« ElőzőTovább »
adopted by the parishioners of parishes in a city or town with not less than 800 rated householders, Vestries were chosen by the ratepayers without plurality of votes. Vestries in some other places were constituted under local Acts. The London Vestries established under the Metropolis Management Act, 1855, possess, in addition to the ordinary powers of Vestries, very extensive powers of local government.
In modern times the powers of the Parish Vestry have been restricted chiefly to giving consent to certain administrative acts. Until the passing of the Local Government Act, 1894, the general tendency of legislation for over a century has not favoured parochial authorities; but now that the parish organisation has been remodelled on a truly popular basis the Parish bids fair to regain something of its old prestige as an integral part of our rural system of government. The Vestry in urban parishes remains as it was, and in rural parishes only are most of the civil powers of the Vestry transferred by the Act of 1894 to the Parish Council, or in parishes not having a separate Parish Council to the Parish Meeting subject to any provisions that may be made by a grouping order if the parish is grouped with any other parish or parishes under a common Parish Council. The Act confers additional powers on the new parochial authorities, and gives them more effective control over the parish officers.
The management of highway business in rural districts has previously to the passing of this Act afforded instances both of administration by single parishes, and by a group of parishes under a common authority. Formerly by the common law each parish maintained its own highways; but modern highway management is to a great extent regulated by statutes beginning with the Highway Act, 1835. Parishes for highway purposes are in many cases not co-terminous with civil parishes, and a civil parish often comprises more than one highway parish. In a parish separately maintaining its own highways the ratepayers in vestry annually elect one or more unpaid Surveyors, or appoint a paid Surveyor to maintain and repair the Highways. Highway Parishes might on application to the justices in quarter sessions be united into a district under a common Highway Board, consisting of "waywardens" elected by the vestries of each parish in the Highway District, and of such of the county justices as resided in the District. An elected Highway Board of five to twenty members might also be formed for parishes with a population of over 5,000 inhabitants. Besides Surveyors of Highway Parishes and Highway Boards for separate or for united highway parishes in rural districts, Rural Sanitary Authorities, in cases where their district was co-terminous with a Highway Board District, might by order of Quarter Sessions or of their successors (the County Council) exercise the powers of a Highway Board. The new Act provides for the ultimate transfer to
1 See page 47.
Rural District Councils of the powers and duties of these existing highway authorities. It does not affect the administration of highways in Urban Districts, which remains as now in the hands of the Councils of those Districts.
BOARDS OF GUARDIANS.
As regards Boards of Guardians, the principal changes are such as not to effect their duties in connection with the administration of the laws relating to the relief of the poor, and these remain untouched by the Act. Although for the most part parishes are grouped together, generally around some conveniently situated market town, into "unions for poor law purposes under a common Board of Guardians, there are important parishes not in union for which a separate Board of Guardians is constituted. In some instances local acts regulated the election and constitution of the body administering the poor law, but where the general law was in force the same provisions applied to the constitution of the board, whether it was elected for one parish only, or for a union of parishes. Under the Poor Law Acts a Board of Guardians was composed of elected members and ex-officio members. The elected members by an order of the Local Government Board had to be rated to the poor rate of some parish in the union (or of the parish if not in union) upon an annual rateable value of not less than £5, whilst the ex-officio members were justices of the peace resident in the union or parish, and acting for the division of the county in which the parish or any part of the union was situated. The elected guardians were chosen by the ratepayers and owners of property in the respective parishes, and plural votes were allowed, namely, one vote where the rateable value did not amount to £50, two votes where the value amounted to £50 and did not amount to £100, and an additional vote for every £50, with a maximum number of six votes. A person who owned the premises he occupied was entitled to vote both as owner and occupier, so that if rated sufficiently he might have given as many as twelve votes in all. The election was conducted by means of voting papers, which were left at the residences of the voters and afterwards collected from them. The new Act abolishes ex-officio guardians and the plural vote, directs that the elections shall be conducted under the provisions of the Ballot Act, and largely increases the electorate.
SANITARY AUTHORITIES (URBAN AND RURAL).
Urban Sanitary Authorities were of three kinds; in Municipal Boroughs, the Town Council; in Districts under Improvement Acts, the Improvement Commissioners; and in Local Government Districts, the Local Board. The Act makes no change so far as the constitution and election of Town Councils are concerned. Improvement Commissioners were elected according to the local act under which the Commission was constituted. The election of a Local Board was conducted in the same manner as that of a Board of Guardians, and the scale of voting for owners and ratepayers was the same. A member of a Local Board had to be a resident in or within seven
miles of the district, and to be seized or possessed of real or personal estate, or both, to the value of £500 in districts of less than 20,000 inhabitants, or of £1,000 in districts of 20,000 or more inhabitants; or to be rated to the poor in the district on an annual value of £15 where the district had less than 20,000, or £30 where it had 20,000 or more inhabitants. Improvement Commissioners and Local Boards become Urban District Councils under the new Act, and cease to be elected by the plural vote. There will now, notwithstanding any provision to the contrary in any local act, be no ex-officio members, and the election will take place under the Ballot Act. Some additional powers are conferred by the Act on the Urban District Councils, which for that purpose include Town Councils.
A Rural Sanitary District consisted of that portion of the area of a Poor Law Union that remained after the subtraction of any Urban Sanitary District, or part of an Urban Sanitary District comprised in the Poor Law Union. It was under the jurisdiction of the Rural Sanitary Authority, and that authority was constituted of those members of the Board of Guardians who represented the parishes composing the Rural Sanitary District, or who as ex-officio guardians resided in that district. In effect the new Act, subject to the abolition of ex-officio guardians, continues this arrangement by making the rural district councillors the representatives of the areas for which they are elected on the Board of Guardians; but the Rural Sanitary Authority become the Rural District Council, and have additional powers as to highways and other matters.
OTHER LOCAL AUTHORITIES.
Of the other local authorities, such as Burial Boards, Inspectors under the Lighting and Watching Act, Commissioners of Public Libraries, Baths and Wash-houses, &c., which exist only in parishes and other places where certain statutes have been adopted, it will be enough for the purpose of these introductory remarks to say that the general policy of the Act is to prevent the future setting up in parishes having a Parish Council of such independent authorities, and to provide that the powers of existing authorities be transferred to the Parish Councils in rural parishes, and to District Councils in urban districts. Further explanations will come more appropriately when the provisions of the Acts relating to the particular authorities in question are dealt with.
COUNTY COUNCILS, AREAS AND BOUNDARIES.
The constitution of County Councils is not affected by the Act, but their powers of control over other authorities are strengthened and enlarged. For the general purpose of providing that every parish shall be situated within one county district, and that every such district shall be within one county, extensive powers to adjust the areas and boundaries of parishes and districts are conferred on County Councils. Parishes may also be grouped and divided by County Councils for the election of Parish Councils and Boards of Guardians.
Extent of Ac
Local Government Act, 1894-Commencement-Definitions-Sundays and Holidays-Effect on Parishes in more than one Sanitary District.
EXTENT OF ACT-COMMENCEMENT.
THE Local Government Act, 1894, extends to England and Wales (s. 76) and its provisions, except where the contrary intention appears, have effect immediately on and after the date of its passing, namely, the 5th March, 1894. But the coming into operation of many of the provisions of the Act is fixed with reference to a date called “the appointed day" and the meaning which is given to that expression, is as follows
Generally "the appointed day" for the several purposes, respectively of
(a) Elections and of Parish Meetings in parishes not having a Parish Council, is the day or respective days fixed for the first elections under the Act, or such prior day as may be necessary for the purpose of giving notices or doing other acts preliminary to such elections; and
(b) Powers, Duties, and Liabilities of Councils or other Bodies elected under the Act, or other matters not specifically mentioned, is the day on which the members of such councils or other bodies first elected come into office; and
(c) Powers, Duties, and Liabilities transferred to a Council of a Borough by the Act, is the First day of November, 1894.
The first elections will be held on the Eighth day of November, 1894, or such later date or dates in the same year as the Local Government Board may fix.1
The persons elected will come into office on the second Thursday next after their election, or such other day not more than seven days earlier or later as may be fixed by or in pursuance of the Rules made under the Act in relation to their election (s. 84).
If no different day is fixed by the Local Government Board "the appointed day" for the purpose of elections and of parish meetings in parishes without a Parish Council is, therefore, the 8th of November, 1894, or such prior day as may be necessary for giving notices or doing other acts preliminary to those elections. Subject to no
1 See page 232.
2 As to these Rules, see page 221.
different day being so fixed for the holding of the first elections, and Appointed day. subject to no other day for the coming into office of persons first elected under the Act being fixed by Rules, "the appointed day" for the purpose of the powers, duties, and liabilities of the bodies elected under the Act, or other matters not specifically mentioned, is Thursday, the 22nd of November, 1894.
No power is given to alter the date fixed for the transfer of powers to a Town Council, namely, 1st November, 1894.
Expressions used in the Local Government Act, 1894, unless the context otherwise requires, have the same meaning as in the Local Government Act, 1888 (Local Government Act, 1894, s. 75 (1)); and this important rule of construction must always be borne in mind in considering the various provisions of the Act of 1894.
The definition of "parish" is excepted from this rule as being in- Parish. applicable to the new measure. That word when used in the Act of 1894 means, unless the contrary intention appears, a place for which a separate poor rate is or can be made, or for which a separate overseer is or can be appointed (Interpretation Act, 1889, s. 5 (1)). The practical effect is that every civil parish, whether known as a parish, township, or by any other designation, is a parish for the purposes of the Local Government Act, 1894.
Every parish in a rural sanitary district' (i.e., every parish not Rural Parish. within a borough, or the district of an improvement commission, or of a local board), is termed a "rural parish" (s. I (2)). Where, at "the appointed day," a parish is partly within and partly without a rural sanitary district, the part in the district becomes a separate rural parish.
Section 100 of the Act of 1888 assigns meanings to be given to Other excertain expressions, "if not inconsistent with the context." Among pressions. these expressions and meanings assigned thereto, the following are pertinent to the Act of 1894; namely—
Administrative County-This means the area for which a County Council is elected in pursuance of this Act, but does not (except where expressly mentioned include a county borough;2
Costs-This includes charges and expenses;
Existing-This means existing at the time specified in the enactment in which the expression is used, and if no such time is expressed, then at the day appointed to be for the purpose of such enactment the appointed day; Expenses-This includes costs and charges;
Highway Area-This means, as the case may require, an Urban Sanitary District, a Highway District, or a Highway Parish not included within any Highway or Urban Sanitary District;
See Introduction, page 5.
2 But see the definition of "county" in the Local Government Act, 1894, page 9.
51 & 52