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Alderman in United Kingdom

Definition of Alderman

In accordance with the work A Dictionary of Law, this is a description of Alderman :

A senior member of a local authority, elected by its directly elected members. Active aldermanic rank now exists only in the *City of London, having been phased out elsewhere by the Local Government Act 1972. County, district, and London borough councils can, however, appoint past members to honorary rank in recognition of eminent service. The term was originally synonymous with ‘elder’ and is of Anglo-Saxon derivatio

Meaning of Alderman

The following is an old definition of Alderman [1]: Originally, a senior: a superior in wisdom or authority. A word of frequent occurrence among the Anglosaxons. All princes and rulers of provinces, all earls and barons, were aldermen in a general sense: but the word applied more particularly to certain chief officers. In modern times, an officer in municipal corporations who is a kind of “assessor” to the chief magistrate. In England he sat with the bishop at the trial of causes, applying the common, while the latter expounded the ecclesiastical, law. Aldermen also sat as justices of assize, and exercised such powers of government as were conferred by the charters of their cities or towns, in that character taking cognizance of both civil and criminal matters. The term has designated an offlcer having judicial as well as civil power, in England from a period beyond the Conquest. In American cities “the aldermen” are a legislative body with limited judicial power, as, in matters of internal police; in some cities they hold separate courts and exercise magisterial authority. In some cities their sole functions are those of a magistrate of a court not of record and of limited statutory jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters: corresponding, in these respects, to justices of the peace in boroughs and townships. See Council; Justice; Magistrate.


Notes and References

  1. Concept of Alderman provided by the Anderson Dictionary of Law (1889) (Dictionary of Law consisting of Judicial Definitions and Explanations of Words, Phrases and Maxims and an Exposition of the Principles of Law: Comprising a Dictionary and Compendium of American and English Jurisprudence; William C. Anderson; T. H. Flood and Company, Law Publishers, Chicago, United States)

Concept of Alderman

Traditional meaning of alderman [1] in the English common law history: In English law an associate to the chief civil magistrate of a corporate town or city. In Pennsylvania they still have judicial powers somewhat similar to those of a justice of the peace at common law.


Notes and References

  1. Based on A concise law dictionary of words, phrases and maxims, “Alderman”, Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1911, United States. This term and/or definition may be absolete. It is also called the Stimson’s Law dictionary, based on a glossary of terms, included Alderman.

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Schema Summary

  • Article Name: Alderman
  • Author: Agostino Von Hassell
  • Description: Definition of Alderman In accordance with the work A Dictionary of Law, this is a description of Alderman : A senior member [...]

This entry was last updated: June 29, 2020


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