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BRIDGEND LOCAL BOARD. A STORMY MEETING. At the ordinary meeting of the Bridgend Local Board held at the Town-hall on Tuesday evening, the chairman (Mr. LI. Wallington) presided. The others present were Messrs. W. McGaul, W. M. Richards, D. Lewis, W. Francis, W. Powell, E. Rich, M. Davies, and T. J. Hughes (clerk). FINANCE. The balance at the bank was reported to be £49 10s. 2d. THE ENCROACHMENT CASE.—ANIMATED DISCUSSION. Mr. Powell stated that the taxed costs of Miss Talbot in her recent action against the Board amounted to £33 8s. 4d.. and that the costs of counsel and witnesses who appeared for the Board were £ 12 10s. 6d.—The committee recommended the former to he paid, and the latter account was referred to the Board for consideration.—Mr. McGaul said he would like to say a few words re- specting those costs. When the case was brought before the Board it was said that there would be no difficulty in establishing their case. It was altogether a surprise to him that they had been landed into paying those heavy costs. As one of those who opposed fighting that case out he had really good ground to speak, and he thought that for the future they should not be led into such things in the dark. The member who had the doing of that was absent, but he told the Board distinctly that the evidence that he had was so great that he had not the slightest doubt that he could establish the case. He did not oppose the payment of the amount, but he did utter a protest that for such a shadowy thing they had incurred an expenditure equal to a penny rate.— Mr. Powell said that he did not want to prolong the discussion to any great extent, but he wished to say that he was strongly opposed to it from the commencement, and though Mr. McGaul came to his aid at the close, he thought that when the pro- ceedings were commenced he alone opposed it. It appeared to him that the Board had certainly made a mistake, and he hoped that, as Mr. McGaul had said, they would profit by it in future. The argument that he used at the time, and which was pooh poohed by one or more members at least, was that the members had visited the spot, and acquiesced in the arrangement. One of the mem- bers told him (Mr. Powell) that because the Board had not done its duty on that occasion it was no reason why the present Board should not do its duty. It was evident that the Board had exceeded its duty. They had no option but to pay the bill, but he most sincerely hoped that it would be a warning to them not to take proceedings without exercising the greatest caution. Of course, the matter itself was of very little import- ance to the Board to risk so great a sum.—The clerk said that before the report of the committee was passed he thought it was only fair that he should say that he accepted no responsibility for the result of the action, nor for the action that had been taken.—Mr. McGaul said he must say that was rather peculiar ground for the clerk to take. He had heard it said that the clerk had stated that the Board had never asked his opinion. Well, he (Mr. McGaul) did not think that the clerk ought to wait until he was asked his opinion when the Board was going to rush into such a thing as that. He did think that if there any blame the Clerk ought to share it.—The Clerk said he did not accost any share of blame. He was never asked in regard to the evidence, but gave his opinion on a point of law. He was assured by the members that certain facts could be proved, but it turned out at the hearing that those facts could not be proved by a long way.—Mr. Lewis asked if there was no minute that the Committee had visited the spot?—Mr. McGaul said there was no record. He did not think Mr. Francis had eyesight for the lot of them, and he protested against it. He thought, too, that the Clerk was to blame for not saying to the Board, "You are on wrong lines"-——The Clerk: Will you kindly spy what opportunity I had of saying You are on wrong lines ?" The Board were on right Tines on the facts stated at the Board as being capable of being proved. The Board were not on wrong lines, but when the witnesses came to the point Mr. McGaul (interrupting) The Clerk should have got the witnesses together, and seen if the case was worth going on with, or if the Board should drop it.—The Chairman We are supposed to be guided by the Clerk.—The Clerk On points of law. I do not throw the blame on anyone's shoulders, but I do disclaim any blame for myself.—Mr. Francis It was reported to us that it was for the public interest.—The Chair- man We were given to understand that there was sufficient evidence to carry the case through.—Mr. Rich It is no use crying over spilt milk. It will be a lesson for the future. — Mr. Powell: We are not finding fault,, but as Mr. McGaul and I have expressed it, we hope that we shall not rush into anything of this sort again. The evidence appeared to me, as I expressed it at the time, very shadowy.—Mr. McGaul I was told that Mr. Tamplin Lewis would go into the box, and then I said there would be some weight with such a gentleman as that, but he was missing.—The Chairman It is unfortunate that we were led into this business, but we cannot help it now. It is done.—The Clerk These costs were ordered by the registrar. I attended at the taxation, and got some of the cost disallowed. —The Chairman Why was this other item referred to the Board —Mr. Powell I am sorry that only Mr. Davies and myself. were present at the com- mittee meeting, but I think the Clerk was in- structed to get Mr. Plews, or some other gentle- man, and as Mr. Plews had several other cases we thought that the charges were excessive. We noticed in the other case that the other barrister was only paid £5 10s. That is one of our reasons. Then there is another item which we objected to— the amount paid to Edwards. We thought that was too much. Of course if the Clerk—and I have no doubt that he will be able to satisfy the Board that he actually paid that sum to Mr. Plews-then I think the matter will end, because our instruc- tions to him were to go up to d610 or something of that kind, so that he was within the limit.— The Clerk Well, Sir, I am bound to say that it is a very poor compliment to me. This account purports on the face of it to have been pay- ments." Is it suggested that what is represented to have been paid by me has not been paid.' I call a spade a spade. If Mr. Hughes can satisfy the Board that he paid the sum to Mr. Plews." Is that the point ? — Mr. Powell: What I referred to was that the Clerk would be able to give an explanation why that sum was paid—not if he paid the sum.—The Clerk You may have meant that; you did not say it.—Mr. Powel 1: That is what I said.—The Clerk It was not what you said. What you did say was, "pro- vided the clerk will be able to satisfy us that he has paid that sum."—Mr. Powell: Well, I will ex- plain to you what I mean. Why was that sum paid in the face of the £5 10s. paid to the other barrister ? It appears to me that it is amounting to this—that, instead of the clerk being the servant of tho Board, he appears to me to master the whole lot of us, and, if possible, to close our mouths. He may, of course, put whatever meaning he likes upon my words. I think that the clerk should be courteous to the Board, and that he should in no way. attempt to master the Board, and, if possible, ti. close our mouths. I, for one, won't submit to it. —Mr. M'Gaul pointed out that Mr. Plews was en- gaged in other cases at the same court.—The Clerk: I suggested that a sum of £10 be allowed by the Board for counsel, but the Board said "No," and that I had better have a free hand. That was the sum I paid to Mr. Plews, and that is the sum I charged against the Board. Mr. Davies knew very well that the sum chargeable as against the un- successful party on taxation of costs was seldom the sum actually paid to counsel. I understood from Mr. Jones that Mr. Benson got ten guineas on his brief, and that he was paid 18 guineas for the day—that is, seven guineas more than Mr. Plews.—In answer to Mr. Lewis, the Clerk stated that 15s. was paid to Mr. Edwards.—-Mr. Lewis Was that the scale the court allows !-The Clerk Yes from 15s. to £ 1 Is.—The Chairman If these are payments which the clerk has made.—Mr. Powell: You must be careful, Mr.Chairman, because you say if again.—Mr. Lewis said that as the bill was according to the court scale, he did not see that they had anything more to do with it.- The Clerk It is a list of the accounts which I paid in the action.—Mr. Lewis According to the court scale .'—Mr. Powell: No, it is not according to the court scale. It is not necessary that it should be. -The Clerk: J can get Mr. Plews' brief here, which shows the amount paid to him. My office is still open.—The Chairman Mr. Powell was justified in asking for an explanation.—The Clerk pointed out that Mr. Plews did not get anything like as big a fee as Mr. Benson for the day, nor did he get as big a fee as Mr. Benson got in that case. -The Chairman Will any one more that cheques be drawn for these payments ?—Mr. Richards pro- posed and Mr. Lewis seconded that the amounts in question be paid. and this was carried unani- mously.-The Chairman I hope we shall be cautious in future.—Mr. McGaul: Not a bit of it. If it was next week you would be at it again. (Laughter.)—Tha Chairman I do not think it is fair to cast reflections upon those members who went to look at the spot, and did their very best, thinking that the case would succeed.-The Clerk Had the case been referred to arbitation it would have cost three times as much at least. THE ALLEGED OBSTUCTION. Mr. McGaul reported that in company with Messrs. Rich and Lewis he had visited the spot where it was alleged that Mr. C. P. Davies had obstructed the road. They found that the road was simply an accommodation road to the farms, and that the public had no rights in it as a cart- way, but had simply the right to pass on foot. The footpath was in no way interfered with, and under the circumstances they recommended the Board to take no further action in the matter. The Board, after a little discussion, decided upoa letting the matter drop, as the members who had been deputed to look into it expressed themselves satisfied that it was as Mr. MeGaul stated simply a private road to the farm. Mr. McGaul said he thought the surveyor ought not to bring such matters before the Board on his own authority, but the Chairman and other members held that the surveyor was quite justified in acting as he had. THE NEW OFFICES. On the proposition of Mr. M. Davies. seconded by Mr. Powell, it was deciffld that the clerk write offering £ 15 a year to the Masonic Lodge for the two vacant offices in the Masonic-hall, Adare- street.—Mr. McGaul and Mr. Rich voted against, the proposition. The Board then adjourned. -L-