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(iii.) Parishes which may have a parish council at the discretion of the county council, but not without the consent of the parish meeting, viz.: parishes having a population of less than one hundred.
An exception in the case of a parish which itself forms the whole of a rural sanitary district is noted below. The references to population in this sub-section (and throughout the Act) are to the population according to the census of 1891. Section 75, sub-section (2). The machinery for constituting parish councils in the small parishes (classes (i.) and (ii.)) in which they will not come into existence by virtue of the Act itself is an order of the county council under Part. III. of the Act. See sections 36, 38, 40; but a parish council cannot be forced upon one of these small parishes without the consent of the parish meeting.
The county council may, it is conceived, act upon its own initiative as to the establishment of parish councils in these small parishes; that is to say, the county council may submit to the parish meeting of a parish a proposal for establishing a council, and if the proposal is accepted may proceed to carry it out by an order under Part 3. Or the county council may be set in motion by an application by a parish meeting to have a parish council established in the parish, but by what appears to be a strange oversight in the drafting of the Act, the power to make such an application is limited to the parish meeting of a parish which has a less population than two hundred (section 38, sub-section (4)), so that in parishes which have a population of two hundred and upwards, but less than three hundred, the parish meeting has no power to apply for a parish council, and the initiative is, apparently, left to the county council. The reason for the oversight-if such it be-is not far to seek. The minimum population which makes the establishment of a parish council obligatory in a rural parish was at a late stage of the progress of this measure through parliament raised from two hundred to three hundred, and when the figure in section 1 was altered no corresponding alteration was made in Part III. of the Act. See sections 36, sub-sections (1) (c); 38, sub-section (4); 39, sub-section (2).
Provision is made by section 39 for the future constitution or dissolution of parish councils in parishes where the increase or decrease of the population from time to time is such as to justify that step being taken, the procedure being an order of the county council made upon the petition of the parish meeting. See section 39 and notes.
One exception to the rules laid down in this sub-section as to the existence of parish councils in rural parishes must be noted. In the not very common instance of a parish forming the whole of a rural sanitary district, until the district is united to another district, and unless the county council otherwise directs, there is to be no parish council, but the district council is to have in addition to its own powers the powers of a parish council. Section 36, sub-section (4).
GROUPING PARISHES.-The grouping of two or more neighbouring (not necessarily adjoining) parishes under a common parish council
SECT. 1. (but with a separate parish meeting for each parish) is effected by an order made by the county council of its own motion (under sections 1 and 36), or upon the application of the parish meeting of a parish (section 38), but in either case not without the consent of the parish meeting of each parish proposed to be grouped; each parish is to be separately represented on the parish council for the group, and the grouping order is to make such other provisions as may be necessary for adapting the provisions of the Act to the group. Section 38. Groups of parishes may also be dissolved upon the application to the county council of the parish council of the group or of the parish meeting for any one of the grouped parishes. Section 38.
(2.) For the purposes of this Act every parish in a rural sanitary district shall be a rural parish.
As to the meaning of "parish," "rural sanitary district," and "rural parish," see note on sub-section (1), “Rural parish," ante, p. 2.
(3.) Where a parish is at the passing of this Act situate partly within and partly without a rural sanitary district, the part of the parish which is within the district, and the part which is without, shall as from the appointed day, but subject to any alteration of area made by or in pursuance of this or any other Act, be separate parishes, in like manner as if they had been constituted separate 39 & 40 Vict. parishes under the Divided Parishes and Poor Law Amendment Act, 1876, and the Acts amending the same.
APPOINTED DAY.-The "appointed day" is defined by section 84, post. See the notes to that section.
PARISHES IN MORE THAN ONE SANITARY DISTRICT. - Parishes may, at present, be situate partly within and partly without a rural district by reason of the boundary line between different rural districts or between an urban and a rural district intersecting the area of the parish. Such cases have for the most part been already considered by county councils to whom the Act (section 36) gives large powers of altering the existing boundaries of parishes and sanitary districts, with the object that each parish shall be wholly included within the same district, and each district within the same administrative county. Provision is also made for the alteration of the boundaries of poor law unions by county councils; and for the alteration of the boundaries of boroughs and of counties by the Local Government Board. Orders made by the county council as to alteration of areas are to be deemed to be made under section 57 of the Local Government Act, 1888 (see section 36, sub-section (10), post), but in order to bring this Act into immediate operation the Local Govern
ment Board have made regulations under section 80, sub-section (2), for SECT. 1. simplifying the procedure under section 57 of the Act of 1888. These regulations are set out in the Appendix to this work. By virtue of the provisions in the text, until some more permanent arrangement is made under Part III. of this Act, the parts of a parish which are situate in different sanitary districts will at once be separate parishes as if they had been so constituted under the Divided Parishes Acts.
The Acts referred to are the Divided Parishes and Poor Law Amendment Act, 1876 (39 & 40 Vict. c. 61), the Poor Law Act, 1879 (42 & 43 Vict. c. 54), and the Divided Parishes and Poor Law Amendment Act, 1882 (45 & 46 Vict. c. 58). These Acts empower the Local Government Board to constitute separate parishes out of the detached parts of a parish which is locally divided, and provide for cases where parts of one parish are isolated in another parish by the amalgamation of those parts with the parish in which they were included, except in cases where, owing to the size of the population and the wishes of the inhabitants, it may be more advisable to constitute the isolated part a separate parish. A parish so constituted under these Acts becomes a parish for which an overseer shall be appointed and (in the strange wording of the Act) "for all other lay and civil purposes to which a parish may be liable or entitled " (39 & 40 Vict. c. 61, s. 6). It would appear from section 5 of 45 & 46 Vict. c. 58 that each part of a parish hereby constituted a separate parish may become a separate school district if the Education Department so direct.
2. (1.) The parish meeting for a rural parish shall SECT. 2. consist of the following persons, in this Act referred to as Parish parochial electors, and no others, namely, the persons meetings. registered in such portion either of the local government register of electors or of the parliamentary register of electors as relates to the parish.
PARISH MEETING QUALIFICATIONS OF PAROCHIAL ELECTORSLOCAL GOVERNMENT FRANCHISE.-The right to vote at the election of members of a county council is regulated by the County Electors Act, 1888 (51 Vict. c. 10), which extends the burgess qualification (enacted by section 9 of the Municipal Corporations Act, 1882 (45 & 46 Vict. c. 50)), to county electors outside municipal boroughs, and also entitles persons to vote as county electors who are possessed of the ten pounds occupation qualification as defined by the Registration Act, 1885 (48 & 49 Vict. c. 15). See the notes to section 44, post.
MARRIED WOMEN.-An important extension of the local government franchise is made by this Act. Under the law as it existed up to the passing of this Act sex was no disqualification in the case of a female otherwise entitled to be on a local government register, but the disability of coverture still remained. (R. v. Harrald, L. R. 7 Q. B. 361; 41 L. J. Q. B. 173; 26 L. T. (N.S.) 616; 20 W. R. 328; 36 J. P,
438.) That disability is now removed, and "for the purposes of this Act a woman shall not be disqualified by marriage for being on any local government register of electors, or for being an elector of any local authority, provided that a husband and wife shall not both be qualified in respect of the same property." See post, section 43.
PARLIAMENTARY FRANCHISE.-The register of Parliamentary voters consists of persons possessed of the franchise as owners (freeholders and leaseholders whose interest is of a certain annual value) and occupiers (including inhabitant householders, lodgers, and persons possessed of the "service franchise").
The register of the parochial electors of a parish is to be made up from these two registers in the manner provided by section 44 (see that section and notes, post), and no person whose name is not on the parochial register is to be entitled to attend the parish meeting or vote as a parochial elector (section 44, sub-section (1), post).
PARISH MEETING AND VESTRY MEETING.-It is to be noticed that the constitution of the parish meeting differs materially from the constitution of the parish vestry, many of the powers of which it will exercise. The vestry consisted of inhabitants of the parish rated to the relief of the poor (58 Geo. 3, c. 69; 59 Geo. 3, c. 85; 16 & 17 Vict. c. 65), but including occupiers of premises for which the owner was rated or paid the rates under the Poor Rate Assessment and Collection Act, 1869 (32 & 33 Vict. c. 41). The parish meeting will include on the one hand owners who do not reside in the parish, and on the other lodgers and persons having the service franchise who do not contribute to the rates.
Where a parish is divided into wards or parts the persons entitled to vote at the parish meeting held for a ward or part are the parochial electors registered in respect of qualifications in that ward or part (section 49).
(2.) Each parochial elector may, at any parish meeting, or at any poll consequent thereon, give one vote and no more on any question, or, in the case of an election, for each of any number of persons not exceeding the number to be elected.
VOTING AT PARISH MEETING.-The method of voting at a parish meeting differs from that which has hitherto obtained at meetings of a vestry where the right to vote is adjusted upon a scale regulated in proportion to the amount at which the voter is assessed to the poor rate, each voter having one vote, and some as many as six. See 58 Geo. 3, c. 69, s. 3; 59 Geo. 3, c. 85, s. 2.
At a parish meeting each elector will have the right to give one vote and no more, irrespective of the value of his qualifying property.
"POLL CONSEQUENT THEREON."-As to polls consequent on parish meetings, see post, sub-section (5), and note.
(3.) The parish meeting shall assemble at least once in SECT. 2. every year, and the proceedings of every parish meeting Sub-sect. (3). shall begin not earlier than six o'clock in the evening.
TIME AND HOUR OF ASSEMBLY.-Section 45 of the Act contains supplemental provisions as to parish meetings. It provides that, subject to the provisions of the Act, they shall be held on such days, and at such times and places, as may be fixed by the parish council, or, if there is no parish council, by the chairman of the parish meeting.
The same section further provides that the chairman of the parish council, or any two parish councillors, or the chairman of the parish meeting, or any six parochial electors may at any time convene a parish meeting.
It appears from the text, and from Schedule I., Part 1, Rule (1), post, that whether meetings are held at other times or not, a meeting must be held at least once in each year, on the 25th of March, or within seven days before or after that day, and, presumably, such meeting must be the one at which the parish councillors are to be elected, as provided by the next section.
The first parish meeting of a parish will be convened by the overseers of the parish for the 4th December, 1894, which is the day fixed by the Parish Councillors Election Order, 1894, for the parish meeting for the first election of parish councillors, and will if there is to be a parish council for the parish proceed to elect it. Sections 78, 84. In parishes where there is to be no parish council the date of the first parish meeting will be fixed by the Local Government Board under section 84. Such date has not yet been fixed, but it must be subsequent to the 30th of November, 1894, on which day the register of parochial electors come into operation. See the Registration Acceleration Act, 1894 (57 & 58 Vict. c. 32), s. 1.
The hour at which the parish meeting is to be held should be noticed. In the case of vestry meetings, the time of holding the meeting is fixed by the vicar or churchwardens of the parish or both. See Reg. v. The Vicar and Churchwardens of Tottenham, 4 Q. B. D. 367. The provision in the text has evidently been inserted with the view of removing any grievance caused by the holding of vestry meetings during the working-hours of the day, whereby some of the ratepayers may have been prevented from attending.
(4.) Subject to the provisions of this Act as to any Sub-sect. (4). particular person being the chairman of a parish meeting,
the meeting may choose their own chairman.
CHAIRMAN OF PARISH MEETING.-At a vestry meeting the vicar, rector, or perpetual curate, presides by virtue of his office.
The provisions of the Act above referred to are contained in section 45, sub-section (2). It is there provided that if the chairman