« EelmineJätka »
by stat. 6 & 7 W. 4, c. 96, s. 2. The rate was duly allowed, &c. Some of the vestrymen who attended at the original meeting of the 12th August and the several adjourned meetings, and who took part in the business transacted at these meetings, and who signed the rate books, were vestrymen de facto only, having been illegally elected. On these facts, stated in
a special case, with the question "whether or not they sustained the avowry?”— Held, by the Court of Queen's Bench, that no rate was in fact made on the 12th August. And
that the rate could not be considered as made on the 14th September, or on the two days or either of them by the joint effect of the meetings held on each, there having been no direct adjournment from 12th August to 14th September, and no proper notice having been given that the meeting on the latter day was for the purpose of making a rate. And that, independ. ently of this defect in proof, the signing on September 14th, of a rate only resolved upon by the vestry on August 12th, did not support the allegation that a rate made on the lastmentioned day was signed on September 14th. Held, by the Court of Exchequer Chamber, on Error, reversing the judgment of the Court of
Queen's Bench: That the allegation, in the avowry, that a rate was made at the meeting on the 12th August, was proved by the fact found, that the rate was begun at that meeting and completed on the 14th September, to which day the meeting was duly adjourned by successive adjournments ; because all these meetings in law constituted one. That no notice of the purpose of the adjourned meetings was necessary. That the allegation, that the rate was signed at "a certain other meeting" on the 14th September,
was also proved, because, though that meeting continued to be the same as the meeting of 12th August until the rate was completed, it might be treated as a different meeting at the time of signing the rate after it had been completed. That the rate made by vestrymen de facto was valid. That the rate was well signed, for that the signatures to the declaration at the foot of the rate under stat. 6 & 7 W. 4, c. 96, s. 2, answered also the purpose of signatures to the rate itself under the local act.
Replevin. Avowry by Lorant, as one of the collectors of the poor rates of St. Pancras, Middlesex, and cognisance by Patrick, as a peace officer, acting *in execution of the warrant after mentioned.
[*688 That plaintiff was the occupier of certain rateable property in St. Pancras. That, on 12th August, 1839, a meeting of vestrymen of the said parish was held at the vestry rooms in pursuance of stat. 59 G. 3, c. xxxix., local and personal, public,(a) for the purpose of making a rate for the relief of the poor, &c., according to the several laws in that behalf; at which meeting there were present more than seyen of the vestrymen, to wit, &c. (naming twenty-two.(6)) That notice of such meeting and of the purpose thereof had been duly given. That, at such meeting, “a certain rate or assessment of 18. in the pound was adjudged and determined to be necessary, and was then and there unanimously agreed upon and made by all the vestrymen present,” “in and towards
" the relief and maintenance of the poor,” and other the purposes, &c.; and that the rate was made upon an estimate, &c. (according to stat. 6 & 7 W. 4, c. 96, s. 1); and “ that such rate, in addition to every other particular which the form of making *out such rate required to be set forth, contained an account of every particular set forth
[*689 at the head of the respective columns in the form given in the schedule annexed to a certain act,” &c. (6 & 7 W. 4, c. 96), “so far as the same could be ascertained; and which said rate or assessment then was such
(a) “For establishing a select vestry in the parish of St. Pancras, in the county of Middlesex, and for other purposes relating thereto." (6) The proceedings were very fully set out: tho material parts only are here stated. VOL. XIII-52
a general rate or assessment as by the several laws then in force and effect church wardens and overseers of the poor then were enabled or empowered to make.” « That, after the making of the said rate, and before the allowance or confirmation thereof," "as hereinafter mentioned, and whilst the said property of the plaintiff, and the said plaintiff in respect thereof, were so liable to be rated as aforesaid, viz. on the 14th day of September, A. D. aforesaid, a certain other meeting of the vestrymen of the parish aforesaid," “ was held in pursuance of the said firstmentioned act, to wit, at the said vestry rooms,” &c., at which meeting were present more than seven, &c., to wit, &c.; naming thirteen. “ That,
66 the vestrymen present at the meeting of vestrymen of the said parish convened and held according to the provisions of the said act of parliament hereinbefore first above mentioned, and which last preceded the suid last-mentioned meeting (to wit) of the said 14th day of September, having adjourned themselves to mect at the time and place last aforesaid, to wit, the said 14th day of September, at the vestry rooms,” &c., “ printed notice of the said last-mentioned meeting so to be held by adjournment,” with the name of the vestry clerk thereto subjoined, was left at the place of abode of every vestryman of the parish three days before the appointed day of meeting. « That, at the said last-mentioned meeting so held,” &c., “ the said rate so agreed upon and made at the *690]
said *first-mentioned meeting in manner and form as hereinbefore
mentioned was then and there duly signed by eight of the said vestrymen present, to wit, William Pickman, Richard Horspool, James Cooper Harnden, John Perrett, Thomas Braithwaite, Robert Stock, John Arnell, and Robert Bloomfield Clarke, then being vestrymen of the said parish by virtue of the said act hereinbefore first above mentioned, and which said last-mentioned eight vestrymen so present at the said lastmentioned meeting, and so then and there signing the said rate as last aforesaid, were also present at the said first-mentioned meeting, and at the time the said rate was so unanimously agreed to and made as aforesaid.” That, at the last-mentioned meeting, after the signing of the rate, and before allowance, the same eight vestrymen signed a declaration at the foot of the rate as required by stat. 6 & 7 W. 4, c. 96, s. 2, and schedule.
That, at the several times of such meetings as aforesaid, proper entries were respectively made in a proper book theretofore and in that behalf provided by the vestry of the said parish, and kept for that purpose, of the names of the several vestrymen who attended the said meetings respectively, to wit, the vestrymen aforesaid, and of all orders and proceeding maile and taken respectively at such meetings; and such book hath always hitherto at all reasonable times been and still is open to the inspection of the vestrymen,” rate-payers and creditors on the rates, without fee, &c., according to the statute, &c.
* That, after the making of the said rate, and before the allowanoe
and confirmation," &c., “hereinafter mentioned, a certain special meeting of the vestrymen of the said parish was duly summoned and held at the vestry rooms,” &c., “on the 28th day of August, A. D. *afore
[*691 said, in pursuance of the said first-mentioned act, at which said last-mentioned meeting there were present more than thirteen vestrymen of the said parish, to wit,” &c. ; naming eighteen; and of which lastmentioned meeting and the purpose thereof, &c. (averment of notice). * That such last-mentioned meeting was the next subsequent meeting to the said meeting hereinbefore first mentioned.” - That, at such lastmentioned meeting,” “ the said rate 80 agreed upon and made at the said first-mentioned meeting as hereinbefore mentioned was then and there unanimously confirmed, to wit, by the said vestrymen present at such last-mentioned meeting, and a sufficient and proper entry was then and there made of such confirmation in a proper book theretofore provided and kept by the vestry of the said parish for such purpose, and also proper entries of the names of the several vestrymen” who attended that meeting, and of all orders and proceedings there, &c.; which book hath always been open to inspection, &c.
The defendants went on to aver that the rate was allowed and published; that an assessment on the plaintiff, amounting to 111., was stated and contained therein, &c.; that the sum was demanded of him and not paid; and that proceedings were thereupon taken, the result of which was the issuing of a distress warrant, under which the defendants seized. Verification.
Plea in bar, suggesting the death of Patrick: whereupon a stay of proceedings was ordered as to him. As to Lorant's avowry: De injuriâ. Issue thereon.
On the trial, before WIGHTMAN, J., at the Middlesex sittings after Michaelmas term, 1843, a verdict was found for the plaintiff, subject to the opinion of this *Court upon a special case, with liberty to either party to turn the case into a special verdict. The case
[*692 was stated; and the material parts were as follows.
The parish of St. Pancras was governed by a select vestry under the local act till 1832, when it adopted Sir John Hobhouse's Act, 1 & 2 W. 4, c. 60; and from that time its affairs were managed under the local act, modified by that of 1 & 2 W. 4. The election of vestrymen was annual, one third going out by rotation; and vacancies by death, &c., were filled up at the same time. The proper number of vestrymen was 120, in addition to the vicar and church wardens.
The case then set forth the proceedings at a vestry meeting on 6th May, 1839, for the election of vestrymen ; when a poll was demanded,
such poll, forty-six duly qualified vestrymen were elected, but illegally, as the plaintiff contended on the argument in this case. It is not thought necessary to state here the facts constituting the alleged illegality; an account of them will be found in Regina v. The Vestry
men of St, Pancras, 11 A. & E. 15 (E. C. L. R. vol. 39). The list of forty-six included nineteen who were re-elected, having been among the forty who were to go out according to rotation.
On the 12th August, 1839, a vestry meeting was held at the vestry rooms(a) in the manner directed by the local act, and for the purpose of making a rate, as mentioned in the avowry. Notice of the meeting, and of the purpose thereof, had been affixed on the church doors, &c.; and all the members of the vestry, including the above forty-six, were summoned, pursuant to a resolution of vestry at the last previous meeting.
The proceedings of that vestry were entered in a *book kept for *693]
purpose according to stat. 59 G. 3, c. xxxix. s. 14. The material parts were as follows.
“Parish of St. Pancras," &c. "At a general meeting of the vestrymen," &c., “held at," &c., “on Monday the 12th day of August, 1839, pursuant to adjournment:” “present,” &c. (the Chairman and thirty other vestrymen, seventeen of which number of thirty-one were returned at the last election):(6)
“ The minutes of the last vestry were read and confirmed. The vestry proceeded to the order of the day (pursuant to the minutes of the last vestry, and to letters of summons issued for the purpose by the vestry-clerk) to make a general rate for the relief of the poor of this parish. The notice of the present meeting and the purpose thereof, as published on the churches and chapels," &c., “pursuant to the act,” &c., “was presented and read. The extract from the minutes of the Directors of the poor, presented with the estimate of expenditure at the last vestry, was referred to, and ordered to be entered on the minutes as follows." Then followed the extract and estimate: and reports from committes on assessments. “ Resolved unanimously: That a general rate of 18. in the pound be made and laid on the inhabitants and occupiers of houses, lands," &c., “in the parish of St. Pancras in the county of Middlesex, for and towards the relief of the poor of the said parish, and other purposes chargeable thereon according to law; and the said rate is hereby made and laid accordingly, and is to be collected forth with.”
“Resolved that the vestrymen be summoned for Wednesday the 4th day of September nest, to elect and appoint a director of the poor in the place of Mr. W. Michaux. Adjourned to the 4th September next.”
The persons present at this meeting comprised (with others) all who were mentioned in the avowry as having been then present.
The case then stated that “A special meeting of the vestrymen of the parish was held at the vestry rooms aforesaid in Gordon Street aforesaid on Wednesday the 28th August, 1839.” The entry of proceedings in the before-mentioned book (so far as it is material) was:
“At a special general meeting of the vestrymen of the said parish, held at," &c., “on," &e., "pursuant to requisition. Present," &c. (the chairman and twenty-three other vestrymen, includ
ing thirteen of *those newly elected):(c) “The minutes of the last vestry read and *694] confirmed. The requisition by nine vestrymen for convening the present meeting was
presented and read as follows :" (requisition to convene a special general meeting, pursuant to sect. 87 of the local act (d) to consider a recommendation and plan from the directors of the poor for improving the workhouse). “ The vestry proceeded to the order of the day, pursuant to the said requisition and to letters of summons issued for the purpose by the vestry clerk, to consider a recommendation and plan, &c., for additions to the workhouse. Adjourned."
Notice of this meeting and of the purpose thereof had been left with (a) All the after-mentioned meetings were held at the same place. (6) Eight of these were vestrymen re-elected from among those in rotation to go out. (c) Seven of these were vestrymen who had been re-elected.
(d) Sect. 87 enables the vostrymen, at a special meeting to be summoned for that purpose on fourteen days' notice, to direct the workhouse or infirmary of the parish to be altered or enlarged, &c., and additions or improvements made therein.
each of the vestrymen, including those newly elected. This meeting was the next subsequent meeting to that of the 12th August, 1839.
On the 4th September a general meeting of the vestry was held pursuant to adjournment from the meeting of 12th August (present the chairman and twenty other vestrymen, ten of which twenty-one were among the last elected(a)), when (as appeared by the entries, which were set forth) the vestry (after reading and confirming the minutes of the last vestry) “ proceeded to the further order of the day pursuant to the said minutes, and letters of summons issued for the purpose, to hear the application of certain parishioners” to be relieved from payment of arrears, and to settle compositions for rates, and to pass resolutions on the several matters: and the vestry was “ adjourned to the 9th September, instant.” A general meeting of the vestry was held on September 9th pursuant to the adjournment from 4th September (present the chairman and eighteen other vestrymen, of which nineteen, seven were among those last elected ;(6)) *and the vestry proceeded to the order of the day (pursuant to minutes, which were read and confirmed, and
[*695 letters of summons) for considering applications for relief, and compositions: and the vestry was “adjourned to Saturday the 14th instant."
On September 14th a general meeting of the vestry was held “pursuant to adjournment from the 9th September,” present the chairman and fifteen other vestrymen, of which sixteen nine were among the last elected.(c) The entry of proceedings stated that
"The minutes of the last meeting were read and confirmed. The vestry clerk presented the books containing the rate made on the 12th ultimo. The vestry proceeded to the order of the day (pursuant to letters of summons issued for the purpose) to settle and sign the new rato books. Resolved: That the said books be now signed. The said rate books were thereupon signed by ten vestrymen. Resolved : That the vestry clerk make application for the allowance and confirmation of the said rate by two justices of the county of Middlesex, and thereupon cause due notice of such allowance to be given pursuant to the act for regulating vestry notices. Adjourned."
“The following is the form of the declaration and signatures of the rate books, with the names of the vestrymen signing it. We,” &c. (the declaration, as to the correctness of particulars in the columns of the rate, was in the form given by the schedule to stat. 6 & 7 W. 4, c. 96). It was signed by a churchwarden and nine vestrymen, four of whom were among those last elected.(d) Two of those who signed were, by mistake, not named in the minutes as attending. *There was no other signature of the rate books.
[*696 stated that, subject to correction of the above mistake, and to the
(a) Five were re-elected vestrymen.
(d) Two of these were re-elected vestrymen. Eight of the names corresponded with the names mentioned in the avowry as those of the vestrymen signing: they appeared also, with une or two exceptions, to correspond with the surnames of vestrymen entered as present at the meeting of August 12th. These eight names mentioned in the avowry did not include those of two vestrymen elected in May 1839, and who were not then members of vestry in rotation to go out.