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Proceedings of borough is locally situated, even in the case where the borough forms a part of a county for the purpose of justices under section 59 (2) of the Local Government Act, 1888.
Oaths of office of justice.
Solicitor and High Sheriff disqualified.
Licensed premises prohibited.
Appointment of committee.
The oaths required by law to be taken by a justice other than the oath respecting the qualification by estate are the oath of allegiance and the judicial oath [Promissory Oaths Act, 1868 (71 & 72 Vict. c. 72) s. 6]. The oaths are to be taken before such persons as Her Majesty may from time to time appoint; or before the Lord Chancellor, or in a Division of the High Court in open court before one or more of the judges, or in open court at the general or quarter sessions of the peace for the county [Promissory Oaths Act, 1871 (34 & 35 Vict. c. 48) s. 2]. No person is capable of becoming or being a justice for any county in which he practices and carries on the profession or business of an attorney, solicitor, or proctor (34 Vict. c. 18). The High Sheriff, during his term of office as sheriff, is also disqualified from acting as a justice of the county [Sheriff's Act, 1887 (50 & 51 Vict. c. 55), s. 17]. Other personal disqualifications for holding the office of justice would for the most part also be disqualifications for being a district councillor, as, for instance, bankruptcy and conviction for corrupt practices at Parliamentary and other elections.
PLACE OF MEETING OF DISTRICT COUNCILS AND GUARDIANS.
No meeting of a District Council (including a Council of any noncounty borough), or of a Board of Guardians, is to be held in premises licensed for the sale of intoxicating liquor, except in cases where no other suitable room is available for such meeting, either free of charge or at a reasonable cost (s. 61).
Any Rural District Council will be entitled to use for the purpose of their meetings and proceedings the board room and offices of any Board of Guardians for the Union comprising their district at all reasonable hours, and if any question arises as to what hours are reasonable it may be determined by the Local Government Board (s. 59 (3)).
COMMITTEES OF PARISH AND DISTRICT COUNCILS.
A Parish or District Council, other than a Town Council, may appoint committees, consisting either wholly or partly of members of the Council, for the exercise of any powers which, in the opinion of the Council, can be properly exercised by committees, but a committee is not to hold office beyond the next annual meeting of the Council, and the acts of every such committee are to be submitted to the Council for their approval. Where a committee is appointed by any such District Council for any of the purposes of the Public Health Acts or Highway Acts, the Council may authorise the committee to institute any proceeding or do any act which the Council might have
instituted or done for that purpose, other than the raising of any loan Powers of or the making of any rate or contract (s. 56 (1)). A Town Council can appoint committees under section 22 of the Municipal Corporations Act, 1882 (45 & 46 Vict. c. 50).
Where a Parish Council have any powers and duties which are to Part of Parish. be exercised in a part only of the parish, or in relation to a recreation ground, building, or property held for the benefit of a part of a parish, and the part has a defined boundary, the Parish Council must, if required by a Parish Meeting held for that part, appoint annually to exercise such powers and duties a committee consisting partly of members of the Council and partly of other persons representing the part of the parish (Local Government Act, 1894, s. 56 (2)). This provision applies to a joint committee (s. 57 (5)).
A Parish or District Council, including a Town Council, may Joint committees concur with any other Parish or District Council or Councils in appointing out of their respective bodies a joint committee for any purpose in respect of which they are jointly interested, and in conferring, with or without conditions or restrictions, on any such Powers. committee any powers which the appointing Council might exercise if the purpose related exclusively to their own parish or district; but a Council are not to delegate to any such committee any power to
borrow money or make any rate. A joint committee so appointed Term of office, is not to hold office beyond the expiration of fourteen days after the
next annual meeting of any of the Councils who appointed it.
costs of a joint committee will be defrayed by the Councils by Costs. whom it is appointed in such proportions as they may agree upon, or
as may be determined in case of difference by the County Council.
Where a Parish Council can under the Act be required to appoint a Part of parish. committee consisting partly of members of the Council and partly of other persons, that requirement may also be made in the case of a joint committee, and must be duly complied with by the Parish Councils concerned at the time of the appointment of the joint committee (s. 57). In the case of a joint committee appointed by a Town Council and a Parish Council or other District Council not being a Town Council, the provision as to period of office of the committee will require the committee to vacate office twice a year, namely, in April and November, as the annual meeting of a Town Council takes place on the 9th of November.
The quorum, proceedings, and place of meeting of a committee, Quorum, whether within or without the parish or district, and the area (if any) proceedings, &c. within which the committee are to exercise their authority, are to be such as may be determined by regulations of the Council or Councils appointing the Committee; but, subject to such regulations, the quorum, proceedings, and place of meeting, whether within or
Proceedings of committees.
Vestries and District Boards.
without the parish or district, are to be such as the committee direct, and the chairman at any meeting of the committee is to have a second or casting vote' (Schedule 1, Part 4).
A minute of proceedings at a meeting of a committee of a Parish or District Council, signed at the same or the next ensuing meeting by a person describing himself as or appearing to be chairman of the meeting at which the minute is signed, is to be received in evidence without further proof. Until the contrary is proved, every meeting in respect of the proceedings whereof a minute has been so made is to be deemed to have been duly convened and held, and the committee to have been duly constituted, and to have had power to deal with the matters referred to in the minutes (Schedule 1, Part 3, rr. 2 and 3).
LONDON VESTRIES AND DISTRICT BOARDS AND WOOLWICH
The modern system of local government in the Metropolis by Vestries and District Boards under a central authority was established by the Metropolis Management Act, 1855, and remained practically undisturbed until the Metropolitan Board of Works was superseded by the London County Council under the Local Government Act, 1888. Re-arrangements of two or three districts have been made by subsequent statutes, but the mode of election and the qualifications of members of the Vestries and District Boards, and of the electors of those bodies, continued unchanged until the passing of the Local Government Act, 1894. London is a province in itself, and the problem of its local government is not one to be lightly solved. When Mr. Fowler brought in his Local Government Bill he did not propose to touch the Metropolis except so far as Boards of Guardians were concerned, but in committee he moved amendments which applied to the Metropolitan Vestries and District Boards those provisions of the Act which relate to elections and certain subsidiary matters. The Local Board of Woolwich, which is in London for the purpose of the Metropolis Management Acts, were also brought within. the same provisions.
Under the Metropolis Management Act, 1855 (18 & 19 Vict. c. 120), and its amending Acts, the parishes in London, exclusive of the city of London which is governed under ancient charters by the lord mayor, aldermen, and commonalty, are divided into two classes, which
See footnote, page 18.
The amending enactments which affect the arrangements of parishes and districts in London are the Metropolis Management Amendment Act, 1885 (48 & 49 Vict. c. 33), s. 3; the Metropolis Management (Battersea and Westminster) Act, 1887 (50 & 51 Vict. c. 17); and the Metropolis Management (Plumstead and Hackney) Act, 1893 (56 & 57 Vict. c. 55).
are respectively set out in Schedule A and Schedule B of the Act of 1885 as amended by subsequent Acts. The parishes in Schedule A, with the exception of Woolwich, are each governed by a Vestry constituted under the Act, but those in Schedule B are grouped into districts, and each district is governed by a District Board of Works. Each Vestry, constituted under the Act, of a parish in Schedule B elect the number of members fixed under the Act as the representatives of the parish on the Board of Works for the district of which it forms a part. Practically Schedule A now comprises thirty parishes, and Schedule B forty-eight parishes. The latter are grouped into twelve districts.
The powers and duties of the District Boards and of the Vestries of the parishes contained in Schedule A are very nearly the same; the duties. Vestries of the parishes in Schedule B having but unimportant duties beyond that of electing members of the District Boards. The District Boards and the Vestries of the parishes in Schedule A occupy, under the Metropolis Management Acts and the Public Health (London) Act, 1891 (54 & 55 Vict. c. 76), a position analogous in many respects to that of an Urban Sanitary Authority; their business comprises drainage, highway maintenance, the appointment of medical officers of health, the removal of nuisances, &c.
Parishes containing more than 2,000 rated inhabitants at the time Wards of parishes. of the passing of the Act of 1855 were required to be divided into wards not exceeding eight, and each ward was to have not less than 500 rated inhabitants (s. 3). Under section 41 of the Metropolis Management Amendment Act, 1862, (25 & 26 Vict. c. 102) the Metropolitan Board of Works (now the London County Council) were empowered to divide, upon the application in writing of the Vestry, or of not less than 500 rated inhabitants, a parish into wards where the population had, since the passing of the Act of 1855, increased to more than 2,000 rated inhabitants. The London County Council have also, under a local Act of 1893, powers to re-arrange wards, subject to the approval of the Home Secretary [London County Council (General Powers) Act, 1893 (56 & 57 Vict. c. ccxxi), s. 15].
The numbers of vestrymen to be elected are determined according Number of to population by section 2 of the Act of 1855. They are to be not less than eighteen or more than 120 for each parish.
A parishioner was not entitled to vote at an election of vestrymen Qualification of unless he had been rated to the poor for one year next before the election and had paid all parochial rates, taxes, and assessments due from him at the time of voting except such as had been made or become due within the preceding six months (18 & 19 Vict. c. 120, S. 16), but compound householders were entitled to vote. The election
took place at a meeting summoned by the churchwardens, and if five ratepayers demanded a poll it was taken by ballot on the next day (ss. 13 to 17). There was no plural voting.
Vestrymen were required to be occupiers of houses, lands, tenements, or hereditaments in the parish, rated to the relief of the poor upon a rateable value of not less than £40, except in a parish where the number of poor-rate assessments at £40 or upwards, did not exceed one-sixth of the whole number of such assessments, and then an elected vestryman might be rated upon a rateable value of not less than 25 (18 & 19 Vict. c. 120, s. 6: 19 & 20 Vict. c. 112, s. 8). Auditors of the accounts of the Vestries and District Boards are also required to be elected at the same time and in the same manner as the vestrymen. The same qualification was fixed for the auditors as for the vestrymen (18 & 19 Vict. c. 120, S. 11).
The term of office of vestrymen is three years, and one third of the Vestry retire annually (s. 9). Auditors are elected to serve for one year (s. 12). Elections of vestrymen and auditors take place in May in every year, as the Vestry appoint (s. 7).
The Vestry of every parish in Schedule B of the Act of 1855 are directed by section 40 of the 25 & 26 Vict. c. 102 to elect on the first Wednesday in June the requisite number of persons to be members of the Board for the district in which the parish is comprised. The members of the District Board must be qualified by rating and occupation to be elected vestrymen. They hold office for three years, and one-third retire annually (18 & 19 Vict. c. 120, S. 34). A casual vacancy in a district board is to be filled by the vestry with all convenient speed (s. 36).
The incumbent and churchwardens of each parish constitute a part of the Vestry, and vote therein, and every district rector, who constituted at the time of the passing of the Act of 1855 a part of the Vestry, also constitutes a part of the Vestry (s. 2).
It was only in the absence of the persons authorised by law or custom to take the chair that the members present at a meeting of the Vestry could elect a chairman for the occasion before proceeding to other business (s. 30). The incumbent was, according to custom, the chairman of a Vestry elected under the Act.
At every meeting of a District Board the members present were required, before proceeding to business, to elect a chairman of the meeting (s 41).
The chairman both of a meeting of a Vestry and of a meeting of a District Board of Works has, in case of an equality of votes on any question, a second or casting vote 1 (ss. 30, 41).
1 See footnote, page 18.