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LAW

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Originally appearing in Volume V06, Page 140 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LAW FOR '1'39 acrobats, contortionists, or circus performers, or for any dangerous performance; and the ChiIdren's Dangerous Performances Act 1879, as amended in 1897, makes it an offence to employ a male young person under sixteen and a female under eighteen in a dangerous public performance. The act of 1908 renders liable to a fine not exceeding £25, or alternatively, or in addition thereto, imprisonment with or with-out hard labour for any term not exceeding three months, any custodian, &c., of any child or young. person who allows him to be in any street, premises or place for the purpose of begging or receiving alms, or of inducing the giving of alms, whether or not there is a pretence of singing, playing, performing or offering anything for sale. An important departure in the act of 1908 was the attempt to prevent the exposure of children to the risk of burning. Any custodian, &c., of a child under seven who allows that child to be in a room containing an open grate not sufficiently protected to guard against the risk of burning or scalding is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding fro. Provision is made against allowing children between the ages of four and sixteen to be in brothels; it is also made a misdemeanour if any custodian, &c., of a girl under sixteen causes or encourages her seduction or prostitution, and any person having the custody of a young girl may be bound over to exercise proper care if it is shown to the satisfaction of a court of summary jurisdiction, on the complaint of any person, that she is exposed to such risk. The act of 1908, following legislation in many parts of the United States and in some of the British colonies, places a penalty on selling tobacco to any person apparently under the age of sixteen, whether for his own use or not. It empowers constables and park keepers to seize tobacco in the possession of any person apparently under sixteen found smoking in any street or public place, as well as to search them; it also empowers a court of summary jurisdiction to prevent automatic machines for the sale of tobacco being used by young persons. The act also contains useful provisions empowering the clearing of a court whilst a child or young person is giving evidence in certain cases (e.g. of decency or morality), and the forbidding children (other than infants in arms) being present in court during the trial of other persons; it places a penalty on pawnbrokers taking an article in pawn from children under fourteen; and on vagrants for preventing children above the age of five receiving education. It puts a penalty on giving intoxicating liquor to any child under the age of five, except upon the orders of a duly qualified medical practitioner, or in case of sickness, or other urgent cause; also upon any holder of the licence of any licensed premises who allows a child to be at any time in the bar of the licensed premises; or upon any person who causes or attempts to cause a child to be in the bar of licensed premises other than railway refreshment rooms or premises used for any purpose to which the holding of a licence is merely auxiliary, or where the child is there simply for the purpose of passing through to some other part of the premises. It makes provision for the safety of children at entertainments, and consolidates the law relating to reformatory and industrial schools, and to juvenile offenders (see JUVENILE OFFENDERS). In the act of 19o8, " child " is defined as a person under the age of fourteen years, and " young person " as a person who is fourteen years and upwards and under the age of sixteen years. The act applies to Scotland and Ireland. In the application of the act to Ireland exception is made relative to the exclusion of children from bars of licensed premises, in the case of a child being on licensed premises where a substantial part of the business carried on is a drapery, grocery, hardware or other business wholly unconnected with the sale of intoxicating liquor, and the child is there for the purpose of purchasing goods other than intoxicating liquor. British Possessions.—Legislation much on the Iines of the acts of 1889-1908 has been passed in many British possessions, e.g. Tasmania (1895, 1906), Queensland (1896, 1905), Jamaica (1896), South Australia (1899, 1904), New South Wales (1892 and 1900), New Zealand (1906), Mauritius (2906), Victoria (loos, s906). In South Australia a State Children's Department has been created to care for and manage the property and persons of destitute and neglected children, and the officials of the council may act in cases of cruelty to children; the legislation of Victoria and Queensland is based on that of South Australia. See also CHILDREN'S COURTS, EDUCATION and LABOUR LEGISLATION. (W. F. C.; T.'A. I.)
End of Article: LAW
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ANTOINE LAURENT LAVOISIER (1743-1794)
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