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Membership of the Court

Updated: Jul 3, 2022

How Court members are nominated and selected and what is expected of them

Members of the Courts enjoying the traditional Ale Tasting and Bread Weighing ceremony
Members of the Courts upholding our traditions

The Members of the Courts Leet and Baron, headed by the Portreeve and Bailiff and supported by the Steward and other officers have an important role in upholding the traditions of the town and supporting local causes, charities and community organisations with their events and fund-raising. So this guides the selection of members - it is expected that they are people who are active in supporting their community.

Nominating Members

Nominees should be residents within the Borough of Ashburton

Existing members of the juries propose new nominees in writing to their foreman before the 1st of October each year. Nominations must include details of residence and property owned or leased in addition to the reasons for making the nomination and the name of the seconder. Nominees should be residents within the Borough of Ashburton and must have been so for at least three years before election though rare exceptions have been made where there is a strong justification.

Reviewing Nominations

The Foremen pass all names submitted to the Portreeve. The Portreeve and Lord of the Borough will jointly arrange for a Sub-Committee to meet in the Town Hall on the first or second Thursday in October to consider the nominations. The Sub-Committee consists of an equal number of Jury Members and Town Councillors (normally 6-a-side - hence the meeting is called the "Six-a-side Meeting") and usually includes the Portreeve, Bailiff, the Foreman or Deputy and an elected member from each Jury.

The meeting will consider:

  • The combined total membership of the Juries, which should not exceed 80

  • The balance of members between the Leet and Baron Juries.

  • The service to the community already given by each nominee.

It will make its recommendations for consideration by the appropriate Jury at the October Meeting, held on the Third Thursday in October.

Approving the Nominations

Nominees are then elected at the Joint Jury Meeting in October with a vote by secret ballot being taken for each nominee. Voting is restricted to members of the jury for which the nomination has been made. Approval for membership will require a majority in favour.

What is Expected of Members

Members are expected to be active in the community and support the Portreeve and Bailiff on public occasions.

The Courts have an important and visible role in supporting the people and organisations in the Borough of Ashburton - so their members are expected to be active in the community. Members must also remain residents of the Borough of Ashburton.

In addition members shall fulfil the following conditions:

  • To answer the Summons to Annual Court by their attendance.

  • To ensure that if prevented from taking the oath at the Annual Court they do so on Portreeve's Sunday after Morning Service, or by arrangement with the Steward as soon as possible thereafter.

  • To support the Portreeve and Bailiff on public occasions unless otherwise prevented.

  • To sign the register prepared by their Jury Foreman or Deputy Foreman as evidence of attendance at all meetings and other occasions notified officially. If unable to attend to write and apologise to their Jury Foreman giving the reason for absence.

  • To pay their subscription to the Portreeve's Fund on the date due or as soon as possible thereafter.

  • To bring to the notice of their Foreman any changes in their circumstances which might require them to transfer to the other Jury.

  • To resign from the Juries should they no longer qualify or wish to remain as members.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get nominated?

If you are not already active in the community, volunteer to help one or more of the many community organisations in Ashburton, come along to fund-raising events, support those that need it. Get in touch (see the contact page), we can help you to get involved.

What are the Leet & Baron Juries?

The Leet Jury consists of property owners and the Baron Jury are tenants or business people renting premises in the town.

How do I find out about events to support?

The calendar page on this site lists all Courts events and events for other organisations attended by the Portreeve.

How much does it cost to be a member?

The current cost of membership is £12 per person per year.

How is money raised used?

The membership fees pay costs incurred by the Courts and an allowance (£640 pa) to cover costs incurred by the Portreeve in carrying out their duties. Money raised by donations at events go to the relevant cause or the Portreeve's fund in support of any chosen causes or charities.



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