1732: 5 George 2 c.18: Qualification of Justices of the Peace

1732: 5 George 2 c.18: An act for the further qualification of justices of the peace.

[Amended by 18 Geo. 2. C.20.]

WHEREAS the constituting persons of mean estates to be justices of the peace may be highly prejudicial to the publick welfare, be it therefore enacted by the King’s most excellent majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal and commons, in this present parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same,

[No persons to be justices who have no 100l. a year clear of incumbrances.]

That from and after the twenty fifth day of March one thousand seven hundred and thirty three no person shall be capable of being a justice of the peace, =or to act as a justice of the peace for any county within that part of Great Britain called England, or the principality of Wales, who shall not have an estate of freehold or copyhold to and for his own use and benefit, in possession, for life, or for some greater estate, either in law or equity, or an estate for years, determinable upon one or more life or lives, or for a certain term originally created for one and twenty years, or more, in lands, tenements or hereditaments lying in that part of Great Britain, called England, or principality of Wales, of the clear yearly value of one hundred pounds, over and above what will satisfy and discharge all incumbrances that may affect the same.

[Attornies, solicitors and proctors incapacitated.]

II. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no attorney, solicitor or proctor in any court whatsoever shall, from and after the said twenty fifth day of March one thousand seven hundred and thirty three, be capable to continue or be a justice of the peace within any county for that part of Great Britain called England, or the principality of Wales, during such time as he shall continue in the business and practice of an attorney, solicitor or proctor.

[Persons acting as justices not so qualified, forfeit 100l.]

III. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any person, who shall not be qualified according to the directions of this act, shall after the said twenty fifth day of March one thousand seven hundred and thirty three accept or take upon himself the office of a justice of the peace, or shall do any act as such, the person so offending shall for every such offence forfeit and pay the sum of one hundred pounds; one moiety whereof shall be to the King’s majesty, his heirs and successors, and the other moiety to such person or persons as will sue for the same by action of debt, bill, plaint or information in any of his Majesty’s courts of record at Westminster, in which no essoign, protection, wager of law or more than one imparlance shall be allowed.

[Not to extend to cities which are counties, or other places having justices by charter,]

IV. Provided always, That this act, or any thing herein contained, shall not extend or be construed to extend to any city or town, being a county of itself, or to any other city, town, cinque port or liberty having justices of the peace within their respective limits and precincts by charter, commission or otherwise; but that in every such city, town, liberty and place such persons may be capable to be justices of the peace, and in such manner only as they might have been, if this act had never been made; any thing herein before contained to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.

[nor to the eldest sons of peers, or of knights of shires, 9 Ann. c. 5.]

V. Provided always, That nothing in this act contained shall extend to incapacitate any peer or lord of parliament, or the eldest son or heir apparent of any peer or lord of parliament, or of any person qualified to serve as knight of a Shire by an act, intituled, An act to secure the freedom of parliaments by the further qualifying members to sit in the house of commons, to be a justice of the peace for any county, or to act as such; any thing herein contained to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.

[nor to the board of green cloth, or principal officers of the navy,]

VI. Provided also, That nothing in this act contained shall extend or be construed to extend to incapacitate or exclude the officers of the board of green cloth from being justices of the peace within the verge of his Majesty’s palaces, or to incapacitate or exclude the commissioners and principal officers of the navy, or the two under secretaries in each of the offices of principal secretary of state, from being justices of the peace in and for such maritime counties and places where they usually have been justices of the peace; any thing herein contained to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.

[nor to heads of colleges in either university. 7 Geo. 2. c.10. s.3.]

VII. Provided always, That this act, nor any thing herein contained, shall extend or be construed to extend to any of the heads of colleges or halls in either of the two universities of Oxford and Cambridge, but that they may be made justices of the peace of and in the several counties of Oxford, Berks and Cambridge, and the cities and towns within the same, and execute the office thereof as fully and freely in all respects, as heretofore they have lawfully used to execute the same, as if this had never been made; any thing herein before contained to the contrary notwithstanding,

Source: Pickering, Statutes at Large, volume 16.