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orders as to the custody of the registers and other books and documents SECT. 17. which are to remain in their existing custody; their powers are limited to the books and documents which are placed under the control of the parish council by the preceding sub-section, or of the parish meeting under section 19, sub-section (4). An order made under this sub-section will not take away from a parish council the control over the books and documents which is committed to that body by the preceding sub-section, but will regulate the exercise of that control.
18. (1.) A county council may, on application by the SECT. 18. parish council, or not less than one-tenth of the parochial Parish wards. electors of a parish, and on being satisfied that the area or population of the parish is so large, or different parts of the population so situated, as to make a single parish meeting for the election of councillors impracticable or inconvenient, or that it is desirable for any reason that certain parts of the parish should be separately represented on the council, order that the parish be divided for the purpose of electing parish councillors into wards, to be called parish wards, with such boundaries and such number of councillors for each ward as may be provided by the order.
DIVISION OF PARISH INTO WARDS.-For the definition of parochial electors, see section 2, sub-section 1. The councillors for each ward will be elected in the manner provided by section 3, substituting ward for parish. See sub-section (4), post. The result of the division will be that there will be a separate parish meeting for the election of councillors for each ward. The parish councillors for all the wards will form only one parish council, and there will still be a parish meeting for the whole parish for purposes other than the election of councillors, such as the adoption of any of the adoptive Acts for the whole parish. The parochial electors who will be entitled to attend and vote at a parish meeting or at a poll for a ward are the parochial electors registered in respect of qualifications in that ward (section 49). A parish may also be divided into wards for the election of guardians and district councillors (sections 60, sub-section (1); 20, sub-section (3); 24, sub-section (1)). It is obvious that in exercising the powers conferred by this section regard must be had to existing wards for the election of guardians.
Parish meetings for the ward may also be held for purposes other than elections; for instance, for the adoption for the ward of any adoptive Act which may be adopted for a part of a parish (see section 7, sub-section (4), and note, p. 46.
The powers of this section can only be exercised upon the application
·SECT. 18. of a parish council or not less than one-tenth of the parochial electors. In considering the application, the county council must have regard to the matters specified in this and the following sub-sections. The cases in which the order would most commonly be made would be where the parish has a very large population for a rural parish, or where the population, whether large or not, is scattered over a wide area, rendering it difficult to find a convenient place for a meeting of all the parochial electors; or where one parish contains two or more areas with separate interests, such as a parish which comprises an area with a population distinctly agricultural in its pursuits, and an area with a manufacturing or seafaring population. But, in each case, the county council must consider the circumstances, having especial regard to the matters mentioned in the text.
It should also be borne in mind that a county council may, without dividing a parish into wards, order that the consent of a parish meeting for a part having a defined boundary, and property or rights distinct from the rest of the parish, shall be required for any act of the parish council affecting the property or rights of the part (section 37, post). And see also section 56, sub-section (2), as to a committee formed for part of a parish.
(2.) In the division of a parish into wards regard shall be had to the population according to the last published census for the time being, and to the evidence of any considerable change of population since that census, and to area, and to the distribution and pursuits of the population, and to all the circumstances of the case.
See note to sub-section (1).
(3.) Any such order may be revoked or varied by the county council on application by either the council or not less than one-tenth of the parochial electors of the parish, but while in force shall have effect as if enacted by this Act.
An order revoking or varying a previous order for the division of a parish into wards ought to be made by a county council so as to come into force at the next annual election. An order varying an order for the division of a parish into wards might re-arrange the boundaries of wards.
(4.) In a parish divided into parish wards there shall be a separate election of parish councillors for each ward. See note to sub-section (1).
19. In a rural parish not having a separate parish SECT. 19. council, the following provisions shall, as from the Provisions as appointed day, but subject to provisions made by a to small grouping order, if the parish is grouped with some other parishes. parish or parishes, have effect:
(1.) At the annual assembly the parish meeting shall Sub-sect. (1). choose a chairman for the year;
SMALL PARISHES.-The parishes to which this section will apply are parishes having a population less than three hundred, and in respect of which no order establishing a parish council has been made under sections 1 and 36, or section 39, sub-section (1) or where the parish council has been dissolved under section 39, sub-section (2). Moreover, where one of these small parishes has been grouped with a neighbouring parish or parishes under a common parish council, the provisions of this section will only apply subject to the provisions of the grouping order.
EFFECT OF GROUPING ORDER.-Where such an order has been made, difficult questions may arise as to the jurisdiction of the parish council for the group and of the parish meetings for the separate parishes in the group. The language of the different sections which relate to the powers of parish councils and parish meetings is by no means clear as to the powers which each body may exercise where a grouping order has been made.
The general scheme, however, seems to be this:-The powers given by this section to the parish meeting are, so to speak, carved out of the powers which are given to a parish council by the earlier sections of the Act. Where parishes are grouped the powers of the parish meeting under this section may be augmented or diminished by the provisions of the grouping order; but as to matters which are either not confided to the parish meeting of a small parish by the Act or by an order of the county council under sub-section 10 of this section, or by a grouping order, or are by the grouping order taken from the meeting and given to the council for the group, that council will have all the powers which it would have if the group were a single parish over which it presided.
A grouping order may be made under sections 1 and 38, and must contain provisions for the parish meetings in each of the grouped parishes, and for their separate representation on the parish council, and for preserving the separate rights of each parish as to appointments of trustees and beneficiaries of charities and the custody of documents, and may provide for the consent of a particular parish meeting to any particular act of the council, and for other adaptations of the Act to the group or to the parish meetings in the group.
It seems clear a grouping order may affect the powers of a parish meeting under the present section in the direction of enlargement of those powers. For instance, while a parish meeting may under subsection (5) of this section appoint trustees of a charity in the place only of overseers or churchwardens, a grouping order under section 38 must
provide for the application of the Act as to the appointment of "trustees and beneficiaries of a charity" (generally) so as to preserve the rights of each parish; this provision certainly suggests a more general entrusting to the parish meeting of a grouped parish of the powers of a parish council as to charities, under section 14, than is contemplated by the present section.
As to the time of the annual assembly of the parish meeting see, ante, section 2, sub-section (3), and Schedule I., Part 1, Rule (1).
CHAIRMAN OF PARISH MEETING.-Whatever may be the case as to the chairman of the parish meeting in a parish where a council exists (as to which see note on section 2, sub-section (4), ante, p. 7), it is clear from the text that where no council exists the chairman of the meeting is to be elected at the annual assembly of the meeting, and is to hold office until his successor is appointed at the annual meeting in the following year; he is, moreover, re-eligible (section 40, sub-section (2)); he may resign his office by notice to the parish meeting (section 47, subsection (3)), and a casual vacancy in the office is to be filled by the parish meeting (section 47, sub-section (4)), the person elected retiring at the time when the vacating chairman would have retired; in case of his absence from or unwillingness or inability to take the chair at any assembly of the meeting a chairman may be appointed by and for the purposes of that meeting, i.e., that assembly of the meeting. Schedule I., Part 1, Rule (10). The provisions of the text as to the election of a chairman for the year at the annual assembly," must, it is submitted, be read subject to the rules contained in Part 1 of Schedule I.; under those rules a poll may be demanded at any time before the conclusion of the meeting by any one parochial elector in the case of a resolution respecting the appointment of a chairman for the year.
No qualification for the office of chairman is provided. See note on section 2, sub-section (4), ante, p. 7. It should be observed that the disqualifications mentioned in section 46 do not apply to the chairman of a parish meeting.
(2.) The parish meeting shall assemble not less than twice in each year.
ASSEMBLY OF PARISH MEETING.-A parish meeting may, however, be convened at any time by the chairman of the parish meeting or any six parochial electors, section 45, sub-section (3).
(3.) The parish meeting may appoint a committee of their own number for any purposes which, in the opinion of the parish meeting, would be better regulated and managed by means of such a committee, and all the acts of the committee
shall be submitted to the parish meeting for SECT. 19. their approval:
COMMITTEE OF PARISH MEETING.-As has been suggested (note to section 7, sub-section (1), ante, p. 41), it would be competent for the parish meeting as successor to the vestry (under sub-section (4) of this section) to appoint, under this sub-section, a committee for the execution of any adoptive Act which may be adopted for the parish after the appointed day.
(4.) All powers, duties, and liabilities of the vestry shall, Sub-sect. (4). except so far as they relate to the affairs of the church or to ecclesiastical charities, or are transferred by this Act to any other authority, be transferred to the parish meeting;
TRANSFER OF POWERS, &C., OF VESTRY.-Under this sub-section the parish meeting in these small parishes will supersede the vestry to the same extent as a parish council where it exists supersedes the vestry under section 6, sub-section (1). See notes, ante, p. 30.
It has already been suggested (note to section 7, sub-section (1), ante, p. 41) that, where an adoptive Act is already in force in one of these small parishes before the appointed day, the existing executive authority will remain, but the parish meeting will have power under the present sub-section to fill up any vacancies that may arise in the. members of that authority.
(5.) The power and the duty of appointing the over- Sub-sect. (5). seers, and of notifying the appointment, and the power of appointing and revoking the appointment of an assistant overseer, shall be transferred to and vest in the parish meeting, and the power given by this Act to a parish council of appointing trustees of a charity in the place of overseers or churchwardens, shall vest in the parish meeting;
APPOINTMENT OF OVERSEERS AND OF TRUSTEES OF CHARITIES. -See notes to sections 5, sub-section (1), and 14, sub-section (2), and notes.
The appointment of the overseers ought, it is conceived, to be made at the annual assembly of the parish meeting, and the notice of the appointment must be given to the guardians forthwith. See section 5, sub-section (1), and section 50.
The powers of the parish meeting in these small parishes to appoint trustees of a parochial charity, may be extended by an order made under sub-section (10) of this section.