Parish meeting

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A parish meeting, in England, is a meeting to which all the electors in a civil parish are entitled to attend.[1] In some cases, where a parish or group of parishes has fewer than 200 electors, the parish meeting can take on the role of the parish council itself, with statutory powers, and electing a chairman and clerk to act on the meeting's behalf.

In England, the annual parish meeting of a parish with a parish council must take place between 1 March and 1 June, both dates inclusive, and must take place no earlier than 6pm.[1]

Parish meetings are a form of direct democracy, which is uncommon in the United Kingdom, which primarily uses representative democracy.

Section 39(2) of the Local Government Finance Act 1972 provides that a parish meeting is a precepting authority. This means that where there is no parish council the parish meeting must meet its own expenses, usually by precepting on the district council.

A parish meeting may only precept for expenditure relating to specific functions, powers and rights which have been conferred on it by legislation.

Parish meetings do not have the power to appoint staff.

Contribution towards maintenance of cemetery[edit]

A parish meeting is defined as a burial authority by virtue of section 214(1) of the Local Government Act 1972, and by virtue of section 214(6) of the 1972 Act it has the power to make contributions towards the expenses incurred by any other person in providing or maintaining a cemetery in which the inhabitants of the authority’s area may be buried.

Ownership of land[edit]

Section 13(3) of the 1972 Act provides that the parish trustees shall be the chairman of the parish meeting and the proper officer of the district council. The parish trustees may hold on behalf of the parish meeting the following categories of land:

  • Common land
  • Allotments
  • Cemeteries
  • Open space

Other expenditure - S137 powers[edit]

A parish meeting may request that the district council confers the powers of a parish council on a parish meeting under S137 of the LGA 1972. This might allow the parish meeting to do any of those things that a parish council can do as specified in the Order - such as buy grit bins or provide a street light etc. The power is limited to £6.15 for 2010/11. This is index-linked to the Retail Price Index, but was same as the previous year due to negative RPI.


  1. ^ a b Clayden, Paul (January 2007). The Parish Councillor's Guide 19th edition. Shaw & Sons. p. 156 et seq. ISBN 978-0-7219-0517-4. 

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