Children's Dangerous Performances Act, 1879



An Act to regulate the Employment of Children in places of public amusement in certain cases. [24th July 1879.]


Short title.

1. This Act may be cited as the Children’s Dangerous Performances Act, 1879.

[S. 2 rep. 57 & 58 Vict. c. 56 (S.L.R.)]

Penalty for employment of any child in dangerous performances

Compensation for accident to any child.

3. Any person who shall cause any child under the age of fourteen years to take part in any public exhibition or performance whereby, in the opinion of a court of summary jurisdiction, the life or limbs of such child shall be endangered, and the parent or guardian, or any person having the custody, of such child, who shall aid or abet the same, shall severally be guilty of an offence against this Act, and shall on summary conviction be liable for each offence to a penalty not exceeding ten pounds.

And where in the course of a public exhibition or performance, which in its nature is dangerous to the life or limb of a child under such age as aforesaid taking part therein, any accident causing actual bodily harm occurs to any such child, the employer of such child shall be liable to be indicted as having committed an assault; and the court before whom such employer is convicted on indictment shall have the power of awarding compensation not exceeding twenty pounds, to be paid by such employer to the child, or to some person named by the court on behalf of the child, for the bodily harm so occasioned; provided that no person shall be punished twice for the same offence.

Evidence of age.

4. Whenever any person is charged with an offence against this Act in respect of a child who in the opinion of the court trying the case is apparently of the age alleged by the informant, it shall lie on the person charged to prove that the child is not of that age.

Recovery of penalties.

11 & 12 Vict. c. 43.

27 & 28 Vict. c. 53.

14 & 15 Vict. c. 93.

5. Every offence against this Act in respect of which the person committing it is liable as above mentioned to a penalty not exceeding ten pounds shall be prosecuted and the penalty recovered with costs in a summary manner, as follows:

In England, in accordance with the provisions of the Summary Jurisdiction Act, 1848, and of any Act or Acts amending the same; and the court of summary jurisdiction when hearing and determining an information in respect of any offence under this Act shall be constituted either of two or more justices of the peace in petty sessions, sitting at a place appointed for the holding of petty sessions, or some magistrate or officer sitting alone or with others at some court or other place appointed for the administration of justice for the time being empowered by law to do alone any Act authorised to be done by more than one justice of the peace;

In Scotland, in accordance with the provisions of the Summary Procedure Act, 1864, and of any Act or Acts amending the same; and

In Ireland, within the police district of Dublin metropolis in accordance with the provisions of the Acts regulating the powers and duties of justices of the peace for such district, or of the police of such district, and elsewhere in Ireland in accordance with the provisions of the Petty Sessions (Ireland) Act, 1851, and any Act amending or affecting the same.