GUARDIAN, in English law, is the legal representative and custodier of infants, i.e., persons under the age of 21, and various species are distinguished. Guardian by nature is rather a popular than a legal term, especially when used in reference to is father or mother, who are often called guardians by nature. In its technical sense, it is confined to an ancestor who is said to be guardian of his heir-apparent. Guardian for nurture is the name given to a father, or, after his death, to the mother, who, as such, has the custody and control of children until the age of 14. Guardian in socage is the term anciently given to the next of blood who had the legal custody of the person as well ns estate of the heir to lands which descend in socage or freehold, until the heir attains the age of 14. A father may, by deed or will, appoint a guardian to his child. If he do not, the lord chancellor will do so; but practically, this is only done when the child is entitled to property. When a guardian is appointed by the chancery division of the high court of justice, the infant is called a ward of Court. and requires the sanction of the guardian for most purposes. and requires the permission of the court to marry, or if the infant marries without such permission, those who were privy to such a co)itempt of court may be punished. A guardian ad Were is a person (usually the father, if alive) appointed by the chancery division for the purpose of carrying on a suit in the name of an infant. In general the power of a guardian extends to the person as well as the property of the infant; but in the case of guardiansappointed by chancery, their powers are under the strict control of that division.
The guardian of a lunatic (q.v.) is usually called a committee, In Scotland the word "guardian" is sometimes used in reference to lnnatics, hut seldom applied, except in a popular sense, to those who have the custody and care of children. In correspond
ing cases in Scotland, the custody of a child under 12, if or 14, if male, belongs to her or Ids tutor (q.v.); and from those ages to 21, the child has no legal guardian, being suijuris; hut the care of the child's property belongs to a curator (q.v.).
Guardian of the poor is in English parochial law an important functionary, being a person elected by a parish or union of parishes to manage the affairs of the poor. The ancient officers of the parish who attended to the affairs of the poor were called over seers; but by statutes, most of which are recent, it has been thought better to have a larger body of persons elected by the ratepayers of the parish to discharge most of these duties. Hence, many of the larger parishes are, either by a special statute or by order of the poor-law board, put under a board of guardians, and all poor-law 'mines are managed by guardians also. The ratepayers, in voting, have one vote for each of rent they pay, but in no case arc allowed more than six votes.. Thonardians have the i.,:mnagement of the workhouse, had nig raairltenauce; clothing; and relief of the poor, and in the regulations must comply with the orders of the local government board, whose president is a member of the government, acting by these orders and by statutes. The office of guardian is compulsory, but may be refused, if notice is given during the election.
In Scotland the corresponding duties are discharged by the parochial board (q.v.), which is subject to the general board of supervision. See also Fowl..