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operation (1) as to section 10 (which relates to the establishment of a registry office), and as to section 37 (which relates to the payment of salaries and expenses) on the passing of the Act), and (2) as to the remainder of the Act, on the 1st of January, 1876.
The Act (section 3) is to extend to Great Britain and Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man.
The fourth section is the interpretation clause, which defines the meaning of a number of terms used in the Act.
Section five repeals a number of Acts, or parts of Acts, set forth in the first schedule (p. 114). These Acts, as we have already stated, include all Friendly Societies previously in operation. The clause at the same time provides that this repeal is not to affect the past operation of the said Acts, or the validity of anything done either under them or under the rules of any society registered or certified thereunder before the commencement of the present Act.
The effect of the repeal of these Acts, so far as relates to existing societies, is further limited by clause 6, which provides that every society now subsisting whose rules have been registered, enrolled, or certified under any Act relating to friendly societies or cattle insurance societies, is to be deemed a society registered under this Act, and that its rules, so far as they are not contrary to any express provisions of this Act, are to continue in force until altered or rescinded.
Moreover, although as to societies in general, the present Act imposes a limitation of the benefits to
which a member may be entitled (see post, Introd. p. 30, and clause 27), the section to which we are now referring makes one exception to that rule, by providing that "nothing herein contained shall affect the validity of the rules of friendly societies established before the 15th day of August, 1850, notwithstanding that the contingent annual payments to which the members or nominees of the members of such societies may become entitled, may exceed the limit hereby fixed."
Notwithstanding the repeal of the 18 & 19 Vict. c. 63, section 44 of that Act will (by clause 7) continue in operation with regard to any society whose rules have been deposited under it until such society is registered under the present Act, or until the 31st day of December, 1878, whichever first happens. That is to say, the societies in question may, if they choose, postpone registration under the present Act until 31st December without forfeiting the advantages they enjoy under the clause in question ; but if they do not do so by that date, they will then cease to enjoy those advantages.
The Act next proceeds to describe (by clause 8) the societies which may be registered under it. They are as follows
(1.) Societies (herein called friendly societies) established to provide by voluntary subscriptions of the members thereof, with or without the aid of donations
For the relief or maintenance of the members,
their husbands, wives, children, fathers, mothers, brothers or sisters, nephews or nieces, or wards being orphans, during sickness or other infirmity, whether bodily or mental, in old age (which shall mean any age after fifty), or in widowhood, or for the relief or maintenance of the orphan children of members during minority;
For insuring money to be paid on the birth of a member's child, or on the death of a member, or for the funeral expenses of the husband, wife, or child of a member, or of the widow of a deceased member, or, as respects persons of the Jewish persuasion, for the payment of a sum of money during the period of confined mourning ;
For the relief or maintenance of the members when on travel in search of employment, or when in distressed circumstances, or in case of shipwreck, or loss or damage of or to boats or nets;
For the endowment of members or nominees of
members at any age;
For the insurance against fire, to any amount not
exceeding fifteen pounds, of the tools or implements of the trade or calling of the members;
Provided that no society (except as aforesaid) which contracts with any person for the assurance of an annuity exceeding fifty
pounds per annum, or of a gross sum exceeding two hundred pounds, shall be registered under this Act:
called cattle insurance
societies) for the insurance to any amount against loss by death of neat cattle, sheep, lambs, swine, and horses from disease or otherwise :
(3.) Societies for any benevolent or charitable purpose (herein called benevolent societies):
Societies (herein called working men's clubs) for purposes of social intercourse, mutual helpfulness, mental and moral improvement, and rational recreation:
(5.) Societies for any purpose which the Treasury may authorize as a purpose to which the powers and facilities of this 'Act ought to be extended (herein called "specially authorized societies ").
The Treasury have, however, under clause 9, power to limit the application of the Act as respects "specially authorized societies" to such of the provisions of the Act as they may specify in the authority for registering any such society.
Such being the societies to be registered, by whom are they to be registered? This question is answered by the 10th clause, which provides for the establishment of a central registry office, under a chief registrar and "assistant-registrar for England; " together with branch registry offices, each under an assistant-registrar
for Scotland and Ireland. The registrar and assistantregistrars must be barristers or solicitors. The clause then goes on to prescribe their functions. In the first place, the central office is to exercise all the functions now vested by law in the registrar of friendly or building societies for England or Wales, or in the barrister appointed to certify the rules of savings banks. But then this office is, further, to perform certain duties imposed upon it by the present Act. It is to prepare and circulate model forms of accounts, balance-sheets, and valuations. It is to collect and circulate information useful to friendly societies with regard to the statistics of life and sickness. And it is to construct and publish tables for the payment of sums of money on death, in sickness, or old age, or on any other contingency forming the subject of an assurance authorized by the Act; it being, however, provided that the adoption of these tables by any society shall be optional. The chief registrar is to report annually to Parliament; and the remainder of the clause prescribes the relations between the chief office and the assistant-registrars for Scotland and Ireland, together with the functions of the latter officers.
We have already seen what societies may be registered. The registration of these societies is, however, (clause 11) subject to the following conditions and qualifications:
(1.) No society can be registered under this Act which does not consist of seven persons at least.