be made up and balanced to the 25th March in each year, and the Local Government Board have power to prescribe the form in which they shall be made up. Shortly after that date they are to be audited and examined by the poor law auditor of the district, instead of, as hitherto, by a person appointed by the board in the case of highway district accounts, or by justices at special sessions in the case of ordinary highway accounts.
A change of considerable importance is also made by the 10th section respecting the mode of compelling the repair of highways. Proceedings for this purpose have hitherto been taken before justices in petty sessions; in the case of parish highways, under 5 & 6 Will. 4, c. 50, s. 94, and in that of district highways, under 25 & 26 Vict. c. 61, s. 18. By the 10th section, however, proceedings of a somewhat similar description are authorized to be taken before the court of quarter sessions without the intervention of justices in petty sessions; and looking to the difference between the old and the new mode of procedure, it would seem that the old law. can no longer be acted upon, but must give place to the
But as neither this section, nor any other part of the Act, repeals the sections above referred to, the question of their repeal must necessarily be considered doubtful, and one which it will probably require the intervention of a court of law to solve.
The introduction of « main roads" is also an innovation which bids fair to have important consequences, though, from the peculiar language of the Act, it is doubtful whether they will be so important as at first sight may appear. By the 13th section certain disturnpiked roads are declared to be main roads, and one half of the expense of their maintenance is to be paid out of the county rate. And by the 15th section, the county authority, on the application of the highway authority, may order that any road which is “a medium of communication between great towns, or a thoroughfare to a railway station, or otherwise,” shall be a main road. It may reasonably be presumed that it was the intention of the legislature that the maintenance of all main roads should be treated alike, and that one half of the expense should in all cases be payable out of the county rate. But if that was their intention, it seems very doubtful whether it has been carried out. There is no general provision in the Act charging the county rate with one half of the expense of maintaining main roads, but only a special provision as to disturnpiked roads. So that the simple fact of declaring a road to be a main road (which is all that the Act provides for), does not necessarily carry with it any obligation on the county to contribute to its maintenance. Whether or not that obligation will be inferred from the fact of a road being declared to be a main road, remains to be seen. But certainly, so far as the language of the Act is concerned, there is nothing which necessarily imports it.
Another novelty relates to provision for the expense occasioned by “extraordinary traffic.” The 23rd section enacts that where it appears to the road authority by their surveyor's certificate that,“ having regard to the average
expense of repairing highways in the neighbourhood, extraordinary expenses have been incurred by such authority in repairing any highway by reason of the damage caused by excessive weight passing along the same, or extraordinary traffic thereon, such authority may recover in a summary manner from any person by whose order such weight or traffic has been conducted, the amount of such expenses as may be proved to the satisfaction of the court
to have been incurred by such authority by reason of the damage arising from such weight or traffic as aforesaid.” This, no doubt, will in many instances be a very useful provision. But, as pointed out in a note, post, p. 191, some difficulty will probably be found in carrying it into operation. This consideration, it may be presumed, will furnish a strong ground for inducing road authorities to act liberally in coming to an agreement as to the composition which the same section enables them to accept.
Fresh provisions are also made by section 24 as to the discontinuance of unnecessary highways, which appear to supersede those contained in the 21st section of the Highway Act, 1864, so far as relates to parishes which are situate in a petty sessional division, but leaves them untouched as to other parishes. An entirely new provision is also introduced by the 26th section, enabling the county authority to make bye-laws for prohibiting or regulating the use of waggons, &c., with wheels of which the fellies or tires are not of the prescribed width, and for other matters there mentioned.
The foregoing include the principal changes effected by the Act, so far as regards highways, but by no means exhaust the list. For the others it must suffice to refer the reader to the Act itself, which will be found more fully explained in the
notes which accompany it. Coupled with the Consolidated Abstract, there can be little difficulty in ascertaining in what those changes consist.
As regards the amendment of the Locomotive Acts, 1861 and 1865, a similar course has been adopted to that which has been followed in the case of highways. The provisions of those Acts have been incorporated with such of the enactments of the Highways and Locomotives (Amendment) Acts, 1878, as relate to locomotives. And in order to make the Abstract complete in itself, some of the enactments are set out at length, although they are common to both highways and locomotives, and are therefore included in the Highway Abstract also. Although this increases the length of the Abstract to some extent, it dispenses with the necessity for reference to another document, and thereby more than counterbalances the inconvenience arising from the trifling addition to length. By this means also each Abstract contains the whole law on the subject to which it relates, and is perfectly independent of the other.
The principal alterations made with respect to locomotives consist in a re-modelling of the regulations with respect to the weight of locomotives and the construction of their wheels (section 28), an alteration as to the making of bye-laws relating to the hours during which locomotives may pass over turnpike roads and highways (section 31), and the power conferred on the county authority to license locomotives, excepting such as are used solely for agricultural purposes (section 32).
These alterations, however, will only remain in force so long as the Locomotive Act, 1865, continues in force; that is to say, until the 31st December, 1879, or any other date to which that Act
In preparing the Abstracts many sections of the Acts which admit of division have been so arranged as to separate the various enactments they contain, and place them before the reader in the form of distinct paragraphs. By this means, it is believed, they will be more readily comprehended than in the statutable form, and many of their provisions which might otherwise escape notice will be brought distinctly under the reader's eye. In addition to this, marginal notes have been added, so as to make the paragraphs more easily intelligible. Many of these notes vary considerably from those contained in the Acts themselves, in consequence of their being so framed as to explain the contents of the various paragraphs, whereas those appended to the Acts, for the most part, merely indicate, in general terms, the subject matter of the entire section. The precise language of the Acts, too, has been occasionally deviated from, so as to give the provisions of an enactment in more colloquial phraseology, but without altering their import.
In the Acts themselves, where other Acts are referred to, the year and chapter of those Acts are substituted for the fuller and more formal description commonly used.
J. A. F.
10, KING'S BENCH WALK, TEMPLE.
5, December, 1878.