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ENGLAND AND WALES.
BY THE LATE
THOMAS JAMES ARNOLD,
OF LINCOLN'S INN,
SAMUEL GEORGE JOHNSON,
LAW PRINTERS AND PUBLISHERS.
The Municipal Corporations Act, 1882, has been passed by the Legislature with the view of consolidating the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835 (5 & 6 Will. 4, c. 76), and the numerous Acts amending and extending the same.
The Municipal Corporations Act, 1882, does not, therefore, affect any borough which was not subject to the provisions of the Act of 1835.
It does not apply to the City of London, nor to unreformed corporations.
Neither does it touch any of the following Acts, although they are administered by municipal corporations, namely :
The Public Health Acts, and the Consolidation Clauses
Acts, incorporated therewith.
1863 (26 Vict. c. 13).
The Acts relating to the erection of Lunatic Asylums, and
the care of Pauper Lunatics.
Schools for Science or Art.
(Borough Funds) Act, 1872 (35 & 36 Vict. c. 91).
The Borough and Local Courts of Record Act, 1872.
It does not touch charters, further than they were affected by the Act of 1835.
Local Acts are exempted from the operation of the Act.
The work of consolidation was entrusted to Sir Francis S. Reilly and Mr. C. P. Ilbert, at that time, parliamentary draftsmen. The first Bill was introduced into Parliament in the year 1878. It failed to become law; and was re-introduced in the year 1879, very much in its present form. The pressure of business, however, prevented it passing until the close of the last session.
The difficulties of the undertaking were enormous; but they have been overcome through the great skill and labour of Sir F. S. Reilly and Mr. Ilbert. The highest praise must be awarded to them for the successful manner in which they have accomplished their arduous task.
The Bill, as it left their hands, was a model of consolidation.
After the Bill was introduced into Parliament, it was submitted by the Treasury to the writer, as a town clerk who had had much experience in the administration of the Acts proposed to be consolidated, in order that it might be examined and criticised from a practical point of view.
A considerable number of amendments were suggested; but most of these were considered inadmissible in a Bill purporting solely to consolidate the existing law. Subsequently the Bill was submitted to the Council of the Municipal Corporations Association, and carefully revised by Mr. R. S. Wright, who made some very important suggestions and corrections. The Bill was also sent by the Home Office to many town clerks, recorders, and other municipal and county officials. Many alterations were proposed, and, as far as these were consistent with the main object of the Bill, they are incorporated in the present measure. Some amendments were also introduced in the Bill in its passage through both Houses.
The result has been the production of an Act of Parliament which will be of the greatest value to all those engaged in the administration of municipal law.
Especial thanks are due to Mr. J. T. Hibbert, M.P., for the way in which he skilfully piloted this measure through Parliament.
The Act purports to be purely a Consolidation Act, and, generally speaking, this is so; but there are a few alterations, for the most part of a formal character, or else such as were necessarily incident to the proper interpretation of conflicting enactments. The most striking alteration is one introduced into the Bill in Committee in the House of Lords by Earl Powis. By the law, as it stood before the passing of this Act, the town council were obliged to elect the mayor from among the aldermen and councillors. The noble lord's alteration considerably extends the choice of the council, since he has added words