1902 Encyclopedia > Registration


REGISTRATION. In all systems of law the registration of certain legal facts has been regarded as necessary, chiefly for the purpose of ensuring publicity and simplifying evidence. Registers, when made in performance of a public duty, are as a general rule admissible in evidence merely on the production from the proper custody of the registers themselves or (in most cases) of examined or certified copies. The extent to which registration is carried varies very much in different countries. For obvious reasons judicial decisions are registered in all countries alike. In other matters no general rule can be laid down, except perhaps that on the whole registration is not as fully enforced in the United Kingdom and the United States as in Continental states. The most important uses of registration occur in the case of judicial proceedings, land, ships, bills of sale, births, marriages, and deaths, companies, friendly and other societies, newspapers, copyrights, patents, designs, trade marks, and professions and occupations. The registration of qualified voters in par-liamentary elections in the United Kingdom is treated in a separate section below.

Judicial Proceedings.—In England registrars are attached to the privy council, the Supreme Court, and the county courts. In the Queen's Bench Division (except in its bankruptcy jurisdiction) the duty of registrars is performed by the masters. Besides exercising limited judicial authority, registrars are responsible for the drawing up and recording of various stages of the proceedings from the petition, writ, or plaint to the final decision. With them are filed affidavits, depositions, pleadings, kc, when such filing is necessary. The difference between filing and registration is that the documents filed are filed without alteration, while only an epitome is usually registered. The Judicature Act, 1873, created district registries in the chief towns, the district registrar having an authority similar to that of a registrar of the Supreme Court. In the Admiralty Division cases of account are usually referred to the registrar and merchants. The registration in the central office of the supreme court of judgments affecting lands, writs of execution, recognizances, and litespendentes in England, and the registration in Scotland of abbreviates of adjudications and of inhibitions, are governed by special legislation. All these are among the incum-brances for which search is made on investigating a title. Their satisfaction and discharge is also registered. The Conveyancing Act, 1882, provides for a certificate by the proper officer of the existence or non-existence of entries of judgments, deeds, and other matters or documents made in the central office. The certificate is conclusive in favour of a purchaser. Decisions of criminal courts are said to be recorded, not registered, except in the case of courts of summary jurisdiction, in which, by the Summary Jurisdiction Act, 1879, a register of convictions is kept. Probates of wills and letters of administration, which are really judicial decisions, are registered in the principal or district registries of the Probate Division. In Scotland registration is used for giving a summary remedy on obligations without action by means of the fiction of a judicial decision having been given establishing the obligation. A clause of registration is introduced in deeds importing obliga-tion. The various registers available for this kind of registrator! will be found in Watson, Law Diet., s. v. " Registration."

Land. —Registration in its relation to land is either of title or of assurances. A register of title bears on the face of it the name and description of a plot of land with more or less particularity, the name of the owner, and the charges and easements to which the land is subject. No one can go behind the entry except in case of fraud. A register of assurances or deeds contains only a copy of documents affecting title, or a memorial or other epitome of such documents, without any authentication of the title as such. Thus a register of title would show that A was owner subject to a mortgage to B, and the purchaser would purchase such a title. A register of assurances would show in the same circumstances that a conveyance had been made to A, and that subsequently A had mortgaged to B, but the purchaser would have to make sure for himself that A and B had the right to convey and mortgage. It will be obvious that the object of registration of deeds is quite different from that of registration of title. The former aims at facilitating the search for incumbrances, the latter at abolishing search by making it unnecessary. The requisites of a registry of title are thus stated by Sir H. Maine {Early Law and Custom, 353):—

"The land registries which have the highest commendation from judichil writers are those of certain small Teutonic communities, e.g., the state of Hesse-Darmstadt and the Swiss canton of Zurich. I can here give but a brief descrip-tion of the mechanism. The land of the community is divided into a number of circumscriptions of no great area. For each of these a central office is established, with a staff of functionaries who are to some extent experts, and at each office a register is opened in which separate portions or groups of pages are appropriated to separate masses of land . . . When the register has once been opened, the legal history of every parcel of every area is thenceforward recorded in it, and every transfer or mortgage must be registered in it, under pain of invalidity. Whether a person wishing to sell or mortgage has the right to do so, it is the business of the staff of experts to ascertain. It is absolutely essential to the Bystem that the register should be easily accessible, and the formalities of registration simple and cheap."

It will appear on referring to REAL ESTATE that before the Conquest publicity of transfer was secured by a system of record in the shire-book or church-book. After the Conquest this pub -licity, continued for a time in the Domesday survey, from various causes gradually gave way to that secrecy of transfer which is now one of the peculiar features of English law. Publicity was to a certain extent secured by the court rolls in the case of copyhold lands, by the local statutes mentioned below, and by the Act enforcing the registration of rent charges and annuities charged on land (18 Vict. c. 15). There was a tendency in the same direction in those statutes which made the enrolment of deeds necessary for their validity. Such are the Statute of Enrolments, 27 Henry VIII. c. 16, the Mortmain Act, 9 Geo. II. c. 36, the Fines and Recoveries Act, 3 & 4 Will. IV. e. 74, under which an estate tail may be barred by an enrolled deed, and. Acts affecting Queen Anne's Bounty, ] Geo. I., st. 2, c. 10, and the Charity Commissioners, 18 & 19 Vict, c. 124. No general registry has as yet been established in England, though many attempts have been made in that direction. The question was debated as far back as the Long Parliament. General Ludlow mentions the characteristic incident " that upon the debate of ' registering deeds in each county for want of which, within a certain time fixed after the sale, such sales should be void, and, being so regarded, that lands should not be subject to any incum-brance,' this word incumbrance was so managed that it took up three months' time before it could be ascertained by the com-mittee" (Memoirs, i. 436). In the reign of Charles II. a registry of deeds was established for the Bedford Level by 15 Car. II. c. 17. In the reign of Anne registries of deeds and wills were established for the county of Middlesex (7 Anne c. 20), for the "West Riding of Yorkshire (2 & 3 Anne c. 4), and for the East Riding and Kingston-upon-Hull (6 Anne c. 35). Similar provisions were not applied to the North Riding until 8 Geo. II. c. 6. The Yorkshire Acts were consolidated and amended by the Yorkshire Registries Act, 1884. " Under these Acts, all deeds are to be adjudged fraudulent and void against any subsequent purchaser or mort-gagee for valuable consideration, unless a memorial of such deeds be duly registered before the registering of the memorial of the deed under which such subsequent purchaser or mortgagee shall claim" (Williams, Real Property, pt. i. ch. x.). Priority thus depends upon the date of registration. The Acts do not extend to copyholds, to leaseholds for a term not exceeding twenty-one years, or to chambers in an Inn of Court. The full operation of the Registry Acts has been to a certain extent affected by the doctrines of equity that an equitable mortgage by deposit of deeds is valid without registration, and that notice of a prior unregistered deed is within limits equivalent to registration. " It shall only be in cases where the notice is so clearly proved as to make it fraudu-lent in the purchaser to take and register a conveyance in pre-judice to the known title of another that we will suffer the registered deed to be affected" (Sir William Grant in Wyatt v. Barwell, 19 Vesey's Reports, 438). On this subject the Yorkshire Registries Act, 1884, provides by § 14 that "all priorities given by this Act shall have full effect in all cases except in eases of actual fraud, and all persons claiming thereunder any legal or equitable interests shall be entitled to corresponding priorities, and no such person shall lose any such priority merely in consequence of his having been affected with actual or constructive notice, except in cases of actual fraud." The Act provides for an official search of the same nature as that introduced by the Conveyancing Act, 1882, and for the entry of a caveat against registration by any person interested. Passing to general registration, a general registry of deeds was recommended by the real property commissioners in 1830. The royal commission of 1854 reported in 1857 in favour of general registration of title. In pursuance of this report the Land Registry Act, 1862 ("Lord Westbury's Act"), was passed. It provided for the optional registration of such titles to freeholds and leaseholds in freeholds as a court of equity should hold to be marketable. It was of little importance in practice on account of its making a marketable title (i.e., such a title as the court would compel an unwilling purchaser to accept) and a definition of boundaries necessary, and of its not giving an indefeasible title in effect, though it does so in name, until there had been dealing with the land for valuable consideration subsequent to registration. The Act is still law as to titles registered under it and not re-registered under the Act of 1875. On the same day as the Land Registry Act was passed the Declaration of Title Act, 1862, under which power is given to any person entitled to apply for the registration of an indefeasible title under the Land Registry Act to apply to the Court of Chancery for a declaration of title, and the court, on proof of a marketable title, is to issue a certificate of title under the seal of the court. The Land Registry Act was con-demned by the report of a royal commission in 1870. In 1875 some of the recommendations of the commission were adopted in the Land Transfer Act, 1875 ("Lord Cairns's Act"), the latest general enactment on the subject. The Act of 1875 allows the optional registration of a title less than marketable, and the land certificate delivered to the proprietor is to state whether his title be absolute, qualified, or possessory. Two or more persons may be registered as joint proprietors. No notice of any trust is to appear on the register. To be registered land must be either freehold or leasehold for an unexpired term of at least twenty-one years. Land in Middlesex or Yorkshire registered under the Act ceases to be within the jurisdiction of the local registries. A caution against registration may be lodged by any person interested. The Act established an office of land registry under a registrar appointed by the lord chancellor. There was also a power of creating district registries, if necessary. The Act, like its predecessor, has been very little used. A compulsory system of registration of title in England has been so universally recognized as expedient that its adoption can only be a question of time. The chief difficulties in the way of a reform are the objection of the landowners to pub-licity of transactions in land, the expense, greater than in other countries or in the colonies, arising from the complexity of the English law of real property, and, not least, the conservative instincts of the legal profession. One effect of registration will be to much diminish the importance of the legal doctrines of POSSESSION and LIMITATION (q.v.). "It is a grave question whether the establishment of titles by long possession is consistent with a complete and efficient system of registration. In Scotland, where there is such a system, there is nothing answering to our Statute of Limitations as regards land" (Pollock, Land Laws, 169).

Another effect will be the recurrence to the primitive legal conception of the transfer of land as a matter of public notoriety. In Ireland a registry of assurances was established by 6 Anne c. 2 (Ir.). 28 & 29 Yict. c. 88 constitutes a limited registry of title in the record of title to land which has been the subject of conveyance or declaration by the Landed Estates Court. In Scotland the present system of registration of assurances has existed since the reign of James YI. The Act 1617 c. 16 created a public register for registering within three-score days instruments of sasine as well as reversions and other writs affecting heritable property. The Act established a general register of sasines at Edinburgh and local registers. The latter were abolished by 31 & 32 Yict. e. 64. Modern Acts commencing in 1845 and consolidated in 1868 by 31 & 32 Yict. c. 101 dispense with sasine and the instrument of sasine. The recording of a conveyance with a w7arrant of registration indorsed now constitutes infeftment. Either the whole or part of a deed may be registered. Probative leases of thirty-one or more years may be registered under 20 & 21 Yict. c. 26. As to entails see ENTAIL. Writs affecting land held in burgage before 1874 must be registered in the burgh register of sasines (37 & 38 Yict. c. 94, § 25). The lord clerk register's duties under the Act of 1617 were transferred to the deputy clerk register by 42 & 43 Vict. c. 44 (see Watson, Law Diet., s.vv. '' Deeds," " Registration"). In most of the British colonies land registration of some kind exists. The Indian Registration Act, 1866, steers a middle course between compulsory and optional registration. The registration of some assurances is compulsory, of others optional. In Australia a system of compulsory registration of title was introduced by Sir R. R. Torrens, and, after having been first adopted by the legislature of South Australia in 1858, has been generally applied by the other Australian colonies since that time. Under the South Australian Act a certificate of title is cancelled and regranted on transfer. Instruments are not effectual until registra-tion and indorsement according to statutory forms. Mortgages have priority according to the date of registration, irrespective of notice. The registrar may demand the deposit of a map. In the United States registration of assurances is universal, but registration of title is not so generally adopted. At the date of writing, a bill for the compulsory registration of title is before the New York legislature. For the purpose of dealing with public lands of the United States a register of the land office is appointed in each land district. Returns from each land office are made to the general land office.

Ships.—The registration of ships in the British empire (other than fishing boats, the registration of which is governed by special legislation) now depends upon the Merchant Shipping Acts. The register is open only to British ships, and not more than sixty-four persons can be registered as owners of any ship. One registered owner may, however, represent the beneficial title of any number of persons. No notice of a trust can be entered on the register. Mortgages must be registered in the statutory form in order to be good against registered transferees and mortgagees. The registrar is generally in the United Kingdom the principal officer of customs for any port, abroad such person as may be named by order in council. The Merchant Shipping Act, 1854, established a " general register and record of seamen " under a registrar-general of seamen. The Merchant Shipping Act, 1872, extended both the name and authority of this officer. Since that Act he has been called the registrar-general of shipping and seamen. Returns of shipping and seamen are transmitted to him by the local registrars. In the United States the registration of ships depends upon a series of Acts of Congress beginning in 1792. See Revised Statutes, §4131. A register of seamen is kept by the shipping commissioner (Act of 7th June 1872, c. 322).

Bills of Sale.—By the Bills of Sale Acts, 1878 and 1882, every bill of sale is to be registered within seven clear days after the execution thereof, or, if it is executed in any place out of England, then within seven clear days after the time at which it would in the ordinary course of post arrive in England if posted immediately after execution. A bill must be re-registered every five years, if still existing. An affidavit of the time of its execution, of its due execution and attestation, and containing a description of the residence and occupation of the person making the bill and of every attesting witness, must be filed with the registrar within seven days. A transfer or assignment of a registered bill of sale need not be registered. The duties of registrar are performed by a master of the Supreme Court attached to the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice. Provision is made for the transmis-sion of bills of sale made by persons or affecting goods outside the London bankruptcy district to the registrars of the proper county courts. The register may be searched by any person on payment of a fee of one shilling. Similar provisions are contained in the Irish Acts of 1879 and 1883. Bills of sale are unknown in Scotland.

Births, Baptisms, Marriages, Deaths, Burials.—The registration of baptisms, marriages, and burials is said to have been first intro-duced by Thomas Cromwell when vicar-general in 1522, but it is only in comparatively modern times that the registration has been fully carried out. The registration of births, &c, in the United Kingdom depends upon a large body of statutory law. Baptisms, marriages, and burials are usually registered at the time of their occurrence, births and deaths within a certain time afterwards. The English Act 35 & 36 Vict. c. 36 forbids the charging of any fee for registration of baptism. The law of registration of births and deaths is consolidated for England by 37 & 38 Vict. c. 88, for Ireland by 43 & 44 Vict. e. 13. In Scotland it depends upon 17 & 18 Viet. c. 80, as amended by later Acts. The registration of marriages in England depends chiefly upon 4 Geo. IV. c. 76, and 6 & 7 Will. IV. c. 85 ; in Ireland upon 7 & 8 Vict. c. 81 (as to Protestants), 26 & 27 Vict. c. 90 (as to Roman Catholics); in Scotland upon 17 & 18 Vict. c. 80. The chief official charged with the administration of the Acts is the registrar-general of births, deaths, and marriages ; in Scotland the office is held by the deputy clerk-register. In the United States the registration of births, marriages, and deaths is, with a few exceptions such as births and deaths at sea and marriages abroad, the subject of State and not United States legislation. Burials are regulated in England by the Burial Acts, especially the Registration of Burials Act, 1864, in Scotland by 18 & 19 Vict. c. 68. Chapels belonging to nonconformist bodies may be certified to the registrar-general (see NONCONFORMITY). There are few enactments dealing with the subject of this paragraph which extend to the United Kingdom. Those which do so are of a special nature, such as Acts affecting friendly societies and officers and soldiers abroad. A Registration Act embracing the United Kingdom is much needed.

Companies.—Under the Companies Act, 1862, and subsequent Companies Acts (most of which apply to the United Kingdom), commercial companies as distinguished from associations of other kinds must be registered. Any company requiring to be registered and not registered is an illegal association, and its members cannot take advantage of the limitation of liability and other benefits conferred by the Acts. The register is under the charge of the registrar-general of joint stock companies or such other registrar as the Board of Trade may appoint. The register must contain (1) the memorandum of association, including the name and objects of the proposed company and the place where its registered office is situate ; (2) the articles of association ; (3) a list of members and shareholders (or directors where there are no shareholders), and a statement of the amount held by each shareholder, and other particulars ; (4) any order of court confirming the reduction of the capital of a company ; (5) any contract duly made in writing by which a share is issued otherwise than for cash ; (6) proceedings in winding up. No trust is to appear on the register in the case of companies registered in England or Ireland. Every company must keep at its registered office a register of its members, and, if a company not divided into shares, a register of its directors or managers, and, in addition, if a limited company, a register of mortgages and charges affecting the property of the company.
Friendly Societies. —A friendly society consisting of seven members at least may be registered under the Friendly Societies Act, 1875. The name of the society and of its secretary, and of every trustee or other officer authorized to sue or to be sued in the name of the society, and also a copy of its rules, are entered on the register. There is a chief registrar of friendly societies with assist-ant registrars for Scotland and Ireland. Every registered society is to have a registered office. In the same registry are now registered building societies, industrial and provident societies, and trade unions.

Newspapers.—By the Newspapers Libel and Registration Act, 1881, the registrar of joint stock companies is to keep a register of the titles of newspapers and the names of their proprietors (see NEWSPAPERS, PRESS LAWS).

Copyrights, Patents, Designs, Trade Marks.—See COPYRIGHT, PATENTS, TRADE MARK.

Professions and Occupations. —The effect of recent legislation has been that solicitors, medical men, dentists, veterinary surgeons, chemists and druggists, seamen, lodging-house keepers, cow keepers, milk retailers, and others must be registered in accordance with various statutory provisions. Unless duly registered they cannot as a rule recover for their services. In certain other cases registra-tion is not in name necessary, but it is practically enforced by the law regarding the entry in certain official books and documents as prima facie evidence of qualification. Thus the roll of the House of Lords is evidence that a person appearing upon it is a peer, the army list that a name contained in it is that of an officer.

Among other matters of less importance which are registered are crown debts, acknowledgments by married women, colonial stock under 40 & 41 Vict. c. 59, schemes under the Regulation of Railways Act, 1867, hospitals where lunatics are received, and (in Scotland) lunatics confined in asylums. In this place may be mentioned the peculiar privilege enjoyed by the Channel Islands : orders in council or Acts of Parliament in which they are not named do not become law in those islands until after registration in the royal courts. (J. W†.)


England.—Prior to 1832 the right of parliamentary electors was determined at the moment of the tender of the vote at the election, or, in the event of a petition against the return, by a scrutiny, a committee of the House of Commons striking off those whose qualification was held to be insufficient, and, on the other hand, adding those who, having tendered their votes at the poll, with a good title to do so, were rejected at the time. A conspicuous feature of the Reform Act of that year was the introduction of a new mode of ascertaining the rights of electors by means of an entirely new system of published lists, subject to claims and objections, and after due inquiry and revision forming a register of voters. In forming a register the services of overseers, already existing in every parish, were called into requisition. As regards electors in counties, principally freeholders and long-lease-holders and £50 tenant farmers, under the Chandos clause, overseers have no official knowledge of the persons qualified to vote. Their duty towards providing a register of county electors consisted in giving public notice, receiving claims and objections, and making out lists of them and forwarding them to the clerk of the peace. In boroughs their primary duty was to make out lists, their rate books as overseers giving them the knowledge of persons entitled under the Reform Act to vote as £10 rated occupiers, to which subsequent claims were added or objections made. In old boroughs where freemen were entitled, independently of the then new occupation franchise, the town clerk prepared the lists. Barristers were appointed to revise the lists, which eventually formed the register of voters for the ensuing year for counties and boroughs.

This procedure still forms the basis of registration, but subject to important alterations since made. Although the Act of 1832 was most carefully drawn, its provisions minutely indicating every step to be taken for the formation of a register, accompanied by precise forms, it was found insufficient in practice ; and accord-ingly a Registration Act was passed in 1843 (6 & 7 Vict. c. 15), by which forms of precept were issued by clerks of the peace and town clerks to overseers, telling them in a compendious form what they were to do, and providing them with the necessary forms for all cases. The Representation of the People Act in 1867 introduced very important changes in the franchise,—in counties by introduc-ing an occupation qualification distinct from any previous descrip-tion of franchise either in county or borough, but having somewhat closer affinity to the £10 occupation in boroughs under the Reform Act of 1832 than to the £50 tenant occupation in counties under that Act. This county franchise was an occupation as owner or tenant of lands or tenements of the rateable value of £12, with the concomitants of rating to the poor rates and payment of rates; but the £12 occupation practically merged within it a large proportion of £50 tenant occupiers. The alterations effected by the Act of 1867 in the borough franchise were much more extensive. In the first place, the franchise was given to every inhabitant occupier as owner or tenant of any dwelling house within the borough ; but rating and payment of poor rates were made essential conditions of this franchise : part of a house occupied as a separate dwelling, if separately rated, was a sufficient dwelling house to confer the franchise. Notwithstanding the apparent effect of the general enfranchisement of inhabitant occupiers, a very considerable body still depended on the former £10 franchise in consequence of the distinction between residence and inhabitancy. Secondly, the Act gave the franchise to occupiers of lodgings of a yearly value (irre-spective of furniture) of £10. A Registration Act of the following year was in several important respects defective. With respect to two of the three new classes enfranchised in 1867 many doubts were indeed removed by it. The overseers were required to make out a list of £12 occupiers in counties ; on the other hand lodgers in boroughs were required under the Act of 1867 to claim to be registered. But with respect to the third class, the most numerous of all—the inhabitant occupiers in boroughs—the Act contained no direction. Notwithstanding attempts to meet these and various other defects, several years elapsed without any alteration being effected. In the meantime important electoral changes occurred. The alterations effected by the Act of 1867, besides those of qualifi-cation, the redistribution of seats, and the representation of mino-rities, followed by the Ballot Act of 1872, were succeeded by the innovation of mixing up regulations for the exercise of parlia-mentary with the municipal franchise, and led up to the fusion of the registration of the two franchises and the Parliamentary and Municipal Registration Act of 1878, introducing important changes both as regards the definition of the franchise in boroughs and the procedure in relation to registration. As regards the latter the changes recognized the combination of borough registration for the double purpose of parliamentary and municipal registration, and also the more ready preparation of accurate registers irrespective of the combination.

The legislation of 1884 and 1885 in relation to registration next requires notice. The Representation of the People Act, 1884, enacted that a uniform household franchise and a uniform lodger franchise at elections shall be established in all counties and boroughs throughout the United Kingdom, and every man pos-sessed of a household qualification or a lodger qualification shall, if the qualifying premises be situated in a county in England or Scot-land, be entitled to be registered as a voter, and, when registered, to vote at an election for such county, and, if the qualifying pre-mises be situated in a county or borough in Ireland, be entitled to be registered as a voter and, when registered, to vote at an election for such county or borough.

A main practical effect of the Act of 1884 was to extend to counties the franchise previously confined to boroughs in respect of inhabitant occupiers of dwelling houses, and in respect of the occupation of lodgings. At the same time the franchise in respect of occupation of lands and tenements (other than a household franchise) was assimilated in boroughs and counties and fixed at ¿610 a year. Independently of this extension to counties and assimilation of the household and lodger franchise, provision was made for extending the franchise to many cases of the inhabitancy of houses by persons who, in consequence of filling offices or serving others or of the tenure of the house, were deprived of the franchise, not being in law occupiers. This is commonly spoken of as the service franchise. On the other hand restrictions were placed on faggot votes in respect of rent charges. Moreover, a man is not entitled by virtue of the Act to be registered as a county voter in respect of the occupation of any dwelling house, land, or tenement situate in a borough. This Act was shortly followed by the Registration Act, 1885, assimilating the registration law applicable to the borough and county occupation franchises.

The procedure for the formation of the register, as well in counties as in boroughs, is still very complicated. In counties there are two classes of persons entitled to be registered—the one ownership voters, the other occupation voters. General but detailed instructions are sent by the clerk of the peace to overseers, accompanied by forms and copies of the existing register. On or before the 20th June the overseers publish the ownership portion of the then existing register for the parish, at the same time giving notice in a prescribed form that all persons entitled to be registered in counties in respect of the ownership of property within the parish and not upon the register, or wdiose qualification or address has changed, who are desirous of having their names inserted in the register, must give notice to the overseers in a prescribed published form by the 20th July. A list of such ownership claimants is pub-lished by the end of July. The occupation voters now entitled in counties to be on the register comprise a £10 occupation qualifica-tion and principally a household qualification, and also a lodger qualification. The occupation list other than that of lodgers is made out and published by the overseers. They are required to get the information, and as this information cannot be gathered in many cases from the rate books, they may require rated persons to supply them with the names of all inhabitant occupiers of their dwelling houses so that such persons (including chiefly the service franchise already mentioned) may be entered in a separate column of the rate book. The lodger list is made out by the overseers from an existing list, if there be one (for in counties there can be no existing list before 1886), and by claims. In cities and boroughs the franchises (where there are no freemen) are chiefly occupation franchises, and the same general system of registration prevails as in counties in relation to the registration or occupation franchises.

With the exception of the provisions relating to the so-called service franchise already noticed, registration procedure has not been much changed by the legislation of 1884 and 1885, and in counties as well as in boroughs it mainly rests still on the Regis-tration Act of 1843. Overseers receive their precepts in boroughs from the town clerk, as they do in counties from the clerks of the peace, and the town clerk deals with the lists of freemen where that description of franchise exists. As the household occupation and lodger franchises were introduced into boroughs in 1867, the pre-paration and publication of lists as to occupation franchises rests principally on the same procedure in counties and boroughs.

Ample facilities are given for fresh and amended claims and for objections made (by any one on the register) to the overseers by the 20th August and published by them in lists; and, where payment of poor rates is essential, not necessarily by the voter, but by some one (as in some occupation franchises it is), a list of persons dis-qualified is made out and open to inspection. While the actual exercise of the franchise is governed by the duration of the register (which in the absence of special legislation, as adopted for 1868 and for 1885, is in force for the ordinary year, viz., from 1st January), every period of qualification is computed by reference to the 15th July ; the qualification must be complete on that day, whether or not it comprises a possession or occupation for a previous definite fixed period. When payment of poor rates is part of a qualification, payment before the 15th July of rates payable to the 15th January is sufficient. Disqualifications generally refer to their existence at the same date. As regards parochial relief, any relief within twelve months of the 15th July disqualifies. Even with regard to disqualification by office, which may be transitory and disconnected with the qualifying franchise, the existence of the disqualification on the 15th July is a bar to registration. Where a man is registered 1 y virtue of one qualification he cannot be also registered to vote by reason of another in respect of the same property, and a qualification franchise under the Representation of the People Act, 1884, generally overrides another description of qualification ; but fine distinctions sometimes exist between inhabitancy and residence in relation to different qualifications affecting the right to be on the register in respect of one description of occupation franchise rather than another. In a borough dividpd under the Redistribution of Seats Act, 1885, a person cannot be registered in more than one division. The duties of overseers in reference to registration extend from spring to autumn. By the 25th of August the lists are delivered by them to the clerk of the peace in counties, and in boroughs to the town clerk. Barristers are appointed to revise the lists and hold courts for that purpose (and also for revising the municipal franchise) between the 15th September and 31st October, giving notice to the clerks of the peace in counties and town clerks of boroughs, who publish notice of the sittings appointed and attend and deliver the lists, the overseers also attending. They hold open courts (the localities including all polling places in counties) on appointed days, with evening sittings in populous places, with general powers of adjournment. A right of appeal exists from a revising barrister's decision on the points of law, by a claimant or objector, to judges of the High Court of Justice. Whether the right of appeal is exercised or not, the lists, as settled and signed by the barrister, are transmitted by him to the clerk of the peace or town clerk as the case may be. The lists are copied and printed in such manner and form that the list of voters for every parish appears separately and with reference to polling places. By the end of December the printed lists signed by the clerk of the peace are delivered to the sheriff of the county, and signed borough lists are delivered by the town clerk to the returning officer. The register is thus completed, and the book constitutes the register of persons entitled to vote for the county or borough to which it relates at any election which takes place during the year commenc-ing on the 1st January next after such register is made.

For some years after the passing of the Reform Act, 1832, an elector was allowed, previous to voting, to be interrogated as to the possession of the qualification for which his name was inserted on the register; but since 1843 no inquiry is permitted at the time of polling as to the right of any person to vote, except as to his identity with the name appearing on the register and as to his having already voted ; he may be required to give his answers on oath, but without an oath a false answer wilfully made is an indictable misdemeanour. With this exception it is unlawful to require any voter to take an oath in proof of his qualification or right to vote, or to reject any vote tendered by any person whose name is upon the register ; and no scrutiny is allowed by or before any returning officer with regard to any vote given or tendered at an election. A great effort, partially successful, was made in 1885 to transfer the cost of forming the register from local to imperial funds. A part of the cost is now borne by the state. The remuneration of revising barristers is paid by the treasury.

Scotland.—In Scotland as in England a system of registration was established in 1832 (2 & 3 Will. IV. c. 65), and, passing over amendments on the extension and assimilation of county and burgh franchises by the Representation of the People Act, 1884, establishing a general household qualification in the United Kingdom, the principles of registration adopted in England by the Registration Act, 1885, were applied with some modifications to Scotland by the Registration Amendment (Scotland) Act, 1885. An annual revision of the register (founded on the valuation roll) is made by appointed officers, with the publication of lists and of names of parties interested making claims and objections. Instead, however, of the duties of publication and primary correction being in the hands of the parish officers, as in England, those duties devolve as before on assessors (aided in burghs by the town clerks), who make up the register. The duties of final revision- devolve on the sheriff, wdio authenticates the register, and it is delivered to the sheriff clerk with the names duly arranged. The principal expenses of registration are provided from local or county sources, with a contribution from imperial funds.

Ireland.—In Ireland also the registration of voters was a feature of the reform in parliament effected in 1832, and the same general features as to the formation and amendment of the register prevail as in England. The extension and assimilation of the franchise by the Representation of the People Act, 1884, is carried out by the Parliamentary Registration (Ireland) Act, 1885, on the same lines as before, only adapted to peculiar exigencies. Clerks of poor-law unions have still many of the duties of parochial officers in England. Prominent among recent divergencies is the proviso that temporary eviction for non-payment of rent followed by reinstalment does not disqualify a claim to occupation franchise.

Revision is made at special sessions before assistant barristers, or, in counties, before the chairman. The register, when com-pleted, is placed in the hands of the sheriff in counties and of the returning officer in boroughs. The expenses of registration are defrayed from local sources, with a contribution from imperial funds.

Universities.—The Reform Act of 1832 made no change in the university representation. Special provisions affect the electoral roll of universities returning members of parliament.
London Freemen.—There are also special provisions as to the
registration of freemen in the City of London. (J. E. D.)

The above article was written by two authors:

(a) Registration - All Aspects except Parliamentiary Registration
James Williams, B.C.L.

(b) Parliamentiary Registration
J. E. Davis

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