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meeting of the parish council at which he has been present (Schedule I., SECT. 3. Part 3, Rule (2)), and to execute, and if necessary seal, at a meeting of the council, any instrument by which an act of the parish council is signified. Sub-section (9), post. A parish council may appoint one of their number to be vice-chairman, and the vice-chairman shall have the powers and authority of the chairman in his absence or during his inability. Schedule I., Part 2, Rule (11).
NUMBER OF COUNCILLORS.-A county council will no doubt have regard to the population of a parish in fixing the number of its parish councillors; the Act contains no express provision as to increasing or diminishing the number originally fixed, but as the number is to be fixed "from time to time" it would seem that no express provision is necessary. It would no doubt be the duty of a county council to consider any representation made by a parish meeting or council as to the advisability of making a change in the number of the councillors.
QUORUM.-The quorum of a parish council is such number, not less than three, as is one-third of the full number of members (Schedule I., Part 2, Rule (7)); for the purposes of a quorum the chairman, if elected from outside the council, would be counted as a member.
ACCEPTANCE OF OFFICE.-Every parish councillor must sign a declaration that he accepts the office, and in default his office is to be void. Schedule I., Part 2, Rule (1).
(2.) No person shall be disqualified by sex or marriage Sub-sect. (2). for being elected or being a member of a parish council.
MARRIED WOMEN.--This is the first statutory enactment making a married woman eligible for a municipal office in England. A female candidate must, of course, be qualified under sub-section (1). It may be added that by section 43, post, a married woman may be registered as a parochial elector, and may, therefore, be qualified as such.
(3.) The term of office of a parish councillor shall be Sub-sect. (3). one year.
The whole of the members of the parish council will go out of office every year. In this respect the parish council differs from the district council and boards of guardians, the members of which hold office for three years, one-third going out of office in each year. See sections 20, 23.
TERM OF OFFICE-CASUAL VACANCIES.-A parish councillor may, by notice in writing to the chairman of the council, resign his office (section 47, sub-section (3)), and casual vacancies amongst the councillors are to be forthwith filled up by the council, the person elected to fill such a vacancy retiring at the time when the vacating councillor would have retired. Section 47, sub-section (4), and Schedule I., Part 2, Rule (2).
(4.) On the fifteenth day of April in each year (in this Act referred to as the ordinary day of coming into office of councillors) the parish councillors shall go out of office, and their places shall be filled by the newly elected councillors.
ORDINARY DAY OF COMING INTO OFFICE.-The 15th day of April was the date upon which newly elected members of local boards formerly came into office. See the Public Health Act, 1875, Schedule II., Rule 55. It is also the date upon which newly elected guardians and district councillors come into office. See post, sections 20, 23.
A retiring parish councillor is re-eligible. Section 47, sub-section (2). If, at the annual election, any vacancies are not filled by election, the requisite number of retiring councillors shall, if willing, continue to hold office, those who were highest on the poll at the previous election having the preference. If there was no poll, the choice of which shall continue in office rests with the parish meeting, and, if not exercised by the meeting, with the chairman of the parish council (section 47, sub-section (1)). The first parish meetings for the election of parish councillors will take place on the 4th December, 1894, having been convened for the purpose of the election by the overseers. Sections 78, 84. And see the Parish Councillors Election Order, 1894, Rule 1, post. Parish councillors coming into office at this election will retire on the 15th April, 1896. Section 78, sub-section (3).
(5.) The parish councillors shall be elected by the parochial electors of the parish.
As to "parochial electors," see section 2, sub-section (1), and note, ante. The mode of election is dealt with in the note to the next sub
(6.) The election of parish councillors shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, be conducted according to rules framed under this Act for that purpose by the Local Government Board.
ELECTION OF PARISH COUNCILLORS.-The rules relating to the first elections have now been issued, and are set out in the Appendix. The main provisions of the Act which relate to the election of parish councillors are the following:-(i.) the electors are the parochial electors (sections 2, 3, sub-section (5)); (ii.) the election is to be at a parish meeting or at a poll consequent thereon (section 48, sub-section (1)); (iii.) each elector may give one vote and no more for each candidate (section 2, sub-section (2)); (iv.) the decision of the majority voting at the meeting is final unless a poll be demanded (Schedule I., Part 1, Rule (5)); (v.) the poll, if there is a poll, is to be by ballot, and the Ballot Act, 1872 (35 & 36 Vict. c. 33), the Municipal Elections (Corrupt
and Illegal Practices) Act, 1884 (47 & 48 Vict. c. 70), and Part IV. of the Municipal Corporations Act, 1882(45 & 46 Vict. c. 50), as amended by the last-mentioned Act (including the penal provisions of those Acts) are to apply, subject to the adaptations, alterations, and exceptions made by the rules above referred to, and subject to the proviso contained in section 48, sub-section (3).
(7.) The parish council shall in every year, on or within Sub-sect. (7). seven days after the ordinary day of coming into office of councillors, hold an annual meeting.
ANNUAL MEETING OF PARISH COUNCIL.-The ordinary day of coming into office is the 15th of April. Sub-section (4).
The first parish councillors elected under the Act will come into office in December, 1894, and the first meeting of the parish council is to be convened by the chairman of the meeting at which the first councillors are nominated, or, in his default, by the clerk of the guardians. Sections 84, 78. No time for which such first meeting is to be convened is specified by the Act, but it would seem that upon the analogy of the provision in the text, it ought to be convened for a day not later than seven days after the day when the first councillors come into office. If any difficulty arises as to the first meeting of a parish council the county council may order the holding of the meeting and may fix a date. Section 80.
The first annual meeting will, it seems, not be held until April, 1895; the councillors elected in December, 1894, will not retire until April, 1896.
The first business at the annual meeting will be the election of a chairman and the appointment of overseers. Schedule I., Part 2, Rule (3). Notice of the appointment of overseers must be given to the guardians of the union within three weeks after the 15th of April, and in default the guardians may appoint the overseers. Section 50. Overseers holding office at the passing of the Act will continue in office until new overseers are appointed by the parish council at the annual meeting in the year 1895.
As the annual meeting will presumably be the first meeting after the annual election, every councillor ought to make at that meeting the declaration accepting office under Schedule I., Part 2, Rule (1).
A parish council must hold not less than four meetings in the year; their meetings will be open to the public unless they otherwise direct. Schedule I., Part 2, Rule (13).
(8.) At the annual meeting, the parish council shall Sub-sect. (8). elect, from their own body or from other persons qualified to be councillors of the parish, a chairman, who shall, unless he resigns or ceases to be qualified or becomes
disqualified, continue in office until his successor is elected.
ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN.-The election of a chairman is the first business to be transacted at the annual meeting. Schedule I., Part 2, Rule (3).
'Qualified to be councillors " must, it is submitted, be taken to mean "qualified to be councillors for that parish."
As to the qualification of parish councillors, see sub-section (1) and note, ante.
As to the powers and duties of the chairman, see note to subsection (1), "Chairman of Parish Council."
As to the resignation of the office of chairman and filling a casual vacancy so caused, see section 47, sub-sections (2) and (3).
A chairman may cease to be qualified by losing his qualification as a councillor for the parish: e.g., by being struck off the register of electors, or if his qualification was residential only, by ceasing to reside within the limits prescribed by sub-section (1). He may become disqualified by incurring one of the disqualifications enumerated in section 46; for instance, by being convicted and sentenced to imprisonment with hard labour or being made a bankrupt. In either case his office becomes vacant upon being declared so by the council. See section 46, sub-section (7), post.
It will be observed that a chairman is to continue in office until his successor is elected. It follows that the chairman for one year will preside at the annual meeting in the following year, at which the first business will be the election of the new chairman. See Schedule I., Part 2, Rule (3). If the retiring chairman is not re-elected he will leave the chair as soon as his successor is appointed.
(9.) Every parish council shall be a body corporate by the name of the parish council, with the addition of the name of the parish, or if there is any doubt as to the latter name, of such name as the county council, after consultation with the parish meeting of the parish direct, and shall have perpetual succession, and may hold land for the purposes of their powers and duties without license in mortmain; and any act of the council may be signified by an instrument executed at a meeting of the council, and under the hands or, if an instrument under seal is required, under the hands and seals, of the chairman presiding at the meeting, and two other members of the council.
INCORPORATION OF PARISH COUNCIL.-Before fixing the name of a parish in a case of doubt, the county council must consult the parish
meeting of the parish, but is not bound to follow the opinion which that meeting expresses.
It is more common where a body such as a parish council is incorporated to provide that it shall have a common seal see, for instance, the Local Government Act, 1888 (51 & 52 Vict. c. 41), s. 79, as to county councils. This provision has been omitted in the present enactment on the ground that the cost of providing a seal would, in the case of small parishes, form a heavy item in their expenditure.
EXECUTION OF INSTRUMENTS.-Instruments are to be executed on behalf of the council at a meeting of the council by the chairman presiding at the meeting and two other members of the council, and if a seal is required the seals of the signatories are to suffice.
The chairman presiding at the meeting would be the chairman of the council if present, or in his absence the vice-chairman (if any) (Schedule I., Part 2, Rule (11)), and failing either of these any chairman chosen for the purposes of that meeting.
An important supplement to the provision in the text is made by Schedule I., Part 3, Rule (4), which provides that "any instrument purporting to be executed under the hands or under the hands and seals of the chairman, and of two other members of a parish council or of a parish meeting, shall, until the contrary is proved, be deemed to have been duly so executed."
(10.) With respect to meetings of parish councils the Sub-sect. (10). provisions in the First Schedule to this Act shall have effect.
These provisions (Schedule I., Part 2) are considered in their place, post. Some of the more important have been referred to in the notes to the present section.
Use of school
4. (1.) In any rural parish in which there is no suit- SECT. 4. able public room vested in the parish council or in the chairman of a parish meeting and the overseers which room. can be used free of charge for the purposes in this section mentioned, the parochial electors and the parish council shall be entitled to use, free of charge, at all reasonable times, and after reasonable notice, for the purpose of—
(a.) The parish meeting or any meeting of the parish council; or
(b.) Any inquiry for parochial purposes by the Local Government Board or any other Government Department or local authority; or