FACTOID # 17: Though Rhode Island is the smallest state in total area, it has the longest official name: The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.
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Encyclopedia > Town charter

In the United Kingdom and Canada a Royal Charter is a charter granted by the Sovereign on the advice of the Privy Council, which creates or gives special status to an incorporated body. It is an exercise of the Royal Prerogative.

At one time a Royal Charter was the only way in which an incorporated body could be formed, but other means such as the registration of a limited company are now available. Among the historic bodies formed by Royal Charter were the British East India Company and the American colonies.

Among the 400 or so organisations with Royal Charters are cities, the BBC, Livery Companies, Britain's older universities, professional institutions and charities.

A Royal Charter is the manner in which a British town is raised to the rank of British city. Most recently Inverness, Brighton & Hove and Wolverhampton were given their charters to celebrate the millennium, and Preston, Stirling, Newport, Lisburn and Newry to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II in 2002.

Some of the older British universities operate under Royal Charters, which give them the power to grant degrees. The most recent generation of universities were granted this power by the Further and Higher Education Act, 1992 instead. Some other universities operate under Acts of Parliament.

The BBC operates under a Royal Charter which lasts for a limited period of ten years, after which it is renewed.

Most Royal Charters are now granted to professional institutions and to charities. A Charter is not necessary for them to operate, but one is often sought as a recognition of "pre-eminence, stability and permanence".

External links

  • Privy Council website (http://www.privy-council.org.uk/output/page26.asp)
  • Royal Charter of the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/info/bbc/charter.shtml)
  • Charter of the University of Birmingham (http://www.ppd.bham.ac.uk/policy/charter/charter.htm)
  • Royal Charter of Rhode Island (1663) (http://www.state.ri.us/rihist/richart.htm)

See also

  Results from FactBites:
Spartanburg SC | GoUpstate.com | Spartanburg Herald-Journal (261 words)
Towns were often "free", in the sense that they were directly protected by the king or emperor, and were not part of a feudal fief.
In monarchies, the charters is still often a royal charter given by the Crown or the state authorities acting on behalf of the Crown.
In the United States, such charters are established either directly by a state legislature by means of local legislation, or indirectly under a general municipal corporation law, usually after the proposed charter has passed a referendum vote of the affected population.
Portsmouth Herald Local News: Seabrook selectmen won’t authorize attorney to defend town charter (682 words)
The law says that no town official is allowed to decide a case in which he or she is an interested party.
John Anthony Simmons, Seabrook’s town attorney, is on a retainer paid by town funds on a quarterly basis.
Welch added that Town Clerk Bonnie Fowler; Supervisors of the Checklist Bruce Brown, Gary Fowler and Richard Fowler; and Town Moderator Paul Kelly can ask the town to pay for an attorney if they seek legal counsel during the recall process because they are town officials listed as interested parties in the case.
  More results at FactBites »



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