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Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009

Section 29 – Honorary titles

74.Section 29 amends section 249 of the Local Government Act 1972 in respect of both honorary freemen and honorary aldermen.

75.The title of “honorary freeman” is different from the status of freeman. As the name suggests, the status is purely honorary in nature, and confers no rights on the person so recognised.

76.Section 249 as originally enacted allows certain local authorities to confer the title ‘honorary freeman’ on persons of distinction and persons who have rendered eminent services to the local area. The local authorities who could exercise this power are the council of a London borough or a district having the status of a city, borough or royal borough or any parish or community having by grant under the royal prerogative the status of city and any parish or community entitled by such grant to be called and styled a royal town. The power is also exercisable by principal councils in Wales.

77.The amendments made to section 249 by section 29 extend the power to confer the title “honorary freeman” under section 249 to all principal councils, parish and community councils, and charter trustees in England. The amendments also allow councils to confer the title “honorary freewoman” where appropriate.

78.Section 249 also contains a power for principal councils to confer the title ‘honorary alderman’ on former members of the council who have rendered eminent services to that council. Section 29 amends section 249 to enable principal councils who are exercising that power to confer the title “honorary alderwoman” where appropriate.

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