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GuyBarry
1324441.  Sun Jun 16, 2019 10:19 am Reply with quote

(I was trying to think of a way of squeezing this in under "R"...)

I mentioned the City of London Corporation in another thread as one of the most anomalous local authorities in the country, but it's not the most anomalous. Two of the four Inns of Court - the Inner Temple and Middle Temple - function as so-called "liberties" of the City of London, operating independently within its boundaries. (Gray's Inn and Lincoln's Inn, in the London Borough of Camden, do not enjoy this privilege.) I only found out the following very recently:

Quote:
Although situated within the boundaries of the City of London, the Inner and Middle Temple are not subject to the jurisdiction of the Mayor and Corporation of London. They claim this exemption as successors of the Knights Templar, who constructed the Temple Church and surrounding buildings on the site in the 12th century. [...]

Under Victorian legislation, the Inner Temple and Middle Temple were constituted civil ‘parishes’ for certain purposes, including poor relief, and were not to form part of any Poor Law Union or District. [...]

Until the middle of the 19th century, the Inns undertook their own policing and the City police were excluded from the Inns’ precincts, although the Inns did agree to contribute to the City police rate under the City Police Act of 1839. In 1857 the City police were allowed into the Temple and continue to police the precincts to this day, in liaison with the Inns' security staff. [...]

Under the Temples Order of 1971 the Inner Temple and Middle Temple were defined as local authorities with the same powers and responsibilities as the Inner London boroughs under the London Government Act 1963, except in relation to housing.

For most purposes the Middle Temple is not subject to the jurisdiction of the Common Council of the Corporation of London. However, there are exceptions relating to town planning (including local development plans) and listed historical buildings. [...]

Under the 1971 Temples Order, the Sub-Treasurer of the Inner Temple and the Under Treasurer of the Middle Temple were entitled to delegate the exercise of certain functions to the City Corporation, acting as their agent, for payments to be agreed with the City Corporation. A precedent for this delegation of duties lay in the Patchett Order of 1903. This Court Order, which was later given statutory force, restrained the City Corporation from enforcing the City of London Sewers Acts within the Inner Temple and Middle Temple, since they lay outside the City’s jurisdiction, provided that the Societies made a voluntary payment to the Corporation in lieu of sewer rates. [...]

The Sub-Treasurer of the Inner Temple and Under Treasurer of the Middle Temple are currently left to exercise local authority functions which include:

  • Environmental protection

  • Paving and lighting (although roads within the Temple are classified as private roads)
  • Planning (except development plans and listed buildings)
  • Public health and safety
  • Refuse collection
  • Water supply
  • Licensing (events and liquor)




https://www.middletemple.org.uk/about-us/the-inn-as-a-local-authority

The idea of lawyers being "a law unto themselves" has rarely seemed more apt.

 
GuyBarry
1324446.  Sun Jun 16, 2019 12:01 pm Reply with quote

It gets even more murky:

Quote:
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 covers only that information produced by the Sub-Treasurer of the Inner Temple, and his staff, in his capacity as a local authority. It does not extend to information generated by the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple as a private body. [...]

In the case of the Inner Temple, the publication scheme relates only to information produced by the Sub-Treasurer of the Inner Temple in his capacity as a local authority and does not extend to information generated by the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple as a private body. Since the local government functions are few and in most cases integrally linked with other Inner Temple activities, the Inner Temple publication scheme is more limited than those of other local authorities.


https://www.innertemple.org.uk/who-we-are/how-we-operate/policy-statements/freedom-of-information/

Where else in the country is a private body allowed to act as a public authority?

 
Alexander Howard
1324492.  Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:43 am Reply with quote

GuyBarry wrote:
Where else in the country is a private body allowed to act as a public authority?


In terms of local government, nowhere else. The Inner Temples and Middle Temple though are unique areas, enclosed precincts, serving the barristers who have their chambers there and various commercial tenants who rent from the Inns. What would an outside council do there apart from collecting rates?

There are many private bodies which exercise public authority: professional bodies such as the General Medical Council, the Law Society or the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors have power to ban a man from his career for life, or impose fines, even non-members, which is pretty powerful. It is there to ensure the professions are honest and competent. The professional bodies have always relied on a gentlemen's understanding not to abuse their power, but it would be quite open for a body like that to ban people for, say, insulting the chairman or voting Conservative. There should be some safety backstop since these is a real exercise of power over an individual.

 
Alexander Howard
1324554.  Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:23 am Reply with quote

Sorry - I went off on one there, and off-topic.

There's a book by the ever-readable Richard Fortey called 'Survivors: The Animals and Plants that Time has Left Behind'. There are some impressive remnants of ancient ages there.

It is a bit cruel to be described as a remnant, but I imagine that horseshoe crabs are past caring.

 
GuyBarry
1324557.  Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:33 am Reply with quote

Alexander Howard wrote:
Sorry - I went off on one there, and off-topic.


No need to apologize - I hijacked your thread on "Rutland, Roxburghshire and Ross-shire" after all. The only reason why I started this thread was that I didn't want to derail it still further!

Incidentally, the claim by the Local Government Information Unit that "Isles of Scilly Council is the smallest local authority by population with 2,259 people as of 2017" is presumably wrong. I don't have a figure for the resident population of either the Inner Temple or the Middle Temple but it clearly can't be as high as that.

 

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