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Can a Parish Council vice chairman chair meetings before a new chairman is elected?

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At a recent Parish Council meeting, the chairman arrived late, refused to chair the meeting when asked to do so and walked out of the meeting hall leaving the vice chairman to continue to chair the meeting.  3 other councillors followed the chairman out of the hall.  

11 out of the 15 councillors remained present but the vice chairman announced that he was going to abandon the meeting. Despite a number of councillors protesting  that the council was still more than quorate and that the meeting should continue, the vice chairman walked out of the meeting hall with all the relevent paperwork, therby effectively abandoning the meeting which then broke up.  

Was the vice chairman able to abandon the meeting as he did with 11 councillors still seated  around the meeting table and and some of them asking to continue?  

Was the vice chairman's actions unlawful?
by (380 points)

1 Answer

0 votes
You sound to be having a bit of fun there!. I do not think that the Vice Chairman necessarily acted unlawful. He was in the Chair and if he believed it to be in the best interests of the public to adjourn the meeting to a future time, perhaps to allow tempers to cool, for example, then he had the right to do it. It is the Chair's job to manage the meeting. In such circumstances it might have been prudent to propose adjournment to the remaining councillors and ultimately, I suppose, put it to the vote.

Regarding the Chairman, he must take the chair if present unless he arrived ten or more minutes after the appointed start time for the meeting, in which case the vice-chairman must take the chair. Thereafter, unless your standing orders provide otherwise, the chair for the meeting can only be changed on a resolution of the council (or the occupant of the chair walking out!). In the absence of Chairman and Vice, the meeting must vote another member to the chair.
by (3.9k points)

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