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overseers 'shall, by warrant from any two justices, levy such money by distress and sale of the of fender's goods, and in default of such distress they may commit the offerider to the cominon gaol of the county, there to remain until payment of such money or arrearages as aforesaid.
By this act it does not seem imperative on the two justices at a special sessions, to examine and correct the accounts, consequently the act 17 Geo. II. as far as regards the allowance by one magistrate, is not repealed; but as the overseers are bound to present them to the justices at a special sessions within the limited time, which justices are directed to sign their allowance and approbation thereof, it seems reasonable to conclude that the accounts were intended to be allowed (whether altered or amended, or not) by the magistrates at such special sessions.
If the churchwardens or overseers are aggrieved by the disallowance or alteration by the magistrates of any of the charges in their accounts, they may appeal at the next quarter sessions, to be held next after the 10th day from making the order; but must first pay or deliver over to the succeeding overseers such money, goods, chattels and other things which shall appear by such account to be in their hands, and must also enter into recognizance before one or more justices, with two sufficient sareties in not less than double the value of the disputed charges, to enter and try such appeal: and
the justices at sessions may confirm or reverse such allowance or reduction, in whole or in part, and may also allow (if they think fit) costs to the cburchwardens and overseers upon such appeal, such costs to be defrayed out of the poor's rate. 50 Geo. III. c. 49. 15 E. R. 200.
Any parishioner may appeal against the accounts of the overseers, on giving notice to the parish officers of such intention; but the accounts should be first allowed by the magistrates, and the appeal should be to the sessions next following such allow
ance. 3. 3.
For general negligence in their office, overseers are punishable by 43 Eliz. e. 2, s. 2, 11, by fine of 20s. for every default.
And by 17 Geo. II. c. 38, a penalty of not less than 40s. nor more than £5. is inflicted on every parish officer neglecting to obey the directions of that act, in cases wbere no penalty is provided for by the same act. s. 14.
By 33 Geo. III. c. 55, two justices at a special or petty sessions, on complaint on oath of neglect of duty, or disobedience of any lawful warrant or order of a justice, by an overseer, (such overseer being previously summoned) may impose a fine not exceeding 40s. on conviction of such overseer, and if not paid, the same may be levied by distress and sale of soch overseer's goods; such fine to be applied to the poor of the parish where the offender resides, at the discretion of the justicesi and if no
distress, such offender may be committed to the house of correction for any time not exceeding terr days. s. 1. but if the party conceives himself aggrieved, he may appeal to the next quarter sessions on giving ten days' notice. s. 1.
Having pointed out in what manner overseers are punishable for neglect of their duty, it remains to be shewn how they are protected in the due execution of their office.
By 21 Jac. c. 7, in any action brought against churchwardens or overseers for any matter done by them concerning their office, they may plead the general issue, and give the special matter in evidence; and such churchwardens or overseers shall have double costs if á verdict shall be given in their favour, or if the plaintiff shall be non-suited or discontinue the action; and every such action must be laid in the county where the fact was committed. And by 43 Elis. c. 2, any person sued for any thing done in pursuance of that act, may plead the general issue, and give the special matter in evidence; and if a verdict shall be found for the defendant, or the plaintiff should be non-suited, or discontinue his action, the defendant shall have treble damages with costs; and by 24 Geo. II. c. 44, no action shall be brought against any constable, &c. or other officer, or any person acting by his order, for any thing done in obedience to the warrant of a justice of the peace, until demand has been made or left at the usual place of abode by the party or by his
attorney, in writing, signed by the party demanding the same, of the perusal and copy of such warrant, and the same hath been refused or neglected for six days after such demand; and if after a compliance therewith, such action shall be brought, without making the justice who signed the warrant a defendant, on producing and proving such warrant at the trial, the jury shall give their verdict for the defendant, notwithstanding any want of jurisdiction in the justice granting the warrant; and if such action is brought jointly against the justice and the officer, then on proof of such warrant, the jury shall find for the defendant.
Though churchwardens and overseers are not expressly named in this act, it has been determined in Jackson's case, E. 13 Geo. Ill. that all officers acting under a justice's warrant, are included by the words “ other Officers," in the act 24 Geo. II. c. 44. and this case was decided in an action of trespass, brought against overseers of the poor for executing a distress warrant for a poors' rate, in which the plaintiff was non-suited for not having pursued the directions of that statute, by making a demand, in the manner required by the act, of perusal and copy of the justice's warrant. 7 T. R. 270.
Churchwardens may by 53 Geo. III. c. 127, recover church rates not exceeding £10. in a summary way before two or more justices. See “ Church Rates."
By 50 Geo. III. c. 51, so much of the 8th and oth Wm. III. as requires paupers under certain pecuniary and corporal punishments to wear badges, is repealed.
The majority of the parish officers, as before stated, may make a rate for the immediate relief of the poor, which rate must be allowed by two or more justices of the peace living in or near the parish; and this act being merely ministerial, they must allow it without exercising any discretion as to the necessity or inequality of the rate ; but if two rates are presented by different officers of the same parish, the justices may elect which to allow. 1 Bott. 99, pl. 122. and the magistrates need not be together at the time of such allowance. 3 T. R.
On the Sunday next following the allowance, notice of the rate must be given by publishing it in the church, otherwise it is ,void. 4 T. R. 368. and after a rate has been regularly made, allowed and published, it cannot be altered by inserting other names, although with the consent of the justices who allowed it. Doug. 449..
The rate when made must be copied in a book and attested by the parish officers who made it ; and any inhabitant may inspect it on paying 1s. or may take a copy of the whole or part thereof on payınent of 6d. for every 24 names; churchwarden or overseer not permitting inspection, or