Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Bye-laws, the regulations of a Corporation, agreed to by a majority of its members for the purpose of more conveniently carrying into effect the object of the institution. It is not every voluntary association which by the law of England has power to bind its members by rules acquiesced in by the majority. Immemorial custom, or prescription, or legal incorporation by the sovereign, or some act of Parliament, is necessary to confer the power of making bye-laws; and even in these cases the superior courts of law can take cognisance of the bye-law and establish its legality or declare it to be void. In order to stand this test, a bye-law must be reasonable and consistent with the law of England. The power of making bye-laws is often vested in a particular class of persons having no strictly corporate character, as the tenants of a manor, the jury of a court leet, the inhabitants of a town, village, or other district; but with corporations the power to do so is inherent without any specific mention of it in the charter of incorporation. The Municipal Corporations Act 5 & 6 Wm. IV., c. 76, gives to the town councils a power of making bye-laws for the good rule and government of the boroughs, and for the suppression of various nuisances, and of enforcing the observance of them by a fine to the extent of £5. No bye-laws so framed have binding power till submitted to, and approved by the Privy Council. In Scotland there is but little common law about bye-laws, every corporation or other community making its own bye-laws, provided they do not infringe the law of the land.