Petition to

dissolve Parish Council.

Order requires no confirmation,

the County Council, a Parish Council cannot be established, no matter to what figure the population increases.

The County Council, if they think proper, may, upon the petition of the Parish Meeting of a parish, the population of which according to the last published census is less than 200, order the dissolution of the Parish Council, and from and after the date of the order the Act will apply to that parish as to a parish not having a Parish Council. The order is to make such provision as appears necessary for carrying it into effect, and for the disposal and adjustment of the property, rights, and liabilities of the Parish Council. Where a petition for such an order is rejected, another petition for the same purpose may not be presented within two years from the presentation of the previous petition (s. 39 (2)). The Parish Council can only be dissolved if the Parish Meeting petition the County Council; but it will be optional with the County Council to dissolve a Parish Council.

Owing to the changes in the Bill consequent on the raising of the limit of population in section I from 200 to 300 by the House of Lords not having been made, there is no provision in the Act for dissolving a Parish Council where the population is between 200 and 300.

An order establishing or dissolving a Parish Council is by section 36 (10) to be deemed to be an order under section 57 of the Local Government Act 1888.1 The order does not require the confirmation of the Local Government Board (s. 40).

1 See page 192.


Powers of Parish Council-Appointment of Overseers and Assistant Overseers-Other Parish OfficersTransfer of Powers of Vestry, Churchwardens, and Overseers-Parish Property--Additional Powers of Parish Council-Borrowing Powers-Expenses -Custody of Parish Books and DocumentsParochial Charities-Place of Meeting for Parochial Purposes.


THE Local Government Act, 1894, transfers from the Justices, Vestry, Transfer of Overseers, and Churchwardens and Overseers to the Parish Council, and in some cases to the Parish Meeting of a parish without a separate Parish Council,1 certain powers, and confers on the Parish Council many additional powers.


All enactments in any Act, whether general, or local and personal, Construction of relating to any powers, duties, or liabilities so transferred, are, subject to the provisions of the Act, and, so far as circumstances admit, to be construed as if any reference therein to Justices or to the Vestry, or to the Overseers, or to the Churchwardens and Overseers, referred to the Parish Council or Parish Meeting as the case requires, and such enactments are to be construed with such modifications as may be necessary for carrying the Act into effect (s. 52 (5)).


assistant over

The power and duty of appointing overseers of the poor, and the Overseers and power of appointing and revoking the appointment of an assistant seers. overseer for every rural parish having a Parish Council, is transferred to and vested in the Parish Council (s. 5 (1)), and for every rural parish not having a separate Parish Council (subject to the provisions of any grouping order) to the Parish Meeting.' (s. 19 (5)). The Parish Council are required to appoint the overseers at their Appointment of annual meeting 2 after the chairman has been elected (Sched. 1, Part 2, r. 3.) But a valid appointment of overseers, subject to the power given to the guardians to make the appointment, if no notice has been received by them within three weeks after the 15th of April in each year of the appointment by the Parish Council, might, no doubt be made at a subsequent meeting of the Parish Council, as the enactment

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Appointment of which required the justices to appoint the overseers within fourteen days after the 25th of March, was held to be directory only in Rex v. Sparrow, 2 Str. 1,123; Reg. v. Justices of Staffordshire, 10 L. J. M. C. 166. No direction as to the time for the appointment of the overseers by the Parish Meeting of a parish without a separate Parish Council is given by the Act. It would be convenient for them to make the appointment at their annual assembly1 and in any case it should be made not later than within three weeks after the 15th day of April (s. 50).

Casual vacancy.

First appoint

ment of overseers.

Notice of appoint

ment to


Failure to give notice.

Churchwardens cease to be overseers.

A casual vacancy in the office of overseer is to be filled by the Parish Council as soon as may be (s. 5 (1) ).

Where the Parish Meeting have the power of appointing the overseers, they also should fill any casual vacancy as soon as possible.

The first ordinary appointment of overseers under the new Act will be made at the annual meetings of the Parish Council or Parish Meeting, as the case may be, in 1895, and until then the overseers appointed by the justices in 1894 will hold office. A casual vacancy

in the office of overseer after the Parish Council comes into office, or the Parish Meeting is constituted, should be filled by that Council or Meeting, as the case may be, but until then the filling of any casual vacancy would rest with the justices under the Poor Relief Act, 1743 (17 Geo. II. c. 38), s. 3. If the Parish Council or Parish Meeting determine in the period between the appointed day and the first ordinary appointment of overseers that to replace the churchwardens, who will cease to be overseers, an additional number of overseers should be appointed under section 5 (2), there seems no reason why the appointment of the additional overseers should not be made at once by the Parish Council or Meeting without waiting until a new body of overseers is appointed.

Written notice, in the form prescribed by the Local Government Board, of the appointment of overseers, or of the filling of a casual vacancy is to be forthwith given by the appointing Council or Meeting to the Board of Guardians (s. 5 (1)).

If notice of the appointment of overseers is not received by the guardians within three weeks after the 15th of April (that is, on or before the 6th of May), or after the occurrence of a vacancy in the office of overseer, as the case may be, the guardians must make the appointment or fill the vacancy, and any overseer appointed by the guardians will supersede any overseer previously appointed whose appointment has not been notified. Any such notice will be admissible as evidence that the appointment has been duly made (s. 50).

From the appointed day the churchwardens of every rural parish

1 See page 14.


will cease to be overseers, and an additional number of overseers
be appointed to replace the churchwardens, and references in any Act
to the churchwardens and overseers will, as respects any rural parish,
except so far as those references relate to the affairs of the Church, be
construed as references to the overseers (s. 5 (2)).

The provision, it will be noticed, does not except references relating to ecclesiastical charities.

Churchwardens cease to be Overseers.

appoint assistant

No appointment of assistant overseer is to be made by guardians Guardians not to from and after the appointed day (s. 81 (6)), but all existing assistant overseers. overseers retain office (s. 81 (4)).

Under the Poor Relief Act, 1601 (43 Eliz. c. 2, s. 1), the churchwardens of every parish, and four, three, or two substantial householders there (as shall be thought meet, having respect to the proportion and greatness of the same parish and parishes), to be nominated yearly by two justices, were to be called Overseers of the Poor. A person who is not a householder of the parish, provided he is assessed to the poor rate of the parish, and is a householder resident within two miles from the church or chapel of the parish, or where there is no church or chapel, resident within one mile from the boundary of the parish, may, with his consent, be appointed overseer [Poor Relief Act, 1819, (59 Geo. III. c. 12), s. 6]. Where two overseers cannot be conveniently appointed from the inhabitant householders in any parish, one overseer only may be appointed; and where there is no such householder liable or fit to be appointed, some inhabitant householder of an adjoining parish willing to be overseer, either with or without an annual salary, to be paid out of the poor rate is to be appointed from year to year as may be found necessary [Poor Law Amendment Act, 1866, (29 & 30 Vict. c. 113), s. 11].

After the appointed day the number of overseers appointed may be six, two being in place of the churchwardens (Local Government Act, 1894, s. 5 (2)). A person who is churchwarden may be appointed an an overseer (29 & 30 Vict. c. 113, S. 12), although a churchwarden is not as such an overseer (Local Government Act, 1894, s. 5 (2)). There will be no nomination of persons fit to serve the office of overseer by the Parish Meeting of a parish with a separate Parish Council. The practice which prevailed in many parishes of nominating at a Vestry Meeting persons from whom the justices might appoint overseers was not based upon statutory authority, and the justices were not bound to appoint overseers from among the persons so nominated.

Number of

overseers and qualifications


The interpretation to be given to the expression "substantial "Substantial householder" must depend upon the circumstances of a parish. In a parish with only three houses and no opulent householders, the appointment of a labourer has been upheld, and there is nothing in the nature of the office to render a woman incompetent.-Rex v. Stubbs (2 T. R. 395).

Overseers not entitled to remuneration.

Appeal to

Death of overseer, or removal from parish.

Exempted persons.

Disqualified persons.

An overseer, other than one appointed with a salary under 29 & 30 Vict. c. 113, S. 11, for an adjoining parish is not legally entitled to any remuneration for his personal services. No security can be required from an overseer for the due discharge of his duties. It is a misdemeanour for a person duly appointed overseer to refuse to serve-Rex v. Jones (2 Str. 1,146; 2 Sess. Ca. 153). A person aggrieved by being appointed, and also the parishioners aggrieved by an appointment may appeal to quarter sessions (43 Eliz. c. 2, s. 5). -Rex v. Forrest (5 T. R. 58).

On the death of an overseer or his removal from the parish, or on his insolvency, another may be appointed in his stead to continue in office until new overseers are appointed. Before removing from the parish, an overseer must deliver over to some other overseer all rates, assessments, books, papers, sums of money, and other things concerning his office. In the case of an overseer dying whilst in office, his personal representative must within 40 days of his death deliver over all things concerning his office to some other overseer, and pay out of the assets left by the overseer all sums received by and due from him by virtue of his office, before any of his other debts are paid and satisfied (17 Geo. II. c. 38, s. 3.)

The following persons are exempt from being appointed overseers, or exonerated from being compelled to serve the office :-Persons in Holy Orders, Roman Catholic Priests (31 Geo. III. c. 32, s. 8); Dissenting Ministers employed solely as teachers or preachers, and having no other employment except that of schoolmaster (1 Will. & Mary c. 18, s. 8; 52 Geo. III. c. 155, s. 9); Income-tax Commissioners (5 & 6 Vict. c. 35, s. 35); Commissioners and Officers of Inland Revenue (53 & 54 Vict. c. 21, s. 8); Customs Officers (39 & 40 Vict. c. 36, s. 9); Officers of the Post Office (7 Will. IV. & 1 Vict. c. 33, s. 12); Registrars of Births and Deaths, and Registrars of Marriages (7 Will. IV. & 1 Vict. c. 22, s. 18); Factory and Workshop Inspectors (41 & 42 Vict. c. 16, s. 67); Medical Practitioners (32 Hen. VIII. c. 40; 6 & 7 Will. & Mary c. 4, S. 2; 18 Geo. II. c. 15, S. IO; 21 & 22 Vict. c. 90, s. 35); Dentists (41 & 42 Vict. c. 33, s. 30); Persons in the Militia (45 & 46 Vict. c. 49, s. 41), Royal Naval Volunteers (16 & 17 Vict. c. 73, S. 8; 22 & 23 Vict. c. 40, s. 7), and Persons in the Army Reserve (45 & 46 Vict. c. 48, s. 7).

Peers and members of parliament, justices, practising barristers and solicitors, officers of the courts of law, and officers of the army and navy, even on half pay, have been held exempt from serving the office of overseer.

No master of a workhouse, relieving officer (13 & 14 Vict. c. 101, s. 8), or assistant overseer (29 & 30 Vict. c. 113, S. 10), nor any person directly or indirectly concerned in any contract for the supply of goods

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