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The Americana: a universal reference library, comprising the arts ..., Volume 10 online

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business of the King's Bench Division. These
judges try civil causes either with or without a
jury; they preside at the Assizes, civil and
criminal, all over England and Wales; they
hear appeals from County Courts and magis-
trates, and prohibit all inferior tribunals from
exceeding their jurisdiction.

In the Probate, Divorce, and Admiralty Divi-
sion, there are two judges who decide as to the
validity of wills, grant divorces, and manage the
admiralty business of the country.

The relies of court made under the Judicature
Act have defined the procedure in the High
Court of Justice, which is simple and elastic. A
Master now decides all interlocutory matters
on a summons for directions, e. g. whether the
action shall proceed with or without pleadings,
with or without a formal trial, with or without
discovery of documents and interrogatories as
the nature of the case requires. Every amend-
ment in any record, pleading, or proceeding that
is requisite for the purpose of deciding the real
matter in controversy can be made at any stage
of the proceeding.

The Court of Appeal is composed of the
Master of the Rolls and five Lords Justices,
with the occasional assistance of the Lord Chan-
cellor, the Lord Chief Justice of England, and
the President of the Probate, Divorce, and
Admiralty Division.

Vol. 10 — 4



The Lord Chief Justice of England, the Mas-'
ter or the Rolls, and the Lords Justices are ap-
pointed by the Prime Minister; the puisne
judges of the High Court of Justice are ap-
pointed by the Lord Chancellor.

From the decision of the Court of Appeal,
appeal lies to the House of Lords — to the
judicial body known by this name, not to the
legislative assembly. An ordinary peer of the.'
realm can no longer sit in the House of Lords
when it is exercising judicial functions. The
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council hears
appeals in ecclesiastical matters and also from
th~ Colonies. These appellate courts will prob-
ably soon be merged in one; they have been
strengthened by the appointment of four paid
Lords of Appeal.

The criminal courts now are : The Magis-
trate's Court, the Borough Quarter Sessions, the
County Quarter Sessions, the Assizes, the Cen-
tral Criminal Court, the King's Bench Division
of the High Court of Justice, and the Court for
the consideration of Crown Cases Reserved.

The proceedings usually commence with a
summons, bidding the accused appear in court
before the magistrates on a certain day: in
some cases a warrant will be issued at once for
his arrest. Simple matters are disposed of sum-
marily by the magistrates. Graver cases are sent
for trial to Quarter Sessions or to the Assizes.
In these graver cases, the prosecution states in
detail the precise charge against the prisoner
in a pleading which is called an indictment.
This is laid before a grand jury; and the ac-
cused will not be put on his trial unless the
grand jury think that there is a case against
him fit to be tried. If the grand jury is of this
opinion they return the indictment into court,
marked *True bill,* and the prisoner is then
arraigned. In some few cases the prisoner must
state his defence in a written plea; but, as a
rule, he merely pleads 'guilty* or 'not guilty 1 *
orally from the dock. It he pleads 'guilty*, or
if after pleading 'not guilty* he is tried and
convicted, he may be sentenced to fine, imprison-
ment, or death, according to the nature of the
crime which he has committed.

The Central Criminal Court — better known
as the Old Bailey — tries all treasons, felonies,
and misdemeanors committed in the Metro-
politan district or within the jurisdiction of the
admiralty. The lighter crimes are usually dis-
posed of by the Recorder of London or the
Common Sergeant; the graver by a judge of the
High Court, who attends for the purpose. This
court is at once both Assizes and Quarter Ses-
sions for the city of London, and assizes for the
counties of London and Middlesex and for cer-
tain specified portions of the counties of Essex,
Kent, and Surrey.

The King's Bench Division occasionally exer-
cises jurisdiction as a court of first instance in
cases of grave public importance, such as the
trials at bar of Dr. Jameson and Col. Lynch in
1806 and 1903 respectively. It also has an ap-
pellate jurisdiction over cases brought before it
on writs of error or certiora/i or on ^special
cases* stated by justices of the peace.

The Court for the consideration of Crown
Cases Reserved is at present the onlv criminal
court of appeal. It deals only with points of law
submitted to it by the judge, who presided at the
trial. There is no appeal where the prisoner has



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GREAT BRITAIN— LOCAL GOVERNMENT



been acquitted. The court consists of at least
five judges of the High Court of Justice, of
whom the Lord Chief Justice of England must
be one, unless he is prevented from attending
by illness.

In the County Court and before magistrates,
solicitors act as advocates. In all the other
Courts only barristers can be heard at the
actual trial, or on a appeal w ; though solicitors
are allowed to argue minor questions in Judges'
Chambers. A barrister must be a member of
an Inn of Court ; he must have passed the Bar
Examinations, and then have been "called to
the bar" by his Inn. The four Inns of Court
in London possess the monopoly of calling men
to the bar; they will not "call® any woman. In
litigation in the High Court it is necessary to
employ both a solicitor and a barrister; the
solicitor prepares the case for trial, and "in-
structs® the barrister by delivering a "brief® to
him. Solicitors at^o dispose of a vast amount
of non-litigious business. Every solicitor must
have been articled to a solicitor for at least
three years, and must have passed the Solicitors'
Examinations at the Law Institution in Chan-
cer Lane, London, W. C.

For further information the reader is re-
ferred to Odgcrs on * Pleading and Practice, 1
6th ed. 1906 (London) ; Kenny's c Outlines of
the Criminal Law,* 2d ed. 1904 (Cambridge) ;
Broom's < Common Law,* 9th ed. 1896 (Lon-
don) ; ( A Century of Law Reform, 1 1901 (Lon-
. don), and Odgcrs on ( Local Government, 1
2d ed. 1906 (London).

William Blake Odcers, K. C,
Bencher of the Middle Temple, Recorder of
Plymouth, Director of Legal Studies at
the Inns of Court.

13. Great Britain — Local Government.

As in other large and populous countries, the
work of government in England* is classified
as being either national or local. This class-
ification has no reference to the place in which
the work is done or to the area benefited;
in England at any rate, it is based in practice —
whatever may have been its origin — exclusively
on the systems upon which these two branches
of public administration are organized and
controlled. That part of the work of govern-
ment which is undertaken by the national
organization of the state, directed from its
capital, and administered under the direct
orders of ^ its executive head or principal
legislature is termed national government ; and
is, indeed, by historians, politicians, and citi-
zens alike, often exclusively thought of as gov-
ernment. That part which is left to subordinate
organizations, relating only to particular geo-
graphical areas within the state; and which is
immediately directed by and responsible to
authorities belonging to those areas, subject only
to more or less supervision, help, and superior
control by the national government, is termed
local government. In England and Wales, even
more than in most other countries, the choice of
the particular functions of government to be
thus left to local authorities, and the amount and
kind of the supervision, help, and superior con-

•With En?!ind is included Wales and the Scilly Isles,
buv not Scotland or Ireland, which hive entirely distinct
•yttems of local government; as have also the Channel Isles
and the Isle of Man.



trol exercised by the national government in
respect of each of these functions, have been
determined rather by historical antecedents than
by any consistent or logical theory. The aggre-
gate amount, variety and relative importance of
local government has, during the past half cen-
tury, steadily increased ; until it has come in the
United Kingdom, nearly to equal in magnitude
(measured by the annual cost of administra-
tion) that of the national government itself.
This increase has not been due to any transfer
of services from the sphere of national to that
of local government. Such few transfers as
have occurred (like that of the prisons in 1877)
have been actually in the other direction. The
enormous development of English local govern-
ment which has marked the last half century has
been due, partly, to the great expansion of the
cities, which need more government than rural
districts, partly to the progressive demand for
new and increased services such as schools and
libraries, and partly to the tendency to transfer
the administration of services of common use
from the sphere of private to that of public —
usually local — administration.

THE SERVICES ADMINISTERED BY LOCAL AUTHORITIES.

The government at present entrusted to local
authorities in England and Wales may be di-
vided into four great classes, which we may
term respectively the collective organization of
public services, the collective regulation of in-
dividual conduct, the collective provision for
special classes of the community, and the col-
lective taxation upon individual citizens by
which the net cost of the whole of the local gov-
ernment work is met. It has been a consequence
of the great development of local government
during the past half century, and of the absence
of any logical or deliberately thought out plan
of organization, that this or any other systematic
analysis of local government functions does not
correspond exactly with any definite classifica-
tion of local governing bodies. We must there-
fore describe separately function and structure.

The collective organization of public services,
though later in its great development than some
other branches, now makes up the largest part
of English local government.

1. Protection. — We have first the funda-
mental service of the protection of the individual
citizen against aggression, for which there is,
from one end of England to the other — not ex-
cluding even the most rural or the most desolate
regions — a series of salaried, professional and
highly organized local forces of preventive
police. In marked contrast with the practice of
most other European countries (and, indeed,
with that of Ireland), these police forces, 187 in
number, are (with the exception of that for the
metropolitan area) exclusively under the control
of the respective local authorities, and are sub-
ject neither to orders from, nor to control by
the national executive. They are (outside the
metropolitan area) entirely appointed, controlled,
and paid by particular local authorities; in
municipal boroughs, the town councils by their
"watch committees* : in counties, by what are
known as "standing joint committees,* of which
half the members are chosen by the County
Council and half by the Justices of the Peace in
Quarter Sessions. The total cost of mainte-



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ORBAT BRITAIN— LOCAL GOVERNMENT



nance of the provincial police forces is three and
one third million pounds, and that of the two
metropolitan forces two and one quarter million
pounds per annum, for which 44,000 men are
maintained. A separate grant oi part of this
cost (at first a quarter, latterly one half) was
long made from the national exchequer, condi-
tionally on the local authority (1) permitting
the Home Secretary to have its force inspected
annually by an officer appointed for the purpose,
(2) maintaining it at such a standard of
strength and efficiency as the Home Secretary
might consider satisfactory. No separate police
grant is now made, the amounts (aggregating
£3,000,000 per annum) having been merged in
larger general contributions in aid of local au-
thorities; but a certificate by the Home Secre-
tary that the above conditions havt been ful-
filled is still annually required before payment
is made. In the metropolitan district (which
for this purpose extends to an area of more than
15 miles radius from Charing Cross) there are
two police forces ; one of small size, maintained
by the Corporation of the City of London, with-
out exchequer aid or Home Office inspection, for
the protection of the one square mile of the old
city ; and the other the largest in the world, or-
ganized as a local force, but commanded with-
out any shadow of local control, by officers ap-
pointed by the national executive itself (Home
Office) ; at the cost, partly of a fixed local rate
of five pence in the pound, which meets about
half the expense, and partly of the national ex-
chequer; for the protection of the 900 square
miles of the metropolitan area. ( ( Annual
Home Office Reports as to Police } ; < History
of Police in England,' by W. L. M. Lee, 1902.)

While the central courts of justice form
part of the national government, some
of the minor tribunals are (though the
judges are never elective) supplied by
local government, either in form of (a)
petty criminal courts held by the local justices
of the peace; (b) the more important Courts of
Quarter Sessions, held by the same; (c) sti-
pendiary police magistrates in various cities,
appointed by the national executive, but paid
for by the cities themselves; and (d) a few
local civil courts maintained in the City of Lon-
don and some other of the older cities. The
stipendiary police magistrates in the metropoli-
tan district (outside the old city) are main-
tained in the same way as the metropolitan
police force. ( < Justice and Police, > by F. W.
Maitland.)

Protection from fire is afforded by separately
organized fire brigades, having no connection
with the police. These are in all cases exclus-
ively under the control of the local authorities ;
in London, the County Council; in the munici-
pal boroughs, the Municipal Corporation; in
other places, the Urban District Council, or the
Parish Council. In London, the fire brigade is
second in size and cost only to that of New
York, and it is not clear whether, for the par-
ticular conditions of its task, its efficiency is
second to that of any in the world.
Its strength is 1,375 men, and its cost £240,000
per annum, toward which the fire insurance
companies have to contribute a trifling percent-
age of the value they severally insure in London,
and the national exchequer unconditionally con-
tributes £10,000 a year in respect of the large



amount of national property in the metropolis.
Some of the provincial cities have also salaried
professional fire brigades, often highly efficient. In
less populous centres, according to the unfet-
tered discretion of the particular local authority
in each case, the fire protection passes by in-
sensible gradations (some salaried profes-
sionals, men in other occupations partially paid
for fire service, or unpaid but organized volun-
teers) down to the mere provision of a hand
pump or buckets, to be used by any zealous
citizen. Protection against fire in theatres and
music halls, and against such methods of building
houses generally as might facilitate dangerous
fires, is afforded, in the metropolis, by the
stringent regulations and inspection by the
London County Council under its special
building act. In other towns the Municipal
Corporation takes such action of a similar kind
as it thinks fit, by way of by-laws. Protection
against drowning is afforded in the bathing sea-
son by the boats and boatmen provided by onlj
a few seaside municipal corporations.

2. Locomotion. — In so far as locomotion ia
not abandoned to private enterprise (railways,
most river steamers, some tramways, omni-
buses, etc.), the whole provision for this service
is left in England to the local authorities. The
maintenance of roads is performed, over every
part of England and Wales, by one kino of local
governing body or another. Within London, it
is the council of the particular metropolitan
borough; in the municipal boroughs, it
is the corporation; in other towns, it is the-
urban district council; and wherever none of
these authorities exists, it is the rural district
council which is responsible for this service.
The method and standard adopted in each
locality is left to the unfettered discretion of
its local authority, which (for the 95,177 miles
of by-roads) has itself to bear all the expense.
But for what are deemed main roads (apart
from London and the principal cities which are
called county boroughs), the county council
either itself undertakes the service or else con-
tributes to the minor local authority a sunt
agreed between them as the cost of keeping up
such main roads, of which there are 27,367
miles. The average amount per mile annually
spent on road maintenance is main roads, £60;
by-roads, £20. The county council, outside
London and the county boroughs, moreover,
maintain the bridges over streams, etc., with
some exceptions. Where, as in urban districts,
the road becomes a street, its maintenance
naturally becomes more costly, and altogethei
new needs of paving, cleansing, and lighting
arise, to be dealt with and paid for in each
case by the local authority concerned, at its
unfettered discretion. Further developments
of the same service, undertaken under
special powers, are the short lengths of canal
of the Exeter and York municipal corpora-
tions, and the extensive canal navigation
owned and operated by the Gloucestershire
county council ; the harbors, piers, and dock*
maintained by about 50 local authorities;
the numerous bridges over the Thames, con-
structed and maintained partly by the Corpora-
tion of the City of London, partly by the Lon-
don County Council ; similar bridges ovei
rivers in other cities nearly always maintained
by the local municipal corporation; the great



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GREAT BRITAIN— LOCAL GOVERNMENT



tunnels under the Thames Constructed by the
London County Council; a few old-fashioned
ferry services maintained (as at Saltash, Mid-
dlesborough, and Sunderland) by various local
authorities ; the development of the ferry into a
moving (( floating bridge" by the corporation of
Southampton; and into river steamboat services
across the Mersey by the Corporation of Bir-
kenhead; across the Thames at Woolwich by
the London County Council; and up and down
the Thames by the same local authority. In
other directions the road has been developed
into a tramway; and cars — horse, steam, or
electric — are now (1906) owned by about fifty
local authorities, and operated under municipal
management by an ever increasing number of
them (in 1906 over 30), including the valuable
hundred miles of track already worked by the
London County Council, with gross receipts
from fares which, in a normal year of full elec-
tric working, may be put at more than £1,500,-
000 sterling. In one or two cities the municipal
corporation has obtained exceptional power to
run an omnibus service in conjunction with the
tramways. In all other cases the omnibus ser-
vice, together with either the ownership and
management of the tramway service, or else its
operation under terminable lease from the local
authority, is left to private enterprise. A few
bridges constructed by groups of capitalists,
with power to charge tolls, are still in the same
position, as are most of the canals, and all the
railways and coast steamboats. The 19th cen-
tury has seen a marked tendency toward free-
ing from toll the use of the various means of
locomotion maintained by local authorities.
Their roads and streets — once barred to all but
pedestrians by tollgates — are now invariably
free ; the bridges, on many of which even pedes-
trians were charged a toll, are now (with the
exception of a few capitalistic ventures, still in
private hands) uniformly free; the tunnels
under the Thames are free to vehicles as well
as to pedestrians; the steamboat service by
which the London County Council maintains the
Woolwich ferry is equally free; while the ten-
dency in the municipal tramway canal and
steamboat services is to charge only the smallest
fares or tolls.

3. Water Supply.— The supply of water is
only in a steadily diminishing number of cities,
of which the largest are Bristol and Newcastle,
a matter for private enterprise. In a couple
of hundred cities this public service is in the
hands of the local authority, usually the munici-
pal corporation, or (as in the metropolitan dis-
trict), of a council made up of representatives
of different local authorities, the aggregate
amount of capital invested in these public water
enterprises being about £100,000,000 sterling. It
is now generally thought to be a defect that
there is no systematic distribution, among the
great centres of population, of the natural water
basins ; and no local authorities entitled to con-
trol them.

4. Heat, Light, and Power. — Gas for lighting,
heating, and power is produced and supplied,
under the authority of separate statutes, in
about 670 cities and towns, besides a number of
smaller installations started without statutory
powers. These gas works were, in their
origin, mostly private enterprises (though the
local governing body of Manchester started its



own gas works in 1816), but there has been a
steady tendency to municipalization, until 210
towns now (1906) govern their own gas pro-
duction, with a capital of £40,000,000 sterling in-
vested in their enterprises. During the last
quarter of a century on an average five cities
a year have municipalized their gas supply;
and as these comprise a majority of the smaller
consumers, no less than 46 per cent of the en-
tire number of the users of gas in the United
Kingdom are thus co-operatively supplied by
themselves as citizens (Annual Returns as to
Gas Works, Board of Trade). Electricity,
starting only within the past quarter of a cen-
tury, has been even more predominately a mat-
ter of municipal enterprise. More than 100
towns have their own municipal electricity
supply, in which some £25,000,000 sterling is
now invested. In Manchester the municipal
corporation supplies also hydraulic power.

5. Education. — The extensive public service
of education — as a function of local govern-
ment scarcely a generation old — now makes up
more than a sixth of the total expenditure of
the local authorities. While the national ex-
ecutive, by contributing about a third of this
expenditure on education, exercises great in-
fluence by means of the conditions which it at-
taches to its grants, the power of the local
authorities to provide what kind and what
amount of educational facilities they deem fit
over and above the national minimum, is (so far
as secular subjects are concerned) now prac-
tically unlimited. There is no limit to their
current expenditure, or to the amount of rate
they may levy. There is no limit of grade or of
age. Anything that is education — whether ele-
mentary, secondary, or university in grade;
whether infant or adult; whether literary,
scientific, artistic, technological, or professional
in kind — the local authority may, if it chooses,
provide, without requiring any sanction or ap-
proval, in whatever way it chooses, under what-
ever regulations it chooses, gratuitously or at
any fee. It is legally restrained only (1) by the
statutory exclusion (or only conditional admis-
sion) of religious instruction in the nature of a
catechism distinctive of any particular denom-
ination; (2) by the statutory obligation to pro-
vide the <( national minimum* of efficient ele-
mentary schools for all children between 5 and
14 requiring elementary instruction ; (3) by the
need for sanction of any projects for raising
funds by loans. In practice, the dislike of the
citizens to an undue increase in the rates re-
strains the local authorities at present to a
comparatively limited use of their vast powers.
While elementary schools, of one sort or
another, — now always free and compulsorily
attended — exist in adequate numbers, there is,
as yet, a quite insufficient supply of secondary
schools, apart from those maintained from
ancient endowments, under separate governing
bodies; and whilst, in most cities, much has
been done for technological education of an



Online LibraryWilfrid RichmondThe Americana: a universal reference library, comprising the arts ..., Volume 10 → online text (page 14 of 185)