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Ward in United Kingdom

Meaning of Ward

The following is an old definition of Ward [1]: Care, charge; protectiop, defense. 1. One of the principal duties of constables is to keep ” watch and ward.” “Ward” or guard was chiefly applied to the day time, for apprehending rioters, and robbers on the highways. “Watch” properly referred to the night only. In walled towns the gates were closed from sumise to sunset, and watch was to be kept in every borough and town to apprehend rogues, vagabonds, and night- walkers, and make them give an account of them- selves. 2. A territorial division of a city. ” A division in the city of London committed to the special ward, that is, guardianship, of an alderman.” Also, a prison, or a division thereof. Warden. A keeper or guardian: as, the warden of a prison or penitentiary; a fish- warden; a port-warden. 3. One who is guarded. Ward of chancery or of court. A minor or lunatic under the protection of a, court of equity. More particularly, a minor under the personal care of a guardian. ” While the infant is in ward.” A person under the age of twenty-one years, and subject to the guardianship of another. An inseparable incident to tenure in chivalry was “wardship.” When a tenant died seized of a knight’s fee, leaving an heir of full age, the king received of the heir a year’s profits of the land, if in immediate possession, and, if in reversion expectant on a life estate, a half year’s profits. This right was called “primer seisin.” If the heir was a male under twenty-one, or a female under fourteen, the lord was entitled to the wardship of the heir, as ” guardian in chivalry ” – with custody of body and lands, without accounting, till the male was twenty-one and the female sixteen. “Wardship of the land,” or custody of the feud, was retained by the lord that he might, out of the profits, provide a person to supply the infant’s services. A consequence was, ” wardship of the body: ” the lord was the most proper person to educate and maintain the infant, and qualify him for the services he was to render in maturity. At maturity he could sue delivery of the lands out of the guardian’s hands; the action being called ouster le main. Before maturity the guardian had power to dispose of hisward in matrimony – to tender a suitable match; because of the ward’s tender years, and the danger of a female inter-marring with the lord’s enemy. Magna Charta provided that notice of the proposed contract should be giVen to the next of kin. “Wardship in socage ” differed from wardship in chivalry. The inheritance, descending to an infant under fourteen, did not belong to the lord of the fee, because no personal services were required, and no part of the profits of the land were spent in procuring a substitute. The ward’s nearest relation had cus- tody of his land and body. At fourteen, the heir could oust the guardian, require him to account for the profits, and choose another guardian. But as heirs so young made improvident choices, 12 Car. 11 (1651), c. 24, enacted that the father might by will appoint a guardian to serve till the ward attained twenty-one. The father failing in that, the court of chancery would name such guardian. That statute is the original of similar legislation in this country. See further Guardian;. Necessaries, 1. Wards of admiralty. Seamen are some times so called, from the fact that, by reason of their improvidence and their inability to make or enforce advantageous contracts, the courts extend them more consideration than is accorded to persons generally who are employed in serving others. Courts of admiralty watch with scrupulous jealousy every deviation in shipping articles from the principles of the maritime law as to seamen’s wages, as injurious to the rights of seamen, and as founded in an unconscionable inequality of benefits. Seamen as a class are rash, thoughtless, and improvident. They are generally necessitous, ignorant of the nature and extent of their rights and privileges, and incapable of appreciating their value. Their credulity is easily excited, and their confidence readily surprised. Hence it is that bargains between them and ship-owners, the latter persons of intelligence and shrewdness, are open to scrutiny; for they involve great inequality of knowledge, of forecast, of power, and of condition. On this account courts, of admiralty are accustomed to consider seamen as peculiarly entitled to their protection; by a somewhat bold figure they are said to be “favorites” with such courts. Those courts, acting upon the enlarged and liberal jurisprudence of courts of equity, may hold void any stipulation in the shipping articles which derogates from the privileges of seamen, as founded upon imposition, unless the nature of the clause was fully and fairly explained, and an additional compensation is allowed, adequate to any new risk or restriction imposed upon the seamen.

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Notes and References

  1. Concept of Ward 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 Ward

Traditional meaning of ward [1] in scots law: Guard; the service of guarding a castle; wardship; an infant in guardianship. Ward-holding: the Scotch term for military service. Ward-mote: a court in each ward in London. Ward-wit: immunity from service of ward.

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Notes and References

  1. Based on A concise law dictionary of words, phrases and maxims, “Ward”, 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 Ward.

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Glanville L. Williams, 'Ward' (lawi.org.uk 2020) <https://lawi.org.uk/ward/> accesed 2021 June 22

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Schema Summary

  • Article Name: Ward
  • Author: Glanville L. Williams
  • Description: Meaning of Ward The following is an old definition of Ward [1]: Care, charge; protectiop, defense. 1. One of the principal [...]

This entry was last updated: July 9, 2020

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