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Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V09, Page 442 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LOCAL GOVERNMENT] employment with, by or on behalf of the council. Women, other than married women, are eligible. County councillors are elected for a term of three years, and at the end of that time they retire together. The ordinary day of election is the 8th March, or some day between the 1st and 8th March fixed by the council. Candidates are nominated in writing by a nomination paper signed by a proposer and seconder, and subscribed by eight other assenting county electors of the division; and in the event of there being more valid nominations than vacancies a poll has to be taken in the manner prescribed by the Ballot Act 1872. Corrupt and illegal practices at the election are forbidden by a statute passed in the year 1894, which imposes heavy penalties and disqualifications for the offences which it creates. These offences include not only treating, undue influence, bribery and personation, but certain others, of which the following are the chief. Payment on account of the conveyance of electors to or from the poll; payment for any committee room in excess of a prescribed number; the incurring of expenses in and about the election beyond a certain maximum; employing, for the conveyance of electors to or from the poll, hackney carriages or carriages kept for hire; payments for bands, flags, cockades, &c.; employing for payment persons at the election beyond the prescribed number; printing and publishing bills, placards or posters which do not disclose the name and address of the printer or publisher; using as committee rooms or for meetings any licensed premises, or any premises where food or drink is ordinarily sold for consumption on the premises, or any club premises where intoxicating liquor is supplied to members. In the event of an illegal practice, payment, employment or hiring, committed or done inadvertently, relief may be given by the High Court, or by an election court, if the validity of the election is questioned on petition; but unless such relief is given (and it will be observed that it cannot be given for a corrupt as distinguished from an illegal practice), an infringement of the act may void the election altogether. The validity of the election may be questioned by election petition. Indeed, this is the only method when it is sought to set aside the election on any of the usual grounds, such as corrupt or illegal practices, or the disqualification of the candidate at the date of election. Election petitions against county councillors and members of other local bodies (borough councillors, urban and rural district councillors, members of school boards and boards of guardians) are classed together as municipal election petitions, and are heard in the same way, by a commissioner who must be a barrister of not less than fifteen years' standing. The petition is tried in open court at some place within the county, the expenses of the court being provided in the first instance by the Treasury, and repaid out of the county rates, except in so far as the court may order them to be paid by either of the parties. If a candidate is unseated a casual vacancy is created which has to be filled by a new election. A county councillor is required to accept office by making and subscribing a declaration in the prescribed form that he will duly and faithfully perform the duties of the office, and that he possesses the necessary qualification. The declaration may be made at any time within three months after notice of election. If the councillor does not make it within that time, he is liable to a fine the amount of which, if not determined by bye-law of the council, is £25 in the case of an alderman or councillor, and 50 in the case of the chairman. Exemption may, however, be claimed on the ground of age, physical or mental incapacity, previous service, or payment of the fine within five years, or on the ground that the claimant was nominated without his consent. If during his term of office a member of the council becomes bankrupt, or compounds with his creditors, or is (except in case of illness) continuously absent from the county, being chairman for more than two months, or being alderman or councillor for more than six months, his office becomes vacant by declaration of the council. In the case of disqualification by absence, the same fines are payable as,upon non-acceptance of office, and the same liability arises on resignation. Acting without making the declaration, or without being qualified at the time of making the declaration, or after ceasing to be qualified, pr after becoming disqualified, involves liability to a fine not exceeding £5o, recoverable by action. The councillors who have been elected come into office on the 8th March in the year of election. The first quarterly meeting of Chairman, the newly-elected council is held on the 16th or on such ce other day within ten days after the 8th as the county council may fix. The first business at that meeting is the election of the chairman, whose office corresponds to that of the mayor in a borough. He is elected for the ensuing year, and holds office until his successor has accepted office. The chairman must be a fit person, elected by the council from their own body or from persons qualified to be councillors. He may receive such remuneration as the council think reasonable. He is by virtue of his office a justice of the peace for the county. Having elected the chair-man, the meeting proceeds to the election of aldermen, whose number is one-third of the number of councillors, except in London, where the number is one-sixth. An alderman must be a councillor or a person qualified to be a councillor. If a councillor is elected he vacates his office of councillor, and thus creates a casual vacancy in the council. In every third year one-half of the whole number of aldermen go out of office, and their places are filled by election, which is conducted by means of voting papers. It will be observed,429 therefore, that while a county councillor holds office for three years, a county alderman holds office for six. The council may also appoint a vice-chairman who holds office during the term of office of the chairman; in London the council have power to appoint a paid deputy chairman. It may be convenient at this point to refer to the officers of the county council. Of these, the chief are the clerk, the treasurer, and the surveyor. Before 1888 the clerk of the peace Officers. was appointed in a county by the custos rotulorum. He held office for life during good conduct, and had power to act by a sufficient deputy. Under the act of 1888 existing clerks of the peace became clerks of the councils of their counties, holding office by the same tenure as formerly, except in the county of London, where the offices were separated. Thereafter a new appointment to the offices of clerk of the peace and clerk of the county council was to be made by the standing joint-committee, at whose pleasure he is to hold office. The same committee appoint the deputy-clerk, and fix the salaries of both officers. The clerk of the peace was formerly paid by fees which were fixed by quarter sessions, but he is now generally, if not in every case, paid by salary, the fees received by him being paid into the county fund. The county council may also employ such other officers and servants as they may think necessary. Subject to a few special provisions in the Local Government Act of 1888, the business of the county council is regulated by the pro-visions laid down in the Municipal Corporations Act Business. 1882, with regard to borough councils. There are four quarterly meetings in every year, the dates of which may be fixed by the council, with the exception of that which must be held on the 16th March or some day within ten days after the 8th of March as already noticed when treating of elections. Meetings are convened by notices sent to members stating the time and place of the meeting and the business to be transacted. The chairman, or in his absence the vice-chairman, or in the absence of both an alderman or councillor appointed by the meeting, presides. All questions are determined by the votes of the majority of those present and voting, and in case of equality of votes the chairman has a casting vote. Minutes of the proceedings are taken, and if signed by the chairman at the same or the next meeting of the council are evidence of the proceedings. In all other respects the business of the council is regulated by standing orders which the council are authorized to make. Very full power is given to appoint committees, which may be either general or special, and to them may be delegated, with or without restrictions or conditions, any of their powers or duties except that of raising money by rate or loan. Power is also given to appoint joint-committees with other county councils in matters in which the two councils are jointly interested, but a joint-committee so appointed must not be con-founded with the standing joint-committee of the county council and the quarter sessions, which is a distinct statutory body and is elsewhere referred to. The finance committee is also a body with distinct duties. In order to appreciate some of the points relating to the finance of a county council, it is necessary to indicate the relations between an administrative county and the boroughs which are locally situated within it. The act of 1888 Relation of created a new division of boroughs into three classes; countyughto s. boro of these the first is the county borough. A certain number of boroughs which either had a population of not less than 50,000, or were counties of themselves, were made counties independent of the county council and free from the payment of county rate. In such boroughs the borough council have, in addition to their powers under the Municipal Corporations Act 1882, all the powers of a county council under the Local Government Act. They are independent of the county council, and their only relation is that in some instances they pay a contribution to the county, e.g. for the cost of assizes where there is no separate assize for the borough. The boroughs thus constituted county boroughs enumerated in the schedule to the Local Government Act 1888 numbered sixty-one, but additional ones are created from time to time. The larger quarter sessions boroughs, i.e. those which had, according to the census of 1881, a population exceeding io,000, form part of the county, and are subject to the control of the county council, but only for certain special purposes. The reason for this is that while in counties the powers and duties under various acts were entrusted to the county authority, in boroughs they were exercised by the borough councils. In the class of boroughs now under consideration these powers and duties are retained by the borough council; the county council exercise no jurisdiction within the borough in respect of them, and the borough is not rated in respect of them to the county rate. The acts referred to include those relating to the diseases of animals, destructive insects, explosives, fish conservancy, gas meters, margarine, police, reformatory and industrial schools, riot (damages), sale of food and drugs, weights and measures. But for certain purposes these boroughs are part of the county and rateable to county rate, e.g. main roads, cost of assizes and sessions, and in certain cases pauper lunatics. The county councillors elected for one of these boroughs may not vote on any matter involving expenditure on account of which the borough is not assessed to county rate. The third class of boroughs comprises those which have a separate court of quarter sessions, but had according to the census of 1881 a population of less than Io,000. All such boroughs form part of the county for the purposes of pauper lunatics, analysts, reformatory and industrial schools, fish conservancy, explosives, and, of course, the purposes for which the larger quarter sessions boroughs also form part of the county, such as main roads, and are assessed to county rate accordingly. And in a borough, whether a quarter sessions borough or not, which had in 1881 a population of less than Io,000, all the powers which the borough council formerly possessed as to police, analysts, diseases of animals, gas meters, and weights and measures cease and are transferred to the county council, the boroughs becoming in fact part of the area of the county for these purposes. It will be seen, therefore, that for some purposes, called in the act general county purposes, the entire county, including all boroughs other than county boroughs, is assessed to the.county rate; while for others, called special county purposes, certain boroughs are now assessed. This explanation is necessary in order to appreciate what has now to be said about county finance. But before leaving the consideration of the area of the county it may be added that all liberties and franchises are now merged in the county and subject to the jurisdiction of the county council. The county council is a body corporate with power to hold lands. Its revenues are derived from various sources which Finance. will presently be mentioned, but all receipts have to be carried to the county fund, either to the general county account if applicable to general county purposes, or to the special county account if applicable to special county purposes. The county council may, with the consent of the Local Government Board, borrow money on the security of the county fund or any of its revenues, for consolidating the debts of the county; purchasing land or buildings; any permanert work or other thing, the cost of which ought to be spread over a term of years; making advances in aid of the emigration or colonization of inhabitants of the county; and any purpose for which quarter sessions or the county council are authorized by any act to borrow. If, however, the total debt of the council will, with the amount proposed to be borrowed, exceed one-tenth of the annual rateable value of the property in the county, the money cannot be borrowed unless under a provisional order made by the Local Government Board and confirmed by parliament. The period for which a loan is made is fixed by the county council with the consent of the Local Government Board, but may not exceed thirty years, and the mode of repayment may be by equal yearly or half-yearly instalments of principal or of principal and interest combined, or by means of a sinking fund invested and applied in accordance with the Local Government Acts. The loans authorized may be raised by debentures or annuity certificates under these acts, or by the issue of county stock, and in some cases by mortgage. The county council must appoint a finance committee for regulating and controlling the finance of the county, and the council cannot make any order for the payment of money out of the county fund save on the recommendation of that committee. Moreover, the order for payment of any sum must be made in pursuance of an order of the council signed by three members of the finance committee present at the meeting of the council, and countersigned by the clerk. The order is directed to the county treasurer, by whom authorized payments are then made. The accounts of the receipts and expenditure of the county council are made up for the twelve months ending the 31st Marchin each year, and are audited by a district auditor. The form in which the accounts must be made up is prescribed by the Local Government Board. The auditor is a district auditor appointed by the Local Government Board under the District Auditors Act 1899, and in respect of the audit the council is charged with a stamp duty, the amount of which depends on the total of the expenditure comprised in the financial statement. Before each audit the auditor gives notice of the time and place appointed, and the council publish the appointment by advertisement. A copy of the accounts has to be deposited for public inspection for seven days before the audit. The auditor has the fullest powers of investigation; he may require the production of any books or papers, and he may require the attendance before him of any person account-able. Any owner of property or ratepayer may attend the audit and object to the accounts, and either on such objection or on his own motion the auditor may disallow any payment and surcharge the amount on the persons who made or authorized it. Against any allowance or surcharge appeal lies to the High Court if the question involved is one of law, or to the Local Government Board, who have jurisdiction to remit a surcharge if, in the circumstances, it appears to them to be fair and equitable to do so. It will be seen that this is really an effective audit. The sources of revenue of the council arc the exchequer contribution, income from property and fees, and rates., Before 1888 large grants of money had been made annually to local Revenue of authorities in aid of local taxation. Such grants repre- county sented a contribution out of taxation for the most part council. arising out of property other than real property, while local taxation fell on real property alone. By the act of 1888 it was provided that for the future such annual grants should cease, and that other payments should be made instead thereof. The commissioners of Inland Revenue pay into the Bank of England, to an account called " the local taxation account," the sums ascertained to be the proceeds of the duties collected by them in each county on what are called local taxation licences, which include licences for the sale of intoxicating liquor, licences on dogs, guns, establishment licences, &c. The amount so ascertained to have been collected in each county is paid under direction of the Local Government Board to the council of that county. The commissioners of Inland Revenue also pay into the same account a sum equal to i% on the net value of personal property in respect of which estate duty is paid. Under the Local Taxation (Customs and Excise) Act 189o, certain duties imposed on spirits and beer (often referred to as " whisky money ") are also to be paid to " the local taxation account." The sums so paid in respect of the duties last above mentioned, and in respect of the estate duty and spirits and beer additional duties, are distributed among the several counties in proportion to the share which the Local Government Board certify to have been received by each county during the financial year ending the 31st March 1888, out of the grants theretofore made out of the exchequer in aid of local rates. The payments so made out of " the local taxation account " to a county council are paid to the county fund, and carried to a separate account called " the Exchequer contribution account." The money standing to the credit of this account is applied: (i.) in paying any costs incurred in respect thereof or other-wise chargeable thereon; (ii.) in payment of the sums required by the Local Government Act 1888 to be paid in substitution for local grants; (iii.) in payment of the new grant to be made by the county council in respect of the costs of union officers; and (iv.) in re-paying to " the general county account " of the county fund the costs on account of general county purposes for which the whole area of the county (including boroughs other than county boroughs) is liable to be assessed to county contribution. Elaborate provision is made for the distribution of the surplus (if any), with a view to securing a due share being paid to the quarter sessions boroughs. The payments which the county council have to make in substitution for the local grants formerly made out of Imperial funds include payments for or towards the remuneration of the teachers in poor-law schools and public vaccinators; school fees paid for children sent from .a workhouse to a public elementary school; half of the salaries of the medical officer of health and the inspector of nuisances of district councils; the remuneration of registrars for births and deaths; the maintenance of pauper lunatics; half of the cost of the pay and clothing of the police of the county, and of each borough maintaining a separate police force. In addition to the grants above mentioned, the county council is required to grant to the guardians of every poor-law union wholly or partly in their county an annual sum for the costs of the officers of the union and of district schools to which the union contributes. Another source is the income of any property belonging to the council, but the amount of this is usually small. The third source of revenue consists of the fees received by the different officers of the county councils or of the joint-committee. For example, fees received by the clerk of the peace, inspectors of weights and measures, and the like. These fees are paid into the county fund, and carried either to " the general county account " or, if they have been received in respect of some matter for which part only of the county is assessed, then to the special account to which the rates levied for that purpose are carried. The remaining source of income of a county council is the county rate, the manner of levying which is hereafter stated. Of the powers and duties of county councils, it may be con- local authority of the acts relating to contagious diseases of animals, venient to treat of these first, in so far as they are transferred rowers to or conferred on them by the Local Government trans- Act 1888, under which they were created, and after- ferred wards in so far as they have been conferred by sub- from Sequent legislation. Before the passing of the Local quarter Government Act 1888, the only form of county govern-sessions. ment in England was that of the justices in quarter sessions (q.v.). Quarter sessions were originally a judicial body, but being the only body having jurisdiction over the county as a whole, certain powers were conferred and certain duties imposed upon them with reference to various matters of county government from time to time. The principal object of the act of 1888 was to transfer these powers and duties from the quarter sessions to the new representative body—the county council; and it may be said that substantially the whole of the administrative business of quarter sessions was thus transferred. The subjects of such transfer include (i.) the making, assessing and levying of county, police, hundred and all rates, and the application and expenditure thereof, and the making of orders for the payment of sums payable out of any such rate, or out of the county stock or county fund, and the preparation and revision of the basis or standard for the county rate. With regard to the county rate, a few words of description may be sufficient here. The council appoint a committee called a county rate committee, who from time to time prepare a basis or standard for county rate, that is to say, they fix the amount at .which each parish in the county shall contribute its quota to the county rate. As a general rule the poor-law valuations are followed, but this is not universally the case, some county councils adopting the assessment to income tax, schedule A, and others forming an independent valuation of their own. The overseers of any parish aggrieved by the basis - may appeal against it to quarter sessions, and it is to be noticed that this appeal is not interfered with, the transfer of the duties of justices relating only to administrative and not to judicial business. Wuhen a contribution is required from county rate, the county council assess the amount payable by each parish according to the basis previously made, and send their precept to the guardians of the unions comprising the several parishes in the county, the guardians in their turn requiring the overseers of each parish to provide the necessary quota of that parish out of the poor rate, and the sum thus raised goes into the county fund. The police rate is made for the purpose of defraying the expenses of the county police. It is made on the same basis as the county rate, and is levied with it. The hundred rate is seldom made, though in some counties it may be made for purposes of main roads and bridges chargeable to the hundred as distinguished from the county at large; (ii.) the borrowing of money; (iii.) the passing of the accounts of, and the discharge of the county treasurer; (iv.) shire halls, county halls, assize courts, the judges' lodgings, lock-up houses, court houses, justices' rooms, police stations and county buildings, works and property; (v.) the licensing under any general act of houses and other places for music or for dancing, and the granting of licences under the Racecourses Licensing Act 1879; (vi.) the pro-vision, enlargement, maintenance and management and visitation of, and other dealing with, asylums for pauper lunatics; (vii.) the establishment and maintenance of, and the contribution to, reformatory and industrial schools; (viii.) bridges and roads repairable with bridges, and any powers vested by the Highways and Locomotives Amendment Act 1878 in the county authority. It may be observed that bridges have always been at common law repairable by the county, although, with regard to bridges erected since the year 1805, these are not to be deemed to be county bridges repairable by the county unless they have been erected under the direction or to the satisfaction of the county surveyor. The common-law liability to repair a bridge extends also to the road or approaches for a distance of 300 ft. on each side of the bridge. Of the powers vested in the county authority under the Highway Act 1878, the most important are those relating to main roads, which are specially noticed hereafter; (ix.) the tables of fees to be taken by and the costs to be allowed to any inspector, analyst or person holding any office in the county other than the clerk of the peace and the clerks of the justices; (x.) the appointment, removal and determination of salaries of the county treasurer, the county surveyor, the public analysts, any officer under the Explosives Act 1875, and any officers whose remuneration is paid out of the county rate, other than the clerk of the peace and the clerks of the justices; (xi.) the salary of any coroner whose salary is payable out of the county rate, the fees, allowances and disbursements allowed to be paid by any such coroner, and the division of the county into coroners' districts and the assignments of such districts; (xii.) the division of the county into polling districts for the purposes of parliamentary elections, the appointment of the places of election, the places of holding courts for the revision of the lists of voters, and the costs of, and other matters to he done for the registration of parliamentary voters; (xiii.) the execution as to destructive insects, to fish conservancy, to wild birds, to weights and measures, and to gas meters, and of the Local Stamp Act 1869; (xiv.) any matters arising under the Riot (Damages) Act 1886. Under this act compensation is payable out of the police rate to any person whose property has been injured, stolen or destroyed by rioters; (xv.) the registration of rules of scientific societies, the registration of charitable gifts, the certifying and recording of places of religious worship, the confirmation and record of the rules of loan societies. These duties are imposed under various statutes. In addition to the business of quarter sessions thus transferred, there was also transferred to the county council certain business of the justices of the county out of session, that is to say, in petty or special sessions. This business consists of the licensing of houses or places for the public performance of stage plays, and the execution, as local authority, of the Explosives Act 1875. Power was given by the act to the Local Government Board to provide, by means of a provisional order, for transferring to county councils any of the powers and duties of the various central authorities which have been already referred to; but although such an order was at one time prepared, it has never been confirmed, and nothing has been done in that direction. Apart from the business thus transferred to county councils, the act itself has conferred further powers or imposed further duties with reference to a variety of other matters, some of Police. which must be noticed. But before passing to them it is necessary here to call attention to one important subject of county government which has not been wholly transferred to the county council, namely, the police. It was matter of considerable discussion before the passing of the act whether the police should remain under the control of the justices, or be transferred wholly to the control of the county council. Eventually a middle course was taken. The powers, duties and liabilities of the quarter sessions and justices out of session with respect to the county police were vested in the quarter sessions and the county council jointly, and are now exercised through the standing joint-committee of the two bodies. That committee consists of an equal number of members of the county council and of justices appointed by the quarter sessions, the number being arranged between the two bodies or fixed by the secretary of state. The committee are also charged with the duties of appointing or removing the clerk of the peace, and they have jurisdiction in matters relating to justices' clerks, the provision of accommodation for quarter sessions or justices out of session, and the like, and their expenses are paid by the county council out of the county fund. The standing joint-committee have power to divide their county into police districts, and, when required by order in council, are obliged to do so. In such a case, while the general expenditure in respect of the entire police force is defrayed by the county at large, the local expenditure, i.e. the cost of pay, clothing and such other expenses as the joint-committee may direct, is defrayed at the cost of the particular district for which it is incurred (see also PoLIcE). Among the powers and duties given to county councils by the Local Government Act 1888, the first to be mentioned, following the order in the act itself, is that of the appointment County of county coroners. The duties of a coroner are limited coroaers. to the holding of inquiries into cases of death from causes suspected to be other than natural, and to a few miscellaneous duties of comparatively rare occurrence, such as the holding of inquiries relating to treasure trove, and acting instead of the sheriff on inquiries under the Lands Clauses Act, &c., when that officer is interested and thereby disabled from holding such inquiries. (For the history of the office of coroner, which is a very ancient one, see that title.) The county council may appoint any fit person, not being a county alderman or county councillor, to fill the office, and in the case of a county divided into coroners' districts, may assign him a district. It has been decided, however, that the power hereby conferred does not extend to the appointment of a coroner for a liberty or other franchise who would not under the old law have been appointed by the freeholders. It may be mentioned that though a coroner may have a district assigned to him, he is nevertheless a coroner for the entire county throughout which he has jurisdiction. It was provided by the Highway Act 1878 that every road which was disturnpiked after the 31st of December 1870 should be deemed to be a main road, the expenses of the repair and main- Main tenance of which were to be contributed as to one-half roads. thereof by the justices in quarter sessions, then the county authority. By another section of the same act it was provided that where any highway in a county was a medium of communication between great towns, or a thoroughfare to a railway station, or otherwise such that it ought to be declared a main road, the county authority might declare it to be a main road, and there-upon one-half the expense of its maintenance would fall upon the county at large. Once a road became a main road it could only cease to be such by order of the Local Government Board. As already stated, the powers of the quarter sessions under the act of 1878 were transferred to the county council under the Local Government Act of 1888, and that body alone has now power to declare a road to be a main road. But the act of 1888 made some important changes in the law relating to the maintenance of main roads. It declared that thereafter not only the half but the whole cost of maintenance should be borne by the county. Provision is made for the control of main roads in urban districts being retained by the urban district council. In urban districts where such control has not been claimed, and in rural districts, the county council may either maintain the main roads themselves or allow or require the district councils to do so. The county council must in any case make a payment towards the costs incurred by the district council, and if any difference arises as to the amount of it, it has to be settled by the Local Government Board. In Lancashire the cost of main roads falls upon the hundred, as distinguished from the county at large, special provision being made to that effect. Special provision has also been made for the highways in the Isle of Wight and in South Wales, where the roads were formerly regulated by special acts, and not by the ordinary Highway Acts. The county council have the same power as a sanitary authority to enforce the provisions of the Rivers Pollution Prevention Acts in Rivers relation to so much of any stream as passes through pollution or by any part of their county. Under these acts a prevention. sanitary authority is authorized to take proceedings to restrain interference with the due flow of a stream or the pollution of its waters by throwing into it the solid refuse of any manufactory or quarry, or any rubbish or cinders, or any other waste or any putrid solid matter. They may also take proceedings in respect of the pollution of a stream by any solid or liquid sewage matter. They have the same powers with respect to manufacturing and mining pollutions, subject to certain restrictions, one of which is that proceedings are not to be taken without the consent of the Local Government Board. The county council may not only themselves institute proceedings under the acts, but they may contribute to the costs of any prosecution under the acts instituted by any other county or district council. The Local Government Board is further empowered by provisional order to constitute a joint-committee representing all the administrative counties through or by which a river passes, and confer on such committee all or any of the powers of a sanitary authority under the acts. A county council has the same power of opposing bills in parliament and of prosecuting or defending any legal proceedings necessary Parlia= for the promotion or protection of the interests of the mentary inhabitants of a county as are conferred on the council and legal of a municipal borough by the Borough Funds Act 1872, costs. with this difference, that in order to enable them to oppose a bill in parliament at the cost of the county rate, it is not necessary to obtain the consent of the owners and ratepayers within the county. The power thus conferred is limited to opposing bills. The council are not authorized to promote any bill, and although they frequently do so, they incur the risk that if the bill should not pass the members of the council will be surcharged personally with the costs incurred if they attempt to charge them to the county rate. Of course if the bill passes, it usually contains a clause enabling the costs of promotion to be paid out of the county rate. It must not be supposed, however, that the county council have no power to institute or defend legal proceedings or oppose bills save such as is expressly conferred upon them by the Local Government Act. In this respect they are in the same position as all other local authorities, with respect to whom it has been laid down that they may without any express power in that behalf use the funds at their disposal for protecting themselves against any attack made upon their existence as a corporate body or upon any of their powers or privileges. The county council have also the same powers asa borough council of making by-laws for the good government of the county and for By-laws. the suppression of nuisances not already punishable under the general law. This power has been largely acted upon throughout England, and the courts of law have on several occasions decided that such by-laws should be benevolently interpreted, and that in matters which directly arise and concern the people of the county, who have the right to choose those whom they think best fitted to represent them, such representatives may be trusted to understand their own requirements. Such by-laws will therefore be upheld, unless it is clear that they are uncertain, repugnant to the general law of the land, or manifestly unreasonable. It may be mentioned that, while by-laws relating to the good government of the county have to be confirmed by the secretary of state, those which relate to the suppression of nuisances have to be con-firmed by the Local Government Board. Such confirmation, how-ever, though necessary to enable the council to enforce them, does not itself confer upon them any validity in point of law. The county council have power to appoint and pay one or more medical officers of health, who are not to hold any other appoint- Medical ment or engage in private practice without the express officers. written consent of the council. The council may make arrangements whereby any district council or councils may have the services of the county medical officer on payment of a contribution towards his salary, and while such arrangement is in force the duty of the district council to appoint a medical officer is to be deemed to have been satisfied. Every medical officer, whether of a county or district, must now be legally .qualified for the practice of medicine, surgery and midwifery. Besides this, in the case of a county, or of any district or combination of districts ofwhich the population exceeds 50,000, the medical officer must also have a diploma in public health, unless he has during the three consecutive years before 1892 been medical officer of a district or combination having a population of more than 20,000, or has before the passing of the act been for three years a medical officer or inspector of the Local Government Board. The only other powers and duties of a county council arising under the Local Government Act itself which it is necessary to notice are those relating to alterations of local areas. Altera= It may be convenient here to state that certain altera- dons of tons of areas can only be effected through the medium localareas. of the Local Government Board after local inquiry. These cases include the alteration of the boundary of any county or borough, the union of a county borough with a county, the union of any counties or boroughs or the division of any county, the making of a borough into a county borough. In these cases the order of the Local Government Board is provisional only, and must be confirmed by parliament. The powers of a county council to make orders for the alteration of local areas are as follows: When a county council is satisfied that a prima facie case is made out as respects any county district not a borough, or as respects any parish, for a proposal for all or any of the things hereafter mentioned, they may hold a local inquiry after giving such notice in the locality and to such public departments as may be prescribed from time to time by the orders of the Local Government Board. The things referred to include the alteration of the boundary of the district or parish; the division or union thereof with any other district or districts, parish or. parishes; the conversion of a rural district or part thereof into an urban district or vice versa. In these cases, after the local inquiry above referred to has been held, the county council, being satisfied that the proposal is desirable, may make an order for the same accordingly. The order has to be submitted to the Local Government Board, and that board must hold a local inquiry in order to determine whether the order should be confirmed or not, if the council of any district affected by it, or one-sixth of the total number of electors in the district or parish to which it relates, petition against it. The Local Government Board have power to modify the terms of the order whether it is petitioned against or not, but if there is no petition, they are bound to confirm, subject only to such modifications. Very large powers are conferred upon county councils for the purpose of giving full effect to orders made by them under these provisions. A considerable extension of the same powers was made by the Local Government Act 1894, which practically required every council to take into consideration the areas of sanitary districts and parishes within the entire administrative county, and to see that a parish did not extend into more than one sanitary district; to provide for the division of a district which did extend into more than one district into separate parishes, so that for the future the parish should not be in more than one county district; and to provide for every parish and rural sanitary district being within one county. An enormous number of orders under the act of 1894 was made by county councils, and, speaking generally, it will now be found that no parish extends into more than one county or county district. Other powers and duties of the county council under the act of 1894 will be noticed hereafter. Of the statutes affecting county councils passed subsequent to 1888 mention need only be made of the chief. Previous to the Education Act 1902, county councils had certain optional powers under the Technical Instruction Acts to supply or aid the supply of technical or manual instruction. Their Education. duties in respect to education were, however, much enlarged by the act of 1902. That act abolished the old school boards and school attendance committees, and substituted a single authority for all kinds of schools and for all kinds of education. The county council or the council of a county borough is now in every case the local education authority, except that non-county boroughs with a population of over 1o,000, and urban districts with a population of over 20,000, may be the local education authorities for elementary education only, but they may relinquish their powers in favour of the county council. For higher education county councils and county boroughs are the sole education authorities, except that non-county boroughs and urban councils are given a concurrent power of levying a rate for higher education not exceeding id. in the f;. Under the act, an education committee must be established by all authorities. The majority of the members of the committee are appointed by the council, usually out of their own body, and the remainder are appointed by the council on the nomination or recommendation of other bodies. Some of the members of the committee must be women. All matters relating to the exercise of the powers of the education authority (except those of rating and borrowing) must be referred to the committee, and before exercising any of their powers the council must (except in cases of emergency) receive and consider the report of the education committee with respect to the matter in question. As to higher education the local education authority must consider the educational needs of their area and take such steps as seem to them desirable, after consultation with the Board of Education, to supply or aid the supply of education other than elementary, and to promote the general co-ordination of all forms of education. For this purpose they are authorized to levy a rate not exceeding 2d. in the £, except with the consent of the Local Government Board. They must also devote to the same purpose the sums received by them in respect of the residue of the English share of the local taxation (customs and excise) duties already referred to. See further EDUCATION and TECHNICAL EDUCATION. Under the Midwives Act 1902, every council of a county or county borough is the local supervising authority over midwives within its midwives. area. The duty of the local supervising authority is to exercise general supervision over all midwives practising within their area in accordance with rules laid down in the act; to investigate charges of malpractices, negligence or misconduct on the part of a midwife, and if a prima facie case be established, to report it to the Central Midwives Board; to suspend a midwife from practice if necessary to prevent the spread of infection; to report to the central board the name of any midwife convicted of an offence; once a year (in January) to supply the central board with the names and addresses of all midwives practising within their area and to keep a roll of the names, accessible at all reasonable times for public inspection; to report at once the death of any midwife or change in name and address. The local supervising authority may delegate their powers to a committee appointed by them, women being eligible to serve on it. A county council may delegate its powers under the act to a district council. Part of the business transferred from quarter sessions to the council was that which related to pauper lunatics, but the whole Lunatics. subject of lunacy was consolidated by an act of the year 1890, which again has been amended by a later act. The councils of all administrative counties and county boroughs and the councils of a few specified quarter sessions boroughs, which before 1890 were independent areas for purposes of the Lunacy Acts, are local authorities for the purposes of the Lunacy Acts, and each of them is under an obligation to provide asylum accommodation for pauper lunatics. This accommodation may be provided by one council or by a combination of two or more, and such council or combination may provide one or more asylums. The. county council exercise their powers through a visiting committee, consisting of not less than seven members, or, in the case of a combination, of a number of members appointed by each council in agreed proportions. In the case of a combination the expenses are defrayed by the several councils in such proportion as they may agree upon, and the pro-portion may be fixed with reference to either the accommodation required by each council or the population of the district. A county borough may also, instead of providing an asylum of its own, contract with the visiting committee of any asylum to receive the pauper lunatics from the borough. Private patients may be accommodated in the asylums provided by a county council, and received upon terms fixed by the visiting committee. The expenses of lunatic asylums are defrayed in the following manner: The guardians from whose union a lunatic is sent have to pay a fixed weekly sum, which may not exceed 142. a week. A larger charge is made for lunatics received from unions outside the county, as these do not, of course, contribute anything towards the provision or up-keep of the asylum itself. In addition to the payments by guardians, there is a contribution of 4s. a week from " the exchequer contribution account " already mentioned, and the remaining expenses are defrayed out of the county rate. Under the Allotments Acts 1887 to 1907, it is the duty of a county council to ascertain the extent to which there is a demand for Allot- allotments in the urban districts and parishes in the county, menu. or would be a demand if suitable land were available, and the extent to which it is reasonably practicable, having regard to the provisions of the acts, to satisfy any such demand, and to co-operate with authorities, associations or persons best qualified to assist, and to take such steps as may be necessary. The powers of the Local Government Board under the Allotments Acts were transferred by the act of 1907 to the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, and by the same act the powers and duties of rural district councils were transferred to parish councils. The county council under these acts has compulsory powers of purchase or hire if they are unable to acquire land by agreement and on reasonable terms. If an objection is made to an order for compulsory purchase or hire, the order will not be confirmed by the Board of Agriculture until after a local inquiry has been held. If the Board of Agriculture is satisfied, after holding a local inquiry, that a county council have failed to fulfil their obligations as to allotments, the board may transfer all and any of the powers of the county council to the Small Holdings Commissioners. By the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1907, Small Holdings Commissioners are appointed by the Board of Agriculture to ascertain Small the extent of the demand for small holdings, and confer holdings. with county councils as to how best to provide them. Local authorities are required to furnish information and give assistance to the commissioners, who report to the board. If the board, after considering the report, consider it desirable, they require the county council concerned to prepare a scheme for the provision of small holdings; if the county council decline to prepare a scheme, the board may direct the commissioners to do so. A county council may also prepare a scheme on its own initiative. When a scheme has been confirmed, the county council must carry out the obligations imposed on it within a prescribed time; if theymake default the board may direct the commissioners to assume all the powers of the county council, and the county council must repay to the board the expenses the commissioners may incur. A county council may delegate, by arrangement, to the council of any borough or urban district in the county their powers in respect of the act. A small holding is defined by the act as one which exceeds I acre, but must not exceed 50 acres or 5o annual value. Every county council must establish a small holdings and allotments committee, to which must be referred all matters relating to the exercise and performance by the council of their powers and duties as to small holdings and allotments. Under the Isolation Hospitals Acts 1893 and 1901, a county council may provide for the establishment of isolation hospitals for the reception of patients suffering from infectious diseases on Nospitas. the application of any local authority within the county, or on the report of the medical officer of the county that hospital accommodation is necessary and has not been provided, or it may take over hospitals already provided by a local authority. The council by their order constitute a hospital district and form a committee for its administration. The committee have power to purchase land, erect a hospital, provide all necessary appliances, and generally administer a hospital for the purposes above mentioned. The powers and duties of a county council under the Local Government Act 1894 are numerous and varied, and the chief of them are mentioned hereafter in connexion with parish councils. parish The county council may establish a parish council in a councils. parish which has a population of less than 300, and may group small parishes under a common parish council; in every case they fix the number of members of the parish council. They may authorize the borrowing of money by a parish council, and they may lend money to a parish council. They may hear complaints by a parish council that a district council has failed to provide sufficient sewerage or water-supply, or has failed to enforce the provisions of the Public Health Acts in their district, and on such complaint they may transfer to themselves and exercise the powers of the defaulting council, or they may appoint a person to perform those duties. They may make orders for the custody and preservation of public books, writings, papers and documents belonging to a parish. They may divide a parish into wards for purposes of elections or of parish meetings. They may authorize district councils to aid persons in maintaining rights of common. They may, on the petition of a district council, transfer to themselves the powers of a district council who have refused or failed to take the necessary proceedings to assert public rights of way or protect roadside wastes. They may dispense with the disqualification of a parish or district councillor arising only by reason of his being a shareholder in a water company or similar company contracting with the council, and, as has above been stated, they have large powers of altering the boundaries of parishes. Among the powers and duties of quarter sessions transferred to county councils were those arising under the acts relating Diseases of to contagious diseases of animals. These acts were animals. consolidated and amended by a statute of 1894, and the county council remain the local authority for the execution of that act in counties. Under the Light Railways Act 1896 a county council may be authorized by order of the light railway commissioners to construct and work or contract for the construction or working of a light railway, lend money to a light railway company, or join any other council in these matters. Among other statutes conferring powers or imposing duties upon county councils, mention may be made of such acts as those relating to sea fisheries regulation, open spaces, police Miscelsuperannuation, railway and canal traffic, shop hours, laneous. weights and measures, fertilizing and feeding stuffs, wild birds' protection, land transfer, locomotives on highways and the acquisition of small dwellings. Sufficient has been said to indicate that the legislature from time to time recognizes the important position of the county council as an administrative body, and is continually extending its functions. The Urban District.—A municipal borough is a place which has been incorporated by royal charter. In the year 1835 the Municipal Corporations Act was passed, which made provision for the constitution and government of certain boroughs which were enumerated in a schedule. That act was from time to time amended, until in 1882 by an act of that year the whole of the earlier acts were repealed and consolidated. A few ancient corporations which were not enumerated in the schedule to the act of 1835 continued to exist after that year, but by an act of 1883 all of these, save such as should obtain charters before 1886, were abolished, the result being that all boroughs are now subject to the act of 1882. A place is still created a borough by royal charter on the petition of the inhabitants, and when that is done the provisions of the act of 1882 are applied to it by the charter itself. The charter also fixes the number of councillors, the Light railways. The municipal borough and the borough council. boundaries of the wards (if any), and assigns the number of councillors to each ward, and provides generally for the time and manner in which the act of 1882 is first to come into operation. The charter is supplemented by a scheme which makes provision for the transfer to the new borough council of the powers and duties of existing authorities, and generally for the bringing into operation of the act of 1882. If the scheme is opposed by the prescribed proportion (one-twentieth) of the owners and rate-payers of the proposed new borough, it has to be confirmed by parliament. The governing body in a borough is the council elected by the burgesses. The qualification of a burgess has been incidentally mentioned in connexion with that of a county elector, and need not be further noticed. A borough councillor must be qualified in the same manner as a county councillor, and he is disqualified in the same way, with this addition, that a peer or ownership voter is not qualified as such, and that a person is disqualified for being a borough councillor if he is in holy orders or is the regular minister of a Dissenting congregation. Women, other than married women, are eligible. Borough councillors are elected for a term of three years, one-third of the whole number going out of office in each year, and if the borough is divided into wards, these are so arranged that the number of councillors for each ward shall be three or a multiple of three. The ordinary day of election is the 1st of November. At an election for the whole borough the returning officer is the mayor; at a ward election he is an alderman assigned for that purpose by the council. The nomination and election of candidates and the procedure at the election are the same as have already been described in the case of the election of county councillors. The law as to corrupt and illegal practices at the election is also similar, and the election may be questioned by petition in exactly the same way. A borough councillor must, within five days after notice of his election, make a declaration of acceptance of office under a penalty, in the case of an alderman or councillor of £50, and in the case of a mayor of £ioo, or such other sums as the council may by by-law determine. A councillor may be disqualified in the same way as a county councillor, by bankruptcy or composition with creditors, or continuous absence from the borough (except in case of illness). In short it may be said that as the provisions relating to the election of borough councillors were merely extended to county councillors by the Local Government Act of 1888 with a few modificaticcns, these provisions, as already stated when dealing with county councils, apply generally to the election of borough councillors. After the annual election on the 1st of November the first quarterly meeting of the council is held on the 9th, and at that meeting the mayor and aldermen are elected. The election of the mayor and aldermen is again the same as has already been described in connexion with the election of the chair-Officers. man and aldermen of a county council. The officers of a borough council are the town clerk and the treasurer, but the council have power to appoint such other officers as they, think necessary. All these officers receive such remuneration as the . council from time to time think fit, and hold office during pleasure. The provisions with respect to the transaction of the business of the council are also the same in the case of a borough as in that of a county council. The entire income of the borough council is paid into the borough fund, and that fund is charged with certain payments, which are Finance specifically set out in the 5th schedule to the act of 1882. audit. These include the remuneration of the mayor, recorder and officers of the borough, overseers' expenses, the expenses of the administration of justice in the borough, the payment of the borough coroner, police expenses and the like. An order of the council for the payment of money out of the borough fund must be signed by three members of the council and countersigned by the town clerk, and any such order may be removed into the king's bench division of the High Court of Justice by writ of certiorari, and may be wholly or partly disallowed or confirmed on the hearing. This is really the only way in which the validity of a payment by a borough council can be questioned, for, as will be seen hereafter, the audit in the borough is not an effective one. The borough fund is derived, in the first instance, from the property of the corporation. If the income from such property is insufficient for the purposes to which it is applicable, as usually is the case, it has to be supplemented by a borough rate, which may be a separate rate made by the council or may be levied through the overseers as part of the poor rate by means of a precept addressed to them. In the event of the borough fund being more than sufficient to meet the demands upon it without recourse to a borough rate, any surplus may be applied in payment of any expenses of the council as a sanitary authority or in improving the borough or any part thereof by drainage, enlargement of streets or otherwise. The borough treasurer is required to make up his accounts half-yearly, and to submit them, with the necessary vouchers and papers, to the borough auditors. These auditors are three in number—two of them elected annually by the burgesses. An elective auditor must be qualified to be a councillor, but may not be a member of the council. The third auditor is appointed by the mayor and is called the mayor's auditor. The auditors so appointedare charged with the duty of auditing the accounts of the treasurer, but they have no power of disallowance or surcharge, and their audit is therefore quite ineffective. Where a borough has not a separate court of quarter sessions, but has a separate commission of the peace, the justices of the county in which the borough is situate have a concurrent jurisdiction with the borough justices in all matters arising tlon of within the borough. Where, however, the borough has Justices; a court of quarter sessions, the county justices have no quarter jurisdiction within the borough. In all cases, whether session& the borough has quarter sessions or a separate commission or not, the mayor, by virtue of his office, is a justice for the borough, and continues to be such justice during the year next after he ceases to be mayor. He takes precedence over all justices in and for the borough, and is entitled to take the chair at all meetings at which he is present by virtue of his office of mayor. A separate commission of the peace may be granted to a borough on the petition of the council. A borough justice is required to take the oaths of allegiance and the judicial oaths before acting; he must while acting reside in or within 7 m. of the borough, or occupy a house, warehouse or other property in the borough; but he need not be a burgess nor have the qualification by estate required of a county justice. Where the borough has a separate commission, the borough. justices have power to appoint a clerk, who is now paid by salary, the fees and costs pertaining tq his office being paid into the borough fund, out of which his salary is paid. The council may by petition obtain the appointment of a stipendiary magistrate for the borough. The crown may also on petition of the council grant a separate court of quarter sessions for the borough, and in that event a recorder has to be appointed by the crown. He must be a barrister of not less than five years' standing, and he holds office during good behaviour; he receives a yearly salary. The recorder sits as sole judge of the court of quarter sessions of the borough. He has all the powers of a court of quarter sessions in a county, including the power to hear appeals from the borough justices; but to this there are a few exceptions, notably the power to grant licences for the sale of intoxicating liquor. The grant of a separate court of quarter sessions also involves the appointment by the council of a clerk of the peace for the borough. It should be added that the grant of a court of quarter sessions to any borough other than a county borough after the passing of the Local Government Act 1888, does not affect the powers, duties or liabilities of the county council as regards that borough, nor exempt the parishes in the borough from being assessed to county rate for any purposes to which such parishes were previously liable to be assessed. When a borough is a county of itself the council appoint a sheriff on the 9th of November in every year. And where the borough has a separate court of quarter sessions the council appoint Sheriff, a fit and proper person, not an alderman or councillor, to coroner. be the borough coroner, who holds office during good behaviour. If the borough has a civil court the recorder, if there is one, is judge of it. If there is no recorder, the judge of the court is an officer of the borough appointed under the charter. The provisions of the Municipal Corporations Act 1882 relate chiefly to the constitution of the municipal corporation. It does not itself confer many powers or impose many duties power to upon the council as a body. It does, however, enable a acquire municipal corporation to acquire corporate land and land. buildings, the buildings including a town hall, council house, justices' room, police stations and cells, sessions house, )udges' lodgings, polling stations and the like. The council may borrow money for the erection of such buildings; they may acquire and hold land in mortmain by virtue of their charter, or with the consent of the Local Government Board. Corporate land cannot be alienated without the consent of the same board. The council may convert corporate land, with the approval of the Local Government Board, into sites for workmen's dwellings. Another duty imposed upon a borough council by the act of 1882 is the maintenance of bridges within the borough which are not repairable by the county in which the borough is Borough locally situate. It may here be mentioned that a city bridges. or borough which is a county of itself is liable at common law to repair all public bridges within its limits. In a borough which is not a county of itself the inhabitants are only liable to repair bridges within the borough by immemorial usage or custom. Of the other powers possessed by the council of a borough under the act of 1882, one of the most important is the power to make by-laws for the good rule and government of the borough, Bylaws. and for the prevention and suppression of nuisances not already punishable in summary manner by virtue of an act in force throughout the borough. It will be observed that these by-laws are of two classes. The former do not come into force until the expiration of forty days after a copy of them has been sent to the secretary of state, during which forty days the sovereign in council may disallow any by-law or part thereof. The latter require to be confirmed by the Local Government Board. Under the act of 1882 every municipal borough might have its own separate police force. As has already been stated when dealing with county councils, boroughs having a population of less than 1o,000 according to the census of 1881 can no longer have a separate police force. But for some time before that year it had become the rule not to grant to any new borough with a population Po/ of less than 20,000 a separate police force. The subject of police is separately treated in the Encyclopaedia Britannic¢, and it is not necessary to supplement what is there stated. Under an act of 1893 the borough police may, in addition to their ordinary duties, be employed to discharge the duties of a fire brigade. The powers and duties of a borough council in the Municipal Corporations Act do not arise or exist to any great extent under The dis- that act. In a few cases, those namely of county trict and boroughs, the councils have the powers of county the district councils. In the quarter sessions boroughs other than council. county boroughs they have some only of these powers. But in every case the council of the borough have the powers and duties of an urban district council, and, except where they derive their authority from local acts, it may be said that their principal powers and duties consist of those which they exercise or perform as an urban council. These will now be considered. Before the year 1848 there was not outside the municipal boroughs any system of district government in England. It is true that in some populous places which were not corporate boroughs local acts of parliament had been passed appointing improvement commissioners for the government of these places. In many boroughs similar acts had been obtained conferring various powers relating to sanitary matters, streets and highways and the like. But there was no general system, nor was there, save by special legislation, any means by which sanitary districts could be constituted. In the year 1848 the first Public Health Act was passed. It provided for the formation of local boards in boroughs and populous places, such places outside boroughs being termed local government districts. In boroughs the town council were generally appointed the local board for purposes of the act. It was not, however, until 1872 that a general system of sanitary districts was adopted. By the Public Health Act of that year the whole country was mapped out into urban and rural sanitary districts, and that system has been maintained until the present time, with some important changes introduced by the Public Health Acts 1875 to 1907, and the Local Government Act 18g4. The whole of England and Wales is divided into districts, which are either urban or rural. Urban districts include boroughs and constitu• places which were formerly under the jurisdiction of local flea of boards or improvement commissioners. The power to district constitute new urban districts is now conferred upon councils. county councils, as already stated. There is a concurrent power in the Local Government Board under the Public Health Act 1875, but that power is now rarely exercised, and new urban districts are in practice created only by orders of county councils made under the Local Government Act 1888, section 57. Rural districts were first created in 1872. Before that time there was practically no sanitary authority outside the urban district, for although the vestry of a parish had in some cases power to make sewers and had also some other sanitary powers, there was no authority for such a district as now corresponds to a rural district. There were, indeed, highway boards and burial boards which had powers for special purposes, but district authority in the sense in which it is now understood there was none. Before the year 1894 the rural district consisted of the area of the poor-law union, exclusive of any urban district which might be within it, and the guardians of the poor were the rural sanitary authority. Since 1894 this has been changed. By the Local Government Act of that year the guardians ceased to be the rural sanitary authority. The union was preserved as the rural sanitary district, with this qualification, that if it extended into more than one county it was divided so that no rural district should extend into more than one county. Rural district councillors are elected for each parish in the rural district, and they become by virtue of their office guardians of the poor for the union comprising the district, so that there is now no election of guardians in a rural district. Guardians are still elected as such for urban districts, but the rural district council have ceased to be the same body as the guardians and are now wholly distinct. A district councillor, whether urban or rural, holds office for a term of three years. One-third of the whole council retire in each year, the annual elections being held in March, but there may be a simultaneous retirement of the whole council in every third year if the county council at the instance of the district council so order. The qualification and disqualification of district councillors, whether urban or rural, now depend upon the Local Government Act 1894. Property qualification is abolished. Any person may be elected who is either a parochial elector of some parish within the district or has during the whole of the twelve months preceding his election resided in the district, and no personis disqualified by sex or marriage. The electors both in urban and rural districts are the body called the parochial electors. These are practically the persons whose names appear in the parliamentary register or in the local government register as being entitled to vote at elections for members of parliament or county or parish councillors as the case may be. The election takes place subject to rules made by the Local Government Board, these rules being largely founded upon adaptations of the Municipal Corporations Act 1882. The election is by ballot on the same lines as those prescribed for a municipal election, and the Corrupt Practices Act, the pro-visions of which have been referred to when dealing with county councils, applies to the elections of district councils. The provisions with reference to election petitions, the grounds upon which they may be presented and the procedure upon them, are the same in every respect as have already been mentioned when dealing with county councils. It may be convenient here to state that the Local Government Board has power to unite any number of districts or parts of districts into what is called a united district for certain special purposes such as water-supply, sewerage or the like. This is done by means of a provisional order made by the board and confirmed by parliament. In such a united district the governing body is a joint board constituted in manner provided by the order, and it has under the order such of the powers of a district council as are necessary for the purposes for which the united district is created. Thus a joint sewerage board would generally be invested by the order with all the powers of a district council relating to the provision and control of sewers and the disposal of sewage. It may also be convenient here to mention another special kind of district authority, that is, a port sanitary authority. It is also constituted by order nitary of the Local Government Board, and it may include one authority. or more sanitary districts or parts of districts abutting upon a port. In this case also the authority consists of such members and is elected in such manner as the order determines, and it has such of the powers of an ordinary district council as the order may confer upon it. These relate for the most part to nuisances and infectious disease, having special reference to ships. It has been thought convenient to deal here with district councils, whether urban or rural, together, but the powers of the former are much more extensive than those of the latter, and powers of as the consideration of the subject proceeds it will be urban and necessary to indicate what powers and duties are con- ferred rural or imposed upon urban district councils only. councils It must be pointed out, however, that when the necessity compared. arises for conferring upon a rural district council any of the powers exercisable only by an urban district council, that can be done by means of an order of the Local Government Board. The necessity for this provision arises because it sometimes happens that in a district otherwise rural there are some centres of population, hardly large enough to be constituted urban districts, which nevertheless require the same control as an urban district. A district council may from time to time make regulations with respect to summoning, notice, place, management and adjournment of their meetings, and generally with respect to the Business transaction and management of their business. Three and members must be present to constitute a quorum. At the offices. annual meeting, which is held as soon as convenient after the 15th April in each year, a chairman for the succeeding year has to be appointed. He presides at all meetings, and in his absence another member appointed by the meeting takes his place. Questions are determined by the majority present and voting, the chair-man having the casting vote. Minutes are taken and, if signed at the meeting or the next ensuing meeting, are made evidence. The officers of the council consist of a clerk, a medical officer, a surveyor, one or more inspectors of nuisances and a treasurer. Of these all but the medical officer of health and inspectors of nuisances hold office at pleasure and receive such remuneration as the council may determine. If the urban district is a borough, the town clerk and borough treasurer fulfil the same office for purposes of the Public Health Acts. The salaries of the medical officer of health and inspectors of nuisances are, as to one moiety thereof, paid out of " the exchequer contribution account " by the county council, if they are appointed in accordance with the requirements of the Local Government Board as to qualification, appointment, duties, salary and tenure of office. The orders of the Local Government Board as to these matters are set out in the Statutory Rules and Orders. District councils may also employ such other officers and servants as may be necessary and proper for the fulfilment of their duties. Officers and servants are prohibited from being concerned or interested in any bargain or contract made with their council, and from receiving under cover of their office or employment any fee or reward whatsoever other than their proper salaries, wages and allowances, under penalty of being rendered incapable of holding office under any district council, and of a pecuniary penalty of £5o. There are some exceptions to this provision somewhat similar to those already mentioned with respect to the disqualification of members of the council. It may be mentioned here that by an act, called the Public Bodies' Corrupt Practices Act 1889, severe penalties are imposed alike upon members and officers of public bodies for corruption in office. United districts. A district council may appoint committees consisting wholly or partly of members of their own body for the exercise of any powers ~~_ which in their opinion can properly be exercised by Cortees. such committees. Such committees do not, however, nlb hold office beyond the next annual meeting of the council, and their acts must be submitted to the council for their approval. If they are appointed for any purposes of the Public Health or Highway Acts, the council may authorize them to institute any proceedings or do any act which the council might have instituted or done, other than the raising of any loan or the making of any rate or contract. A rural district council may delegate their entire powers in any parish to a parochial committee. Such committee may consist wholly of members of their own body or of members of the parish council, or partly of members of both. Such a committee may be subject to any regulations and restrictions imposed upon it by the rural district council. In dealing with the powers and duties of district councils it will be convenient to treat of these first as they arise under the Public Public Health Acts, and afterwards as they arise under other Health statutes. In so far as such powers and duties are common Acts. to urban and rural district councils alike they will be referred to as appertaining to district councils. When reference is made to any power or duty of an urban council it is to be understood that the rural council have no such power or duty unless conferred or imposed upon them by order of the Local Government Board. And it must be borne in mind that in a borough the borough council is the urban district council. The district council are required to cause to be made such sewers as may be necessary for effectually draining their district. This duty Sewerage may be enforced by the Local Government Board on and complaint made to them that the council have failed in drainage. performing it, and in the case of a rural district by the county council on complaint of the parish council. All sewers, whether made by the council, by their predecessors, or by private persons, vest in the district council, that is to say, become their property, with some exceptions, of which the principal is sewers made by a person for his own profit. The owner or occupier of any premises is entitled as of right to cause his drain to be connected with any sewer, on condition only of his giving, notice and complying with the regulations of the council as to the mode in which the communication is to be made, and subject to the control of any person appointed by the council to superintend the work. Moreover, the owner or occupier of premises without the district has the same right, subject only to such terms and conditions as may be agreed or, in case of dispute, settled by justices or by arbitration. If a house does not possess a sufficient drain, the occupier may be required to provide one, and to cause it to discharge into a sewer if there is one within too ft. of the house, otherwise into a cesspool, as the council may direct. In the case of new houses, these may not be built or occupied in aq urban district without their being first provided with sufficient drains as the council may require; and in an urban district it is forbidden to cause any building to be newly erected over a sewer without the consent of the council. For the purpose of sewage disposal a district council may construct any works and contract for the use or purchase or lease of any land, buildings, engines, materials or apparatus, and contract to supply for a period not exceeding twenty-five years any person with sewage. It may be pointed out here that these expressions are defined by the act, the effect of the definitions being shortly that a drain is a conduit for the drainage of one building or of several within the same curtilae, while a sewer comprises every kind of drain except that which is covered by the definition of a drain as above stated. The result has been that district councils frequently find themselves in the position of being responsible for the repair and condition of drains which, by reason of having been laid for more than one house, are sewers vested in and repairable by them. An attempt was made to remedy this state of things by the Public Health Amendment Act 1890, section 19, but the remedy so provided was very partial, and may be said to be confined to the case where two or more houses belonging to different owners are drained into a common drain laid under private land, and ultimately discharging into a sewer in a road or street. The district council are charged with the duty of enforcing the provision of proper sanitary accommodation (water-closets, privies, sanitary ashpits, &c.) for all dwelling-houses, new or old, and accommo- for factories, and the maintenance of such conveniences meatus for in proper condition. The urban council have power to houses. provide and maintain and make provision for the regu- lation of urinals, water-closets, earth-closets, privies, ashpits and other similar conveniences for public accommodation. In the event of a complaint being made to a district council that any drain, closet, privy, ashpit or cesspool is a nuisance or injurious to health, the council may empower their surveyor to enter and examine the premises, and, if the complaint is well founded, they may require the owner to do the necessary works. The district council are not Removal bound to undertake the removal of house refuse from of refuse. premises, or the cleansing of closets, privies, ashpits and cesspools. They may, however, undertake these duties, and, if the Local Government Board require, they must do so. An urban council and a rural council, if invested with the requisite power stables or other premises. With regard to water-supply, district councils have extensive powers. They may provide their district or any part of it with a supply of water proper and sufficient for public and private purposes, and for this purpose they may con- Water- struct and maintain waterworks, dig wells, take on supply' lease or hire any waterworks, purchase waterworks or water, or right to take or convey water either within or without their district, and any rights, powers and privileges of any water company, and contract with any person for the supply of water. They may not, however, commence to construct waterworks within the limits of supply of any water company empowered by act of parliament or provisional order to supply water without giving notice to the company, and not even then so long as the company are able and willing to supply the necessary water. Any dispute as to whether the company are able and willing has to be settled by arbitration. Where the council do supply water, they have the same powers of carrying mains under streets or through private lands as they have with respect to the laying of sewers, as already mentioned. They can charge water rents which depend upon agreements with consumers, or they may charge water rates assessed on the net annual value of the premises supplied. It is to be observed that they are not bound to charge for a supply of water at all, unless they are required to do so in an urban district by at least ten persons, rated to the poor rate, or in a parish in a rural district by at least five persons so rated in the parish. Even then the amount of the rate is left to the council, any deficiency in the cost of the water, in so far as it is not defrayed out of water rates or tents, being borne in an urban district by the general district rate, and in a rural district by the separate sanitary rates made for the parish or contributory place supplied. For the purpose of enabling them to supply water, most of the provisions of the Waterworks Clauses Acts are incorporated with the Public Health Act, and are made available for the district council. They are empowered to supply water by measure if they think fit, and may charge a rent for water-meters. The power of the district council to supply water is strictly limited to their own district, but they may, with the sanction of the Local Government Board, supply water to the council of an adjoining district on such terms as may be agreed upon, or as, in case of dispute, may be settled by arbitration. If any house is without a sufficient supply, and it appears that a supply can be furnished at a reasonable cost, as defined in the Public Health Act and the Public Health Water Act 1878, the owner may be required to provide the supply, and, if he fails, the council may themselves provide the supply and charge the owner with the cost. All public sources of water-supply such as streams, pumps, wells, reservoirs, conduits, aqueducts and works used for the gratuitous supply of water to the inhabitants of the district are vested in the council, who may cause all such works to be maintained and plentifully supplied with pure and wholesome water for the gratuitous use of the inhabitants, but not for sale by them. The council may supply water to public baths or wash-houses, or for trade or manufacturing purposes. In the case of the former the supply may be gratuitous. In the latter case it is to be on terms agreed between the parties. The urban council are required to cause fire-plugs, and all necessary works, machinery and assistance for securing a supply of water in case of fire, to be provided and maintained, and for this purpose they may enter into an agreement with any water company or person. Provision is made for preventing the pollution of water by gas refuse and enabling a district council, with the sanction of the attorney-general, to take any proceedings they may think fit for preventing the pollution of any stream in their district by sewage. The district council are also empowered to obtain an order of justices directing the closing of any well, tank or cistern, public or private, or any public pump the water from which is likely to be used for drinking or domestic purposes, or for manufacturing drinks for the use of man, if such water is found to be so polluted as to be injurious to health. Power is given to prohibit the use as dwellings of any cellars, vaults or underground rooms built or occupied after 1875, and with regard to such cellars as were occupied as dwellings before 1875, by the Local Government Board, may, and when required by order of that board must, provide for the proper cleansing of streets, and may also provide for the proper watering of streets. When they have undertaken, or are required to perform these duties, a penalty is imposed upon them for neglect. If they do not undertake these duties, they may make by-laws imposing on the occupiers of premises the duty of cleansing footways and pavements, the removal of house refuse, and the cleansing of earth-closets, privies, ashpits and cesspools; and an urban council may also make by-laws for the prevention of nuisances arising from snow, filth, dust, ashes and rubbish, and for the prevention of the keeping of animals on any premises so as to be injurious to health. The keeping of swine in a dwelling-house, or so as to be a nuisance, is made an offence punishable by a penalty in an urban district, as also is the suffering of any waste or stagnant water to remain in any cellar, or within any dwelling-house of ter notice, and the allowing of the contents of any closet, privy or cesspool to overflow or soak therefrom. Provision is also made for enforcing the removal of accumulations of manure, dung, soil or filth from any premises in an urban district, and for the periodical removal of manure or other refuse from mews, the continued occupation of these is also forbidden unless they comply with certain stringent requirements as to the height of Cellar the rooms, height of the ceilings above the surface of dwellings. the street, open areas in front, effectual drainage, sanitary conveniences appurtenant to the cellars, and the provision of fireplaces. District councils are required to keep a register of the common lodging-houses in their district. No person is allowed to keep a common lodging-house unless he is registered, and a house may not be registered until it has been inspected and approved for the purpose by an officer of the council. Further, the council may refuse to register a keeper unless they are satisfied of his character and of his fitness for the position. The council are empowered to make by-laws for fixing the number of lodgers and separating the sexes therein, promoting cleanliness and ventilation, giving of notices and taking precautions in case of any infectious disease, and generally for the well-ordering of such houses. The keepers of common lodging-houses are required to limewash their walls and ceilings in the months of April and October in every year, and if paupers or vagrants are received to lodge, they may be required to report as to the persons who have resorted thereto. They must give notice of any infectious disease to the medical officer of health and to the poor-law relieving officer, and they must give free access for inspection. There is no definition of the expression " common lodging-house " in the Public Health Acts, and at one time the courts decided that shelters for the destitute kept by charitable persons were not common lodging-houses. That idea is now exploded, and the acts apply to charitable institutions which receive persons of the class ordinarily received into common lodging-houses. By-laws may also be made relating to houses let in lodgings Houses which are not common lodging-houses. These by- Hoin laws are in practice limited to those inhabited by let lodgings. the poorer classes, although the act imposes no such restriction. The Public Health Acts 1875 to 1907 contain elaborate provisions for dealing with nuisances. Those which are dealt with summarily Nuisances. are thus enumerated:-(1) any premises in such a state as to be a nuisance or injurious to health; (2) any pool, ditch, gutter, watercourse, privy, urinal, cesspool, drain or ashpit so foul or in such a state as to be injurious to health; (3) any animal so kept as to be a nuisance or injurious to health; (4) any accumulation or deposit which is a nuisance or injurious to health; (5) any house or part of a house so overcrowded as to be dangerous or injurious to the health of the inmates, whether or not members of the same family; (6) any factory, workshop or workplace not already under the operation of any general act for the regulation of factories or bakehouses not kept in a cleanly state or not ventilated in such a manner as to render harmless as far as practicable any gases, vapours, dust or other impurities generated in the course of the work carried on therein that are a nuisance or injurious to health, or so overcrowded while work is carried on as to be dangerous or injurious to the health of those employed therein; (7) any fireplace or furnace which does not as far as practicable consume the smoke arising from the com- bustible used therein, and which is used for working engines by steam or in any mill, factory, dye-house, brewery, bakehouse or gas work, or in any manufacturing or trade process whatsoever; and (8) any chimney not being the chimney of a private dwelling-house sending forth black smoke in such quantity as to be a nuisance. The nuisances above enumerated are said to be nuisances liable to be dealt with summarily. It is the duty of every district council to inspect their district with a view to the discovery of any such nuisances. In the event of such discovery by them or of informa- tion given to them of the existence of any such nuisance, the district council are required to serve a notice requiring the abatement of the nuisance on the person by whose act, default or sufferance it arises or continues, or if such person cannot be found, on the owner or occupier of the premises at which the nuisance arises. The notice must require the abatement of the nuisance within a specified time, and must prescribe the works which in the opinion of the council are necessary to be done. If the nuisance arises from the absence or defective construction of any structural convenience, or if there is no occupier of the premises, the notice must be served upon the owner. If the person who causes the nuisance cannot be found, and it is clear that the nuisance does not arise or continue by the act, default or sufferance of the owner or occupier of the premises, the local authority may themselves abate the nuisance without further order. If the person on whom the notice is served objects to give effect to it, he may be summoned before justices, and the justices may make an order upon him to abate the nuisance, or prohibiting the recurrence of the nuisance if this is likely, and directing the execution of the necessary works. If the nuisance is such as to render a dwelling- house unfit for human habitation, the justices may close it until it is rendered fit for that purpose. Disobedience under the order of justices involves a penalty and a daily penalty for every day during which default continues. Private persons may complain to justices in respect of nuisances by which they are personally aggrieved, and if the district council make default in doing their duty, the Local Government Board may authorize any officer of police to institute any necessary proceedings at the cost of the defaulting council. The district council may, if in their opinion proceedings before justices afford an inadequate- remedy, take proceedings in the high court, but in that case, if the nuisance is of a public nature, they must proceed by action in the name of the attorney-general. The pro-visions as to nuisances are extended to ships by an act of 1885. It is forbidden to establish within an urban district without the consent of the council any offensive trade, business or manufacture. With regard to any offensive trade which has been established or may be consented to in any urban district, if it is verified by the medical officer or any two legally qualified medical practitioners, or by any ten inhabitants of the district, to be a nuisance or injurious to health, the urban district council are required to take proceedings before magistrates with a view to the abatement of the nuisance complained of. Any medical officer or inspector of nuisances may inspect any meat, &c., exposed for sale or deposited in any place for the purpose of sale or of preparation for sale and intended for the Unsound food of man. This power of inspection is, in districts meat. where the Public Health Act 1890 has been adopted, extended to all articles intended for the food of man. If upon such inspection the meat, &c., appears to be diseased, unsound or unwholesome, it may be taken before a justice for the purpose of being condemned, and the person to whom the meat, &c., belongs or in whose possession it was found is liable to a penalty or, in the discretion of the justices, to imprisonment for three months without the option of a fine. The Public Health Acts contain important provisions relating to infectious disease. Any person who knows he. is suffering from an infectious disease must not carry on any trade or business infectious unless he can do so without risk of spreading the disease. diseases. Local authorities may require premises to be cleansed and disinfected; they may order the destruction of bedding, clothing or other articles which have been exposed to infection; they may provide proper places for the disinfection of infected articles free of charge; they may provide ambulances, &c In the case of a person found suffering from infectious disease who has not proper lodging or accommodation, or is lodging in a room occupied by more than one family, or is on board any ship or vessel, such person may by means of a justice's order be removed to a hospital; a local authority may pay the expenses of a person in a hospital or, if necessary, provide nursing attendance; any person exposing himself or any other in his charge while suffering from infectious disease, or exposing infected bedding, clothing or the like, is made liable to a penalty. Owners and drivers of public conveyances must not knowingly convey any person suffering from infectious disease, and if any person suffering from such a disease is conveyed in any public vehicle the owner or driver as soon as it comes to his knowledge must give notice to the medical officer. It is also forbidden to let houses or rooms in which infected persons have been lodging, or to make false statements to persons negotiating for the hire of such rooms. An act was passed in the year 1890, called the Infectious Diseases Prevention Act. When adopted it enabled an urban or district council to obtain the inspection of dairies where these were suspected to be the cause of infectious disease, with a view to prohibiting the supply of milk from such dairies if the fact were established. The act of1907 extended the provisions of the act of 1890. It enables a local authority to require dairymen to furnish a complete list of sources of supply if the medical officer certifies that any person is suffering from infectious disease which he has reason to suspect is attributable to milk supplied within his district. It also compels dairymen to notify infectious diseases existing among their servants. The act of 1890 also forbids the keeping for more than forty-eight hours of the body of a person who has died of infectious disease in a room used at the time as a dwelling-place, sleeping-place or workshop. It provides for the bodies of persons dying of infectious diseases in a hospital being removed only for burial, and gives power to justices in certain cases to order bodies to be buried. The diseases to which the act applies are smallpox, cholera, membranous croup, erysipelas, scarlatina or scarlet fever, typhus, typhoid, enteric, relapsing, continued or puerperal fever, and any other infectious disease to which the act has been applied by the local authority of the district in the prescribed manner. The most important provision, however, relating to infectious disease is that contained in the Infectious Disease Notification Act 1889. That was originally an adoptive act, but it is now extended to all districts in England and Wales. It requires the notification to the medical officer of health of the district of every case in which a person is suffering from one of the diseases above mentioned. The duty of notification is imposed upon the head of the family, and also upon the medical practitioner who may be in attendance on the patient. The medical attendant is entitled to receive in respect of each notification a fee of 2s. 6d. if the case occurs in his private practice, and of Is. if the case occurs in his practice as medical officer of any public body or institution. These fees are paid by the urban or rural district council as the case may be. The provisions as to notification are applied to every ship, vessel, boat, tent, van, shed or similar structure used for human habitation in like manner as nearly as may be as if it were a building. Exception is made, however, in the case of a ship, vessel or boat belonging to a foreign government. It is not too much to say that this act has been one of the most effectual Common lodging-houses. means of preventing the spread of infectious disease in modern times. The district council are empowered to provide hospitals or temporary places for the reception of the sick. They may build them, Hospitals, contract for the use of them, agree for the reception of the sick inhabitants of their district into an existing hospital, or combine with any other district council in providing a common hospital. As has already been mentioned when dealing with county councils, if a district council make default in providing hospital accommodation, the county council may put in operation the Isolation Hospitals Act. The power given to provide hospitals must be exercised so as not to create a nuisance, and much litigation has taken place in respect of the providing of hospitals for smallpox. Up to the present time, however, the courts have refused to accept as a principle that a smallpox hospital is necessarily a source of danger to the neighbourhood, and for the most part applications for injunction on that ground have failed. Where any part of the country appears to be threatened with or is affected by any formidable epidemic, endemic or infectious Bp/demlcs. disease, the Local Government Board may make regula- tions for the speedy interment of the dead, house-tohouse visitation, the provision of medical aid and accommodation, the promotion of cleansing, ventilation and disinfection, and the guarding against the spread of disease. Such regulations are made and enforced by the district councils, The provisions of the Public Health Acts relating to infectious disease are for the most part extended to ships by an act of the year 1885. District councils may, and if required by the Local Government Board, must provide mortuaries, and they may make by-laws with Mortuaries, respect to the management and charges for the use of the same. Where the body of a person who has died of an infectious disease is retained in a room where persons live or sleep, or the retention of any dead body may endanger health, any justice on the certificate of a medical practitioner may order the removal of a body to a mortuary and direct the body to be buried within a time limited by the friends of the deceased or in their default by the relieving officer. A district council may also provide and maintain a proper place (otherwise than at a workhouse or at a mortuary) for the reception of dead bodies during the time required to conduct any post mortem examination ordered by a coroner. Under an act of 1879 the district council have power to provide and maintain a cemetery either within or without their district, cemeteries. and they may purchase or accept a donation of land for that purpose. The provisions of the Cemeteries Clauses Act 1847 apply to a cemetery thus provided. These cannot all be referred to here, but it may be noted that no part of the cemetery need be consecrated, but that if any part is, such part is to be defined by suitable marks, and a chapel in connexion with the Established Church must be erected in it. A chaplain must also be appointed to officiate at burials in the consecrated portion. The power to provide a cemetery under the act under consideration must not be confounded with that of providing a burial ground under the Burial Acts. These acts will be mentioned later in connexion with the powers of parish councils, for in general they are adopted for a parish, part of a parish or combination of parishes, and are administered by a burial board, except where that body has been superseded by a parish council or joint committee. It may be mentioned, however, that under the Local Government Act 1894, where a burial board district is wholly in an urban district, the urban council may resolve that the powers, duties and liabilities of the burial board shall be transferred to the council, and thereupon the burial board may cease to exist. And it is provided by the same act that the Burial Acts shall not hereafter be adopted in any urban parish without the approval of the urban council. The distinction between a burial ground provided under the Burial Acts and a cemetery provided under the act of 1879 is important in many ways, of which one only need be mentioned here—the expenses under the Burial Acts are paid out of the poor rate, while the expenses under the act of 1879 are paid in an urban district out of the general district rate, the incidence of which differs materially from that of the poor rate, as will be seen hereafter. In an urban district the urban council have always had all the powers and duties of a surveyor of highways under the Highway Highways. Acts. But before 1894 a rural district council had no power or duty in respect of highways except in a few cases where, by virtue of a provision in the Highway Act 1878, the rural sanitary authority of a district coincident in area with a highway district were empowered to exercise all the powers of a a highway board. Except in these cases the highway authority in a parish was the surveyor of highways, elected annually by the inhabitants in vestry, or in a highway district consisting of a number of parishes united by order of quarter sessions, the highway board composed of waywardens representing the several parishes. By the Local Government Act 1894, there were transferred to the district council of every rural district all the powers, duties and liabilities of every highway authority, surveyor or highway board within their district, and the former highway authorities ceased to exist. The highway authority in every district, rural as well as urban, is there-fore the district council. Of the chief duties of a district council with regard to highways, the first and most obvious is the duty to repair. This duty was formerly enforceable by indictment of the inhabitants of the parish, but it is not quite clear whether this procedure is applicable, now that the liability to repair is transferred to a council representing a wider area. Under the Highway Acts it is enforceable by summary proceedings before justices and by orders of the county council, but in either case, if the liability to repair is disputed, that question has to be decided on indictment preferred against the high-way authority alleged to be in default. In a rural district any parish council may complain to the county council that the district council have made default in keeping any highway in repair, and the county council may thereupon transfer to themselves and execute the powers of the district council at the cost of the latter body, or they may make an order requiring the district council to perform their duty, or they may appoint some person to do so at the cost of the district council. It is important to observe, however, that an action does not lie against a district council in respect of the failure to repair a highway even at the suit of a person who has thereby been injured. The reason assigned for this doctrine is that the council as highway surveyor stand in the same position as the inhabitants of the parish, against whom such an action would not lie. The district council are, however, liable for any injury caused through negligence on the part of their officers or servants in carrying out the work of repair. But while rural as well as urban district councils have the powers and duties of surveyors of highways, the provisions of the Public Health Acts relating to streets apply only in urban streets. districts, except in so far as the Local Government Board may by order have conferred urban powers upon a rural district council. These provisions have now to be referred to. It may be convenient to state that the expression street " is here used in a sense much wider than its ordinary meaning. It is defined by the act to include any highway and any public bridge (not being a county bridge), and any road, lane, footway, square, court, alley or passage, whether a thoroughfare or not. For certain purposes streets as thus defined are divided into two classes, viz. those which are and those which are not highways repairable by the inhabitants at large. But it has to be borne in mind that it is not every highway that is repairable by the inhabitants at large. Before the year 1836 as soon as a way was dedicated to public use and the public had by user signified their acceptance of it, it became without more notice repairable by the parish. Therefore every highway—whether carriage-way, driftway, bridleway or footway—which can be shown to have been in use before 1836, is presumably repairable by the inhabitants at large, the only exceptions being such highways as are repairable by private persons or corporate bodies ratione clausurae, ratione tenurae, or by prescription. But in the year 1836, when the Highway Act 1835 came into operation, the law was altered. It was possible, just as formerly, to dedicate a way to the use of the public, and it thereupon became a highway to all intents and purposes. But mere dedication did not make the way repairable by the public. That result was not to follow unless certain stringent requirements were fulfilled. When it is shown, therefore, that a highway has been dedicated after 1836, it is not repairable by the inhabitants at large unless it can be shown that these provisions have been complied with, or that it has been declared to be repairable under provisions of the Public Health Acts presently to be mentioned. (There was also power given to justices, by the Highway Act 1862, to declare a private road or occupation road in a highway district to be a public highway repairable by the parish; but this power does not appear to have been acted upon to any extent.) All streets being highways repairable by the inhabitants at large within an urban district, are vested in and under the control of the urban council. After much litigation it has now been established that this provision does not give the council an absolute property in the soil of the street, but merely such a qualified property in the surfaces as enables them to exercise control. The urban council are required from time to time to cause all such streets to be made up and repaired as occasion may require, and they are empowered to raise, lower or alter the soil of the street, and to place and keep in repair fences and posts for the safety of foot-passengers. The other class of streets consists of those which are not highways repairable by the inhabitants at large. Under the Public Health Act 1875 such streets may be dealt with in manner following:—If any such street or part thereof is not sewered, levelled, paved, metalled, flagged, channelled, made good or lighted to the satisfaction of the council, the council may cause it to be made up at the expense of the owners of premises fronting the street in pro-portion to their several frontages. When all or any of the works aforesaid have been executed in the street, and the council are of opinion that the street ought to become a highway repairable by the inhabitants at large, they may by notice to be fixed up in the street declare it to be a highway repairable by the inhabitants at large, and the declaration will be effective unless, within one month after the notice has been put up, the majority of the owners in the street object thereto. An alternative procedure has been provided by the Private Street Works Apt, which may be adopted by any urban council. One important point of difference is that under the latter act the council may resolve that the expenses shall be apportioned among the owners not merely according to frontage, but according to the greater or less degree of benefit to be derived by any premises from the works. Where a house or building in a street is taken down to be rebuilt, the urban district council may prescribe the line to which it is to be rebuilt, paying compensation to the building owner for any damage which he may sustain consequent upon the requirement. Save to this extent, no power is given by the general law to a district council to prescribe a building line. But under an act of 1888 it is provided that it shall not be lawful in any urban district without the consent of the urban authority to erect or bring forward any house or building in any street or any part of such house or building beyond the front main wall of the house or building on either side thereof in the same street. The control exercised by an urban district council over streets and buildings is to a very large extent exercised through. by-laws which they are empowered to make for various purposes relating to the laying out and formation of new streets, the erection and construction of new buildings, the provision of sufficient air-space about buildings to secure a free circulation of air, and the provision of suitable and sufficient sanitary conveniences. The manner in which such by-laws are made and confirmed will be hereafter noticed. In general, the by-laws require plans of new streets to be submitted to the council, and they are required to approve or disapprove of these plans within a month. They cannot disapprove of a plan unless it contravenes the provisions of some statute or by-law; but if a person builds otherwise than according to an approved plan he does so at the risk of having his work pulled down or destroyed. Among the miscellaneous powers of an urban council with respect to streets may be mentioned the power to widen or improve, and certain powers incorporated from the Towns Improvement Clauses Act 1847, with respect to naming streets, numbering houses, improving the line of streets, removing obstructions, providing protection in respect of ruinous or dangerous buildings, and requiting precautions to be taken during the construction and repair of sewers, streets and houses. An urban council may also provide for the lighting of any street in their district, and may contract with any person or company for that purpose. If there is no company having statutory powers of supply within their district, they may themselves undertake the supply of gas, and they may purchase the undertaking of any gas company within their district. An urban council may acquire and maintain lands for the purpose of being used as public walks or pleasure-grounds, and may support or contribute to the support of such walks or grounds if Public provided by any other person. They may also contribute parks. to the cost of laying out, planting or improvement of lands provided for this purpose by any person, in their own district or outside that district, if it appears that the walks or grounds could eventually be used by the inhabitants of that district. An urban council may also provide public clocks or pay for the reasonable cost of repairing and maintaining any public clocks in the district, though not vested in them. Where an urban council are the council of a borough, and in other cases with the consent of the owners and ratepayers of the district, they may provide market accommodation for Markets their district. They may not, however, establish any and market so as to interfere with any market already estabslaughter- Iished in the district under a franchise or charter. For houses. purposes of markets certain provisions of the Markets and Fairs Clauses Act 1847 are incorporated with the Public Health Act. The only one of these that need be noticed is that which provides that after the market is opened for public use every person, other than a licensed hawker, who shall sell or expose for sale in any place within the district, except in his own dwelling-place or shop, any articles in respect of which tolls are authorized to be taken shall be liable to a penalty. The tolls which may be taken by an urban council must be approved by the Local Government Board; and any by-laws which they make for the regulation of the market must be confirmed by the same body. An urban council may also provide slaughter-houses and make by-laws with respect to the management and charges for the use of them. Where they do not provide slaughter-houses, all previously existing slaughter-houses have to be registered and new ones licensed; and no person may lawfully use a slaughter-house which is not either registered or licensed. Licences may be suspended by justices in the event of their being used contrary to the provisions of the act or of the by-laws, and on a second conviction the licence may be revoked. On a conviction of selling or exposing for sale, or having in his possession or on his premises unsound meat, the court may also revoke the licence. Certain police regulations contained in the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 are by virtue of the Public Health Act 1875 in force in. all urban districts. These relate to obstructions Hackney and nuisances in streets, fires, places of public resort, carriages, hackney carriages and public bathing. An urban council &c. may also license proprietors, drivers and conductors of horses, ponies, mules or asses standing for hiring in the district in the same way as in the case of hackney carriages, and they may also license pleasure boats and vessels, and the boatmen or persons in charge thereof, and they may make by-laws for all these purposes. Every district council may enter into such contracts as are necessary for carrying into execution the various purposes of the Public Health Acts. A district council being a corporation, the general law applies in the case of a rural council Contracts, that they must contract under their common seal, the purchase exception to this rule including the doing of acts very of lands. frequently recurring or too insignificant to be worth the trouble of affixing the common seal. In the case of an urban council certain stringent regulations are laid down. A contract made by an urban council, whereof the value and amount exceed £5o, must be under seal, and certain other formalities must be observed, some of which are imperative; for example, the taking of sureties from the con-tractor, and the making provision for penalties to be paid by him in case the terms of the contract are not observed. Every local authority may also, for purposes of the act, purchase or take on lease, sell or exchange, any lands. Such lands as are not required for the purpose for which they were purchased must, unless the Local Government Board otherwise direct, be sold. Powers of compulsory purchase of lands are also given under the Lands Clauses Acts, but before these can be put in operation certain conditions must be observed. The Local Government Board must make inquiry into the propriety of allowing the lands to be taken, and the power to acquire the lands compulsorily can only be conferred by means of a provisional order confirmed by parliament. With regard to the by-laws which district councils may make for many purposes, the subjects of which have been already from time to time mentioned, it is only necessary to state BY-h' that these require to be confirmed by the Local Govern- ment Board. Such confirmation does not, however, give validity to a by-law which cannot be justified by the provisions of the act, and many by-laws which have been so confirmed have been held to be invalid under the general law as being uncertain, unreasonable or repugnant to the law of the realm. For the guidance of local authorities, the Local Government Board have from time to time issued model series of by-laws dealing with the various subjects for which by-laws may be made, and these are for the most part followed throughout England and Wales. As a general rule, all the expenses of carrying into execution the Public Health Acts in an urban district fall upon a fund which is called the general district fund, and that fund is provided Finance. by means of a rate called the general district rate. To this there are some exceptions. First, in the case of boroughs where from the time of the first adoption of the Sanitary Acts these expenses have been paid out of the borough rate, the expenses continue to be so paid; and in an urban district which was formerly subject to an Improvement Act, the expenses may be payable out of the improvement rate authorized by that act. The general rule, however, prevails over by far the greater part of England and Wales. The general district rate is made and levied on the occupiers of all kinds of property for the time being assessable to any rate for the relief of the poor, subject to a few exceptions and conditions. Of these the first is that the owner may be rated instead of the occupier, at the option of the urban authority, where the value of the premises is under £1o, where the premises are let to weekly or monthly tenants, or where the premises are let in separate apartments, or the rents become payable or are collected at any shorter period than quarterly. When the owner is rated he must be assessed upon a certain proportion only of the net annual value of the premises. The owners or occupiers of certain specified properties are assessed in respect of the same in the proportion of one-fourth part only of the net annual value thereof. These properties include tithes, tithe commutation rent charge, land used as arable, meadow or pasture ground only, or as woodlands, market gardens or nursery grounds, orchards, allotments, any land covered with water such as the reservoir of a waterworks company, or used only as a canal or towing-path of the same, or as a railway constructed under the powers of any Act of Parliament for public conveyance. The reason for these partial exemptions apparently is that sanitary arrangements are made chiefly for the benefit of houses and buildings, while the properties just enumerated do not receive the same amount of benefit. The only other point to be noticed in this connexion is that an urban council may divide their district into parts for all or any of the purposes of the act, rating each part separately for those purposes. The expenses of highways in an urban district fall as a rule upon the general district rate, but under certain conditions, which need not be here set out, a separate highway rate may have to be levied. The urban council have extensive powers of amending the rate, and the rate is collected in such manner as the urban authority may appoint. The expenses of a rural district council are of two kinds. Of these the first is called general expenses, and it includes the expense of the establishment and officers of the council, of disinfection, providing of conveyance for infected persons, and the expenses of highways. These expenses are payable out of a common fund which is raised out of the poor rate of the several parishes in the district, according to the rateable value of each. Special expenses include the expenses of the construction and maintenance and cleansing of sewers, providing water-supply, and all other expenses incurred or payable in respect of a parish or contributory place within the district determined by order of the Local Government Board to be special expenses. The expression " contributory place " means a place other than a parish chargeable with special expenses. For the most part it has reference only to what is called a special drainage district, that is to say, a district formed out of one or more parishes or parts of parishes for the purpose of the provision of a common water-supply, or scheme of sewerage, or the like, and in the event of such a district including part only of a parish, the remaining portion would, so far as the special expenses for which the district was created are concerned, be a separate contributory place. These special expenses are chargeable to each parish or contributory place, and they are defrayed by means of special sanitary rates, such rates being raised on all property assessed to the relief of the poor, but with the same exemptions of certain properties as have been mentioned under the head of general district rate in urban districts. District councils are empowered to borrow with the sanction of the Local Government Board, subject to certain restrictions and Borrowing regulations. The money must be borrowed for permanent powers. works, the expenses of which ought in the opinion of the Local Government Board to be spread over a term of years which must not exceed sixty. The sums borrowed must not exceed, with the outstanding loans, the amount of the assessable value for two years of the district for which the money is borrowed; and if the sum borrowed would, with the outstanding loans, exceed the assessable value for one year, the sanction of the Local Government Board may not be given except after local inquiry. The money may be repaid by equal instalments of principal, or of principal and interest, or by means of a sinking fund. Where the urban council are the council of a borough, their accounts as urban council are made up and audited in the same Audit. ineffective manner as has already been mentioned in the case of the accounts of the council under the Municipal Corporations Act, but each of the borough auditors receives remuneration for auditing the accounts of the council as urban district council. Where the urban council are not the council of a borough, the accounts are made up annually, and audited by the district auditor in the same effective manner as has already been mentioned in the case of the accounts of a county council. The accounts of a rural district council are made up half-yearly and are audited in the same way. The Public Authorities Protection Act 1893 was passed to repeal the numerous provisions contained in many acts of parliament, Proceed- whereby, before legal proceedings could be taken against a Pro public body, notice of action had to be given and the ings against proceedings commenced within a certain limited time. district The act applies to all public authorities, including, of councils, course, district councils, and it provides in effect that where any action or legal proceeding is taken against a council for any act done in pursuance or execution, or intended execution, of an act of parliament, or of any public duty or authority, the action must be commenced within six months next after the act, neglect or default complained of, or in the case of a continuance of injury or damage, within six months next after the ceasing thereof. And it provides further that, in the event of the judgment of the court being given in favour of the council, the council shall be entitled to recover their costs taxed as between solicitor and client. Notice of action is abolished in every case. Among other acts which are either incorporated with the Public Health Acts or have been passed subsequently to them, one of the Housing most important is the Housing of the Working Classes Act Housing It contains three distinct parts. Under the first an of the working urban district council may, by means of a scheme, acquire, classes. rearrange and reconstruct an area which has been proved to be insanitary. The scheme has to be confirmed by the Local Government Board, and carried out by means of a provisional order. The second part of the act deals with unhealthy dwelling-houses, and requires the urban district council to take steps for the closing of any dwelling-houses within their district which are unfit for human habitation. The third part of the act deals with what is called in the act working-class lodging-houses. But the expression is a little misleading, for it includes separate houses or cottages for the working classes, whether containing one or several tenements, and the expression " cottage " may include a garden of not more than half an acre, provided that the estimated annual value of such garden shall not exceed £3. This part of the act may be adopted by a rural district council, but an urban district council can carry it into execution without formal adoption. Land may be acquired for erecting lodging-houses as above defined, and these, when erected, may be managed and let by the council. The urban district council may adopt the provisions of the Baths Baths and and Washhouses Acts, and thereunder provide public wash- baths, wash-houses, open bathing-places, covered swim- houses, ming baths, which they may close in the winter months and use as gymnasia. Under the Tramways Act 187o the urban district council may obtain from the Board of Trade a provisional order authorizing the Tramways. construction of tramways in their district by themselves. Any private persons, and any corporation or company may, with the consent of the council, obtain the like authority, hilt the Board of Trade have power in certain cases to dispense With the consent of the local authority. Where the order is obtained by a person or body other than the district council, the council may purchase the undertaking at the end of twenty-one years after the tramways have been constructed or at the expiration of every subsequent period of seven years, and the terms of purchase are that the person or company must sell the undertaking upon payment of the then value, exclusive of any allowance for past or future profits of the undertaking, or any compensation for compulsory sale or other consideration whatsoever of the tramway, and all lands, buildings, works, materials and plant suitable to and used for the purposes of the undertaking. It should be observed, however, that although the local authority may themselves construct, and may acquire from the original promoters a system of tramways, they may not themselves work them without special authority of the legislature, and must in general let the working of the undertaking to some person or company. Under the Borough Funds Act 1872 the urban district council may, if in their judgment it is expedient, promote or oppose any local and personal bill or bills in parliament, or may Bil/s in prosecute or defend any legal proceedings necessary for Billi the promotion or protection of the interests of the district, mnd and may charge the costs incurred in so doing to the en!' legalprnrates under their control. The power to incur parlia- ceed/ngs. mentary costs, however, is subject to several important restrictions. The resolution to promote or oppose the bill must in the first instance have been carried by an absolute majority of the whole number of the council at a meeting convened by special notice, and afterwards confirmed by the like majority. The resolution must have been published in newspapers circulated in the district, and must have received the consent of the Local Government Board or of a secretary of state, if the matter is one within his jurisdiction; and further, the expenses must not be incurred unless the promotion or opposition has been assented to by the owners and ratepayers of the district assembled at a meeting convened for the purpose of considering the matter, and if necessary, signified by a poll. Moreover, the expenses must, before they can be charged to the rates, be examined and allowed by some person authorized by a secretary of state or the Local Government Board, as the case may be. Under the Pawnbrokers Act 1872 the licences to pawnbrokers. which were formerly granted by justices, are now granted by district councils. Under the Sale of Food and Drugs Acts certain important duties devolve upon medical officers and inspectors of nuisances who are officers of district councils. But for the most part the Adu/reM~ acts do not impose upon district councils themselves any special powers or duties, although, as a matter of tiou. fact; prosecutions for offences are usually undertaken by the district councils, and the expenses of the execution of the acts are paid out of their funds. In quarter sessions boroughs, however, where the council have the duty of appointing a public analyst, they are under an obligation to put the acts in force from time to time, as occasion may arise. The acts themselves most be consulted for the procedure, beginning with the taking of samples and ending with the conviction of an offender. The powers and duties of a district council under the Rivers Pollution Prevention Act 1876 have been incidentally Rivers noticed when dealing with county councils, whose powers pollution. under the acts are precisely the same. Under the Electric Lighting Acts the Board of Trade may license any district council to supply electricity, or may grant to them a provisional order for the same purpose. A similar licence or order may be granted to a private person or /i htin company to supply electricity within the district of a g g• district council, but in that case the consent of the district council must be given, unless the Board of Trade, for special reasons, dispense with such consent. These licences are now rarely applied for or granted, and the provisions which were formerly contained in the provisional orders have now been consolidated by the Electric Lighting Clauses Act 1899, the effect of which will be to make provisional orders uniform for the future. It is now almost the exception, at least in urban districts, to find a district council which has not obtained a provisional order under these acts, and for the most part the undertakings of local authorities in the way of supplying electricity have been very prosperous. Under the Allotment Acts district councils were empowered to provide allotments for the labouring population of their district, if they were satisfied that there was a demand for allot- ments, AI/ot that these: could not be obtained at a reasonable menu. rent by voluntary arrangement, and that the land could be let at such a price as would not involve a loss to the council. The district council might acquire land, let it and regulate it, and they might provide common pasture. These powers were, by an act of 1907, transferred to parish councils. The urban district council execute the Public Libraries Acts for their district, and the rate for the expenses of the acts, which may not exceed Id. in the £, is in a borough in the nature public of a borough rate, and in any other urban district in /abrades. the nature of a general district rate. Under the acts not only public libraries, but also public museums, schools for science, art galleries and schools for art, with the necessary buildings, furniture, fittings and conveniences, may be provided for the in-habitants o£' the district. Land may he acquired, and money borrowed, for the purposes of the acts. A great number of other statutes confer powers or impose duties upon district councils, such as the acts relating to town gardens, agricultural gangs, fairs, petroleum, infant life protection, commons, open spaces, canal boats, factories and workshops, margarine, sale of horse-flesh and shop hours. Before the passing of the Local Government Act 1894 there was really nothing in the form of local government for a parish. The parish It is true that the inhabitants in vestry had certain and the powers. They could adopt various acts, which will be parish more particularly referred to hereafter, and they could council. appoint the persons who were to carry these acts into execution. They elected the churchwardens and overseers, the highway surveyor, if the parish was a separate unit for highway purposes, and the waywardens if it was included in a highway district. But there was nothing in the nature of a representative body exercising any powers of government in the parish regarded as a separate area. Under the act of I&)4 this was changed. In every rural parish, that is to say, in every parish which is not included within an urban district, there is a parish meeting, which consists of the parochial. electors of the parish. As already stated, these are the persons whose names are on the parliamentary and local government registers. If the parish has a population exceeding 300, a parish council must be elected. If it has a population of loo or upwards, the county council are bound: to make an order for the election of a parish council if the parish meeting so resolves. Where there is no parish council, as will be seen hereafter, the various powers conferred upon a council are exercised by the parish meeting itself. Two or more parishes may be grouped together under a common parish council by order of the county council if the parish meetings of each parish consent. An annual parish meeting in every rural parish must be held on the 25th day of March or within seven days before or after that date; and if there is no parish council, there must be at least one other parish meeting in the year. At the annual parish meeting the parish council, if there is one, is elected, and the members of the council, who originally held office for one year only, now, under a subsequent act, hold office for three years. Any person who is a parochial elector, or who has for twelve months preceding the election resided in the parish, or within 3 M. thereof, may be elected parish councillor, and the number of councillors is to be fixed from time to time by the county council, not being less than five nor more than fifteen. Women, whether married or single, are eligible. The council are elected in manner provided by the rules of the Local Government Board. The rules now in force will be found in the Statutory Rules and Orders. They are very similar to those which are in force with reference to the elections of district councils, which have already been noticed. If a poll is demanded, it must be taken under the Ballot Act, as applied by the rules, and for all practical purposes it may be taken that the election proceeds in the same manner as that of a district council. The parish council elects a chairman annually. He may be one of their own number, or some other person qualified to be a parish councillor. The council is a body corporate, may hold land in mortmain, and can appoint committees for its own parish or jointly with any other parish council. Powers to Among the powers conferred upon a parish council are appoint those of appointing overseers and of appointing and re-overseers. yoking the appointment of assistant overseers. Church- wardens are no longer overseers, and the parish council may appoint as overseers a number of persons equal to the number formerly appointed as overseers and churchwardens. It may be useful to mention here that for purposes of the administration of the poor law, overseers no longer act, their duties in that respect having been superseded by the guardians. They remain, however, the rating authority so far as regards the poor rate and nearly all other rates, the exceptions being the general district rate in an urban district and the borough rate in a borough, made by the town council. They still have power to give relief to poor persons in case of sudden and urgent necessity, but their principal duty is that of rating authority, and they are bound to make out the lists for their parishes of jurors and electors. No payment is made to them. The office is compulsory, but certain persons are privileged from being elected to it. The assistant overseer, who was formerly nominated by the inhabitants and vestry and then formally appointed by justices, is now, as has been stated, appointed by the parish council. He holds office at pleasure, and receives such remuneration as the council fix, and he performs all the duties of an overseer,or such of them as may be prescribed by the terms of his appointment. There may be in a parish a collector of rates appointed, by the guardians. In that event, an assistant overseer cannot be appointed to perform the duties of collector of rates, but, on the other hand, the parish council may invest the collector with any of the powers of an overseer. The parish council may appoint a clerk, who may be either one of their own number without payment, or the assistant overseer,, rate collector or some other fit person, with remuneration. Amon the duties transferred to parish councils may be mentioned. the provision of parish books and of a vestry room or parochial office, parish chest, fire engine or fire escape, the holding or management of parish property,'other than property Powers relating to affairs of the church or held for an ecclesiastical and. duties charity, the holding or management of village greens or of parish of allotments, the appointment of trustees of parochial coyncAs0 charities other than ecclesiastical charities in certain cases, and certain limited powers with reference to the supply of water to the parish, the removal of nuisances, and the acquisition of rights of way which are beneficial to the inhabitants. Among the most important of the matters which concern a rural; parish is the administration of what are commonly called the adoptive acts. These include the Lighting and Watching Act, the Lighting Baths and Washhouses Acts, the Burial Acts, the Public Improvement Act and the Public Libraries Acts. The Watching. Lighting and Watching Act was formerly adopted for a Act parish, or part of a parish, by the inhabitants in vestry, who elected lighting inspectors, of whom one-third went out of office in every year. The inspectors took the necessary steps for having the parish lighted (the provisions. as to watching having been obsolete for many years), and the expenses of lighting were raised by the overseers upon an order issued to them by the inspectors. The owners and occupiers of houses, buildings and property, other than land, pay a rate in the £ three times greater than that at which the owners and occupiers of land are rated and pay for the purposes of the act. Now this act, like the other adoptive acts, can only be adopted by the parish meeting, and where adopted for part only of a parish, must be adopted by a parish meeting held for that part. After the adoption of the act it is carried into execution by the parish council, if there is one, and if not, by the parish. meeting, and the expenses are raised in the same manner as heretofore. The Baths and Washhouses Acts have already been Baths d referred to in dealing with district councils, and it is hoes s sufficient to say that they are now adopted and ad- At ministered in a rural parish in the manner pointed out with reference to the Lighting and Watching Act. The same may he said of the Burial Acts, but these are sufficiently important to require special notice. These acts contain provisions whereby burials may be prohibited in urban districts, and Burial churchyards or burial grounds already existing may be Acts. closed when full. Formerly, when the acts had been adopted by the vestry, it was necessary to appoint a burial board to carry the acts into execution and provide and manage burial grounds. Now, in a rural parish which is coextensive with an area for which the acts have been adopted, the burial board is abolished and the acts are administered by the parish council; and the acts cannot be adopted in a rural parish save by the parish meeting. If the area under a burial board in 1894 was partly in a rural parish and partly in an urban district, the burial board was superseded, and the powers of the board are exercised bya joint committee appointed partly by the urban district council and partly by the parish council, or parish meeting, as the case may be. In a rural parish where there is no parish council, though the acts are adopted by the parish meeting, it is still necessary to elect the burial board, and that board will be elected by the parish meeting. The distinction between a burial ground under the Burial Acts and a cemetery provided under the Public Health Acts has already been noticed. A burial ground, properly so called, has to be divided into consecrated and unconsecrated portions, and the former really takes the place of the parish churchyard; and the incumbent of the parish church, the clerk, and the sexton continue to receive the same fees upon burials in the consecrated portion as they would have done in the parish churchyard. It has been mentioned that a portion of the burial ground must be left unconsecrated. But this is subject to one important exception, that the parish meeting may unanimously resolve that the whole of the burial ground shall be consecrated. In that case, however, the parish council may, within ten years thereafter, determine that a separate unconsecrated burial ground shall also be provided for the parish. The expenses of the execution of the Burial Acts are provided by the overseers out of the poor rate upon the certificate of the body entrusted with the execution of them. In the event of the acts being adopted for a portion only of a rural parish, the burial board, or the parish meeting, may by resolution transfer all the powers of the board to the parish council. The Public Improvement Act, when adopted, enables a parish council to purchase or lease, or accept gifts of land for the purpose of forming public walks, exercise or play grounds, and to provide for the expense by means of a parish improve- Imprc mprove- meat rate. Before any such rate is imposed, however, went Act. a sum in amount not less than at least half of the estimated cost of the proposed improvement must have been raised by private subscription or donation, and the rate must not exceed sixpence in the £. The Public Libraries Acts enable the authority adopting them to provide public libraries, museums, schools for science, art galleries Public and schools for art. The expenses in a rural parish are Libraries defrayed by means of a rate raised with, and as part of, Acts the poor rate, with a qualification to the effect that agri- cultural land, market gardens and nursery grounds are to be assessed to the rate at one-third only of their rateable value. The expenses of a parish council may not, without the consent of a parish meeting, exceed the amount of a rate of threepence in the for the financial year; but with the consent of the parish meeting the limit may be increased to sixpence, exclusive of expenses under the adoptive acts. If it is necessary to borrow, the consent of the parish meeting and of the county council must be obtained. The expenses are payable out of the poor rate by the overseers on the precept of the parish council. One of the most important powers conferred upon a parish council is that which enables them to prevent stoppage or diversion of any public right of way without their consent and without the approval of the parish meeting. The council may also complain to the ccunty council that the district council have failed to sewer their parish or provide a proper water-supply, or generally to enforce the provisions of the Burial Acts; and upon such complaint, if ascertained to be well founded, the county council may transfer to themselves the powers and duties of the district council, or may appoint a competent person to perform such powers and duties. In a parish which is not sufficiently large to have a parish council, most of the powers and duties conferred or imposed on the parish council are exercised by the parish meeting. It .may be convenient here to add that where, under the Local Government Act 1894, the powers of a parisTi council are not already possessed by an urban district council, the Local Government Board may by order confer such powers on the urban council. This has been done almost universally, as far as regards the power to appoint overseers and assistant overseers, and in many cases urban councils have also obtained powers to appoint trustees of parochial charities. The foregoing is a sketch of the scheme of local government carried out in England and Wales. No attempt has been made to deal with poor law (q.v.) or education (q.v.). The General local administration of justice devolving upon the observe- ices in quarter or petty sessions i ust s hardly a matter Lions. justices of local government, although in one important respect, that, namely, of the licensing of premises for the sale of intoxicating liquors, it may be thought that the duties of justices fall within the scope of local government. It will be seen that the scheme, as at present existing, has for its object the simplification of local government by the abolition of unnecessary independent authorities, and that this has been carried out almost completely, the principal exception being that in some cases burial boards still exist which have not been superseded either by urban district councils or by parish councils or parish meetings. There are also some matters of local administration arising under what are called commissions of sewers. These exist for the purpose of regulating dr)ainagc, and providing defence against water in fen lands or lands subject to floods from rivers or tidal waters. The commissioners derive their authority from the Sewers Commission Acts, which date from the time of Henry VIII., from the Land Drainage Act 1861, and from various local acts. It is unnecessary, however, to consider in any detail the powers exercised by commissioners of sewers in the few areas under their control.
End of Article: LOCAL
LOBSTER (O.E. lopustre, lopystre, a corruption of L...

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