Land Adjudication Act

Link to law: http://laws.gov.ag/acts/chapters/cap-234.pdf
Published: 1975

Land Adjudication (CAP. 234 1

CHAPTER 234

THE LAND ADJUDICATION ACT

Arrangement of Sections
Section

PART I

Preliminary and Application

1. Short title.
2. Interpretation.
3. Application.

PART I1

Off' icers

4. Appointment and general powers of oficers.

PART I11

Claims and Demarcation

Adjudication sections.
Notice by Adjudication Officers.
Staying of land suits.
Claims and attendances.
Safeguarding of rights of absent persons and minors.
Notice of demarcation and recording.
Indication of land claimed.
Special powers of Demarcation Officer.
Duties of the Survey Officer.
Duties of the Recording Officer.
Disputes.

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2 CAP. 234) Land Adjudication

PART IV

Principles of Adjudication and Preparation of Adjudica-
tion Record

16. Principles of adjudication etc.
17. Rules to be followed in adjudication.
18. Adjudication Record.
19. Notice of completion of adjudication record.

PART V

Objections and Finality

20. Petition against the adjudication record.
21. Procedure in hearing petitions and disputes.
22. Correction of Adjudication Record.
23. Finality of Adjudication Record.
24. Appeal.

PART VI

Miscellaneous

25. Fees.
26. Offences.
27. Indemnity of officers.
28. Regulations.

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Land Adjudication (CAP. 234 3

LAND ADJUDICATION

( 1 9th September, 1975 .)

PART I

Preliminary and Application

1. This Act may be cited as the Land Adjudication Short title.
Act.

2. In this Act, except where the context otherwise Inte'pretation.
requires-

"adjudication area" means an area to which this Act
has been applied under section 3;

"Adjudication Officer" means an Adjudication Officer
appointed under section 4;

"adjudication record7' means the adjudication record
prepared in accordance with the provisions of
section 18 in respect of an adjudication section;

"adjudication section" means an adjudication section
declared under section 5;

"Court" means the High Court;

"Demarcation Officer" means a Demarcation Officer
appointed under section 4;

"demarcation map" means a demarcation index map
prepared under section 13 in respect of an adjudication
section;

"guardian" means any person responsible for protect-
ing the interests of any person who is under a disability,
whether by reason of age, unsoundness of mind or any other
cause;

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4 CAP. 234) Land Adjudication

6'. Interest in land" includes any right or interest in or
over land which is capable of being recorded under the pro-
visions of this Act;

"land" includes land covered with water, all things
growing on land, buildings and other things permanently
affixed to land;

" parcel" means a piece of land separately shown on
the demarcation map and given a number;

"Recording Officer" means a Recording Officer
appointed under section 4;

"Registrar" means the Registrar of Lands appointed
Cap. 374. under the Registered Land Act;

"Survey Officer" means a Survey Officer appointed
under section 4.

Application. 3. (1) The Minister may by order declare that it is
intended to effect the adjudication and registration of rights
and interests in land within such area as is defined in the
order.

(2) The Minister may by order amend or revoke any
order made under this section.

(3) Every order made under this section shall be
published in the Gazette.

PART I1

Officers

Appointment and
general powers of

4. (1) On or after publication of an order made under
officers. section 3, the Minister shall appoint an Adjudication Officer

for the adjudication area, and the Adjudication Officer may
appoint such Demarcation Officers, Recording Officers and
Survey Officers as may be necessary for performing the duties
and exercising the powers imposed and conferred upon them
by this Act.

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Land Adjudication (CAP. 234

(2) The Adjudication Officer shall be in charge of the
adjudication and may issue such general or special direc-
tions as he thinks necessary to the officers appointed by him
under subsection ( I ) , and may himself perform and exer-
cise all or any of the duties and powers given under this
Act to the officers appointed by him.

(3) The Adjudication Officer shall be competent to
administer oaths and take affidavits in any enquiry made
by him and to issue summonses, notices or orders requiring
the attendance of such persons or production of such
documents as he may consider necessary for carrying out
the adjudication.

(4) A Demarcation Officer or Survey Officer may at
any reasonable time enter upon any land within the adjudica-
tion area for the purpose of demarcating or surveying any
parcel therein and may summon any person who can give
information regarding the boundaries of any such parcel to
point out the boundaries.

PART I11

Claims and Demarcation

5 . The Adjudication Officer shall divide the adjudica- Adjudication
sections. tion area into two or more adjudication sections or declare

the whole area to be a single adjudication section, and shall
give each adjudication section a distinctive name.

6. ( 1 ) The Adjudication Officer shall prepare a :;;t$i.bion
separate notice in respect of each adjudication section, and office,,.
in each such notice shall-

(a) specify as nearly as possible the situation and
limits of the adjudication section;

( 6 ) declare that all interests in land will be ascer-
tained and recorded in accordance with the provisions
of this Act;

(6) declare that any interest in land within the
adjudiction section which is registered under the Title
by Registration Act will be carried forward to the new Cap. 429.
register established under the Registered Land Act;

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6 C A P . 234) Land Adjudication

(d) require any person who claims any interest in
land within the adjudication section to make a claim
either in writing or in person or by his agent duly
authorised according to law, within the period and at
the place and in the manner specified in the notice:

Provided that any person whose name appears in a
schedule prepared in accordance with subsection (2) of
this section need not make a claim in respect of the parcel
of land shown against his name;

( e ) require all claimants to land within the adjudica-
tion section whether or not such land has been registered
under the Title by Registration Act to mark or indicate
the boundaries of the land claimed in such manner and
before such date as shall be required by the Demarca-
tion Officer.

(2) The Adjudication Officer shall examine such
registers kept under the Title by Registration Act as he con-
siders relevant to land in the adjudication section and may,
if he considers it advisable to do so, prepare for publication
with the notice issued under subsection (1) of this section
a schedule showing the name of any person having an interest
in any parcel registered under the Title by Registration Act,
the parcel of land concerned and the nature of the interest.

(3) The Adjudication Officer shall-

(a) cause such notices and schedules, if any, to be
published at the office of the Registrar of Deeds and
Titles and such other offices within Antigua and Barbuda
as he thinks fit; and

(6) cause the substance of such notice and schedule,
if any, to be made known throughout the adjudication
area and elswhere in such manner as he considers to
be most effective for the purpose of bringing it to the
attention of all persons affected thereby.

Staying of land
suits.

7. (1) Except with the consent in writing of the
Adjudication Officer, no action claiming an interest in land
or rights to land in an adjudication section shall be begun
in any civil court until proceedings under this Act have been
completed.

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Land Adjudication (CAP. 234 7

(2) Upon the application of any party interested in the
subject matter of an action claiming an interest in land or
rights to land in an adjudication section instituted before
the publication of the notice mentioned in section 6, the Court
may stay the hearing of such action and refer it to the
Adjudication Officer.

8. (1) Every person claiming any land or interest in ::t",':,",",",.
land within an adjudication section shall make his claim in
the manner and within the period fixed by the notice given
under section 6.

(2) Every person whose presence is required by the
Adjudication Officer, Demarcation Officer or Recording
Officer, as the case may be, shall attend in person or by
agent at the time and place specified.

(3) If any such person fails to attend in person or by
agent after written notice has been given, the demarcation,
recording or other proceeding may continue in his absence.

9. (1) If the Adjudication Officer, Demarcation Safe~uardingof
rights of absent Officer or Recording Officer is satisfied that any person who persons and

has not made a claim has a claim to any interest in land minors-
within the adjudication section the Adjudication Officer,
Demarcation Officer or Recording Officer may, in his discre-
tion proceed as if a claim had been made, and may call upon
the Registrar of Deeds and Titles to supply him with a cer-
tified copy of any document of title relevant thereto.

(2) If the Adjudication Officer, Demarcation Officer or
Recording Officer has reason to believe that a minor has
a claim to any interest in land and such minor has no per-
son to represent him, the Adjudication Officer, Demarca-
tion Officer or Recording Officer, as the case may be, shall
appoint a person to represent such minor and shall proceed
as if a claim had been made.

10. (1) Not less than seven clear days before the
and

demarcation of land in an adiudication section is benun, the ...ordin,. - -
Demarcation Officer shall give notice of the intended demar-
cation in that section, and of the time and place at which
it will begin, in such manner as the Adjudication Officer

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8 CAP. 234) Land Adjudication

shall deem to be most likely to bring the matter to the
knowledge of the persons to be affected by that demarcation.

(2) Such notice shall require every claimant to indicate
the boundaries of the land affected by his claim in the man-
ner specified in the notice.

Indication of
land claimed.

1 . Subject to any general or particular directions
issued by the Adjudication Officer, the Demarcation Officer
shall within each adjudication section-

(a) see that the boundaries of each piece of land,
which is the subject of a claim, are indicated or demar-
cated in accordance with the requirements of the notice
given under section 10;

(b) indicate or cause to be indicated the boundaries
of

(i) public roads, public rights of way and other
Crown Land and

(ii) waste or unclaimed land.

Special powers of 1 . (1) The Demarcation Officer rnay-
Demarcation
Officer. (a) divide the adjudication section into blocks which

shall be given distinctive numbers or letters or combina-
tions of numbers and letters;

(b) with the consent of the owners concerned, adjust
the boundaries of any land in the adjudication section
or re-allot the same to ensure the more beneficial
occupation thereof or to effect a more suitable sub-
division thereof;

(c) make any reservations he considers necessary
for the purposes of defining existing roads and paths
or for the better drainage of any land;

(6) make a declaration of such existing rights of
way over any land in the adjudication section and may
direct the manner in which such rights of way are to
be exercised and in such case he shall direct that such
rights of way be recorded in the adjudication record in
respect of the dominant land and the servient land;

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Land Adjudication (CAP. 234 9

(e) award such compensation as may to him appear
just to any person who has suffered loss of land as the
result of any adjustment of boundaries or the partition
or re-allotment of any land or the declaration of any
rights of way and may make an order directing by whom
such compensation shall be paid:

Provided that any award may be the subject of a
petition under section 20;

V) determine the proportion in which the expenses
of any partition shall be borne by the persons interested
therein and make an order accordingly;

(g) make an order as to costs not exceeding one
hundred dollars.

(2) Any order for the payment of compensation,
expenses or costs made against the owner of any land shall
create a debt to be charged on such land which shall have
priority over all other debts except rates and taxes relating
to the land and due to the Government.

13. Subject to any general or particular directions F;~yz;k:er.
issued by the Adjudication Officer, the duties of the Survey
Officer shall be-

( a ) to carry out such survey work as may be
required in the execution of the adjudication process;

(6) to prepare or cause to be prepared a demarca-
tion index map of the adjudication section which shall
be compiled from survey data or aerial photographs on
which shall be shown every separate parcel of land iden-
tified by a distinguishing number, except that public
roads shall not be required to be identified by a number.

14. The Recording Officer shall consider all claims
to any interest in land and after such investigation as he officer.
considers necessary shall prepare in accordance with the pro-
visions of section 18 a record in respect of every parcel of
land shown on the demarcation map.

15. (1) If in any case- Disputes.
( a ) there is a dispute as to any boundary whether

indicated to the Demarcation Officer or demarcated or

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10 CAP. 234) Land Adjudication

readjusted by him, which the Demarcation Officer is
unable to resolve; or

(b) there are two or more claimants to any interest
in land and the Recording Officer is unable to effect
agreement between them,

the Demarcation Officer or the Recording Officer as the case
may be shall refer the matter to the Adjudication Officer.

(2) The Adjudication Officer shall adjudicate upon and
determine any dispute referred to him under subsection (I),
having due regard to any law which may be applicable, and
shall make and sign a record of the proceedings:

Provided that nothing in this section shall empower the
Adjudication Officer to vary any interest in land registered
under the Title by Registration Act.

PART IV

Principles of Adjudication and Preparation of
Adjudication Record

Principles OF 16. (I) In preparing the adjudication record-
adjudication etc.

(a) if the Recording Officer is satisfied that a
person-

(i) is in open and peaceable possession of a parcel
of land other than a parcel which is Crown
Land and has been in such possession, by
himself or his predecessors in title, for an
uninterrupted period of twelve years or more;
or

(ii) has a good documentary title to the parcel and
that no other person has acquired or is in
course of acquiring a title thereto under any
law relating to prescription or limitation, and
that he would succeed in maintaining and
defending such possession or title against any
other person claiming the land or any part
thereof,

the Recording Officer shall record that person as the owner
of the parcel and declare his title to be absolute;

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Land Adjudication (CAP. 234 11

(6) if the Recording Officer is satisfied that any
land is entirely free from private rights, or that the rights
existing in or over it do not amount to full ownership
and are not such as to enable him to proceed under
paragraph (6) of this subsection, he shall record the land
as Crown Land;

(c) if the Recording Officer is satisfied that any land
is subject to any right which is registrable as a lease,
charge, easement, profit or restrictive agreement under
the Registered Land Act he shall record such particulars
as shall enable the right and the name of the person
entitled to the benefit thereof to be registered, and if
such right is registered under the Title by Registration
Act, he shall record such particulars as appear in the
register;

(d) if the Recording Officer is satisfied that a per-
son is in possession of or has a right to a parcel but
is not satisfied that such person is entitled to be recorded
under paragraph (a) of this subsection as the owner of
the parcel with absolute title, the Recording Officer may
nevertheless record that person as the owner of the parcel
and declare his title to be provisional and shall record-

(i) the date on which the possession of that per-
son shall be considered to have begun;

(ii) particulars of any deed, instrument or other
document by virtue of which some estate, right
or interest adverse to or in derogation of the
title of that person might exist; or

(iii) any other qualification which affects the title.

(2) For the purpose of this section-

(a) a person is deemed to be in possession of land
if he does not acknowledge the title of any other person
to that land and by himself, his agent, tenant or ser-
vant, has the use of the land to the exclusion of the
public;

(6) "good documentary title" means a title
registered under the Title by Registration Act, or a title
evidenced by documents which establishes that a per-
son is entitled to land in fee simple and commencing

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12 CAP. 234) Land Adjudication

with a grant, conveyance, assignment or mortgage which
is more than twelve years old.

(3) The Recording Officer shall follow the rules laid
down in section 17.

Rules to be
followed in

17. (1) All waste and unoccupied land shall be
adjudication. deemed to be Crown Land until the contrary is proved.

( 2 ) The exercise by any person of any rights in or over
one or more pieces of land shall not be taken as a presump-
tion in his favour of any rights in or over any greater extent
of land than that in or over which such rights are exercised.

(3) Possession or receipt of rents and profits by any per-
son through whom a claimant derives his title shall be deemed
to have been the possession or receipt of rents and profits
of the claimant.

(4) Where from the relationship of the parties or from
other special causes it appears that the person in possession
of land is or was in possession on behalf of another, his posses-
sion shall be deemed to be or to have been the possession
of that other.

(5) Where two or more persons have rights which will
entitle them to be registered as joint proprietors or proprietors
in common under the Registered Land Act, the Recording
Officer shall record such persons as joint owners or owners
in common, as the case may be, and if owners in common
the share of each such owner.

(6) A receipt shall be given by the Recording Officer
for all documents produced by a claimant and retained.

Adjudication
Record.

18. ( 1 ) The adjudication record shall consist of a form
in respect of each parcel of land, which form shall show-

( a ) the number and approximate area of the parcel
as shown in the Demarcation Map;

(b) either the name and description of the person
entitled to be registered as the owner of the parcel with
particulars of the manner in which that person acquired

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Land Adjudication (CAP. 234 13

that parcel and of any restriction on his power of deal-
ing with it, or the fact that the parcel is Crown Land;

( 6 ) such particulars of any right registrable under
the Registered Land Act as shall enable it to be registered
as a lease, mortgage, charge, easement, profit or restric--.
tive agreement, as the case may be, affecting the parcel
together with the name and description of the person
entitled to the benefit thereof and particulars of any
restriction on his power of dealing with it;

(d) if any person shown in the adjudication record
is under a disability, whether by reason of age, unsound-
ness of mind or otherwise the name of his guardian;

( e ) a list of the documents, if any, produced, to
the Recording Officer and retained by him for the pur-
pose of Adjudication;

u> the date on which the form is completed.

(2) When completed the form shall be signed by the
Recording Officer and, in the case of privately owned land,
shall, where possible, include an acknowledgement signed
by the owner of the parcel and by any person recorded under
the provisions of subsection (1) (6) as having an interest in
such parcel that such owner and every such person accepts
the record.

19. When the adjudication record in respect of any z:;;e2:n or
adjudication section has been completed, the Adjudication adjudication
Officer shall sign and date a certificate to that effect and record.
shall forthwith give notice of the completion thereof and of
the place or places at which the same can be inspected
together with the demarcation map.

PART V

Objections and Finality

20. The Minister or any person named in or affected phc:Zj'&%;$
by the adjudication record or demarcation map who con- recod.
siders such record or map to be inaccurate or incomplete
in any respect or who is aggrieved by any act or decision
of the Demarcation Officer or Survey Officer or by any entry

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Procedure in
hearing petitions
and disputes.

Correction of
Adjudication
Record.

Finality of
Adjudication
Record.

CAP. 234) Land Adjlsdication

in or omission from the adjudication record by the Record-
ing Officer may, within ninety days of the day upon which
notice of completion of the adjudication record is published,
petition the Adjudication Officer in respect of the act, deci-
sion, entry or omission concerned, and the petition shall be
heard and determined by the Adjudication Officer:

Provided that nothing in this section shall empower the
Adjudication Officer to vary any interest in land registered
under the Title by Registration Act.

2 1. In hearing a petition under Section 20 or a dispute
under Section 15 the Adjudication Officer shall, so far as
may be practicable follow the procedure directed to be
observed in the hearing of civil suits save that in his absolute
discretion he may admit evidence which would not be
admissible in a court of law and may use evidence adduced
in any other claim or contained in any official record and
may call evidence of his own motion.

22. At any time before the adjudication record
becomes final, the Adjudication Officer-

(a) may correct in the record any error or omis-
sion not materially affecting the interest of any persons;
and

(6) after taking such steps as he thinks fit to bring
to the notice of every person whose interest is affected
his intention to make any material alteration in the
record which he considers necessary, and after giving
such person an opportunity to be heard, may make such
alteration:
Provided that nothing in this section shall empower the

Adjudication Officer to make any alteration which has the
effect of varying any interest in land registered under the
Title by Registration Act.

23. After the expiry of ninety days from the date of
publication of the notice of completion of the adjudication
record or on determination of all petitions presented in
accordance with section 20, whichever shall be the later, the
adjudication record shall, subject to the provisions of the
Registered Land Act become final and the Adjudication
Officer shall sign a certificate to that effect and shall deliver

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Land Adjudication (CAP. 234 15

the adjudication record and the demarcation map to the
Registrar together with all documents received by him in
the process of adjudication.

24. (1) Any person, including the Minister, who is Appeal.
aggrieved by any act or decision of the Adjudication Officer
and desires to question it or any part of it may within two
months from the date of the certificate of the Adjudication
Officer under section 23 or within such extended time as
the Court, in the interests of justice, may allow, appeal to
the Court in the prescribed form.

(2) O n any such appeal the Court may make such order
or substitute for the decision of the Adjudication Officer such
decision as it may consider just and may under the provi-
sions of the Registered Land Act order rectification of the
register.

(3 ) A decision of the Court on appeal under
subsection (1) shall be in writing and copies of it shall be
furnished by the Court to the Registrar, to the appellant
and to all other parties who, in his opinion, may be affected
by the appeal.

(4) Any person, including the Minister, appealing under
subsection (1) shall give notice to the Registrar of his inten-
tion to appeal and the Registrar shall enter a restriction under
the provisions of the Registered Land Act in every register
affected by the appeal.

PART VI

Miscellaneous

25. Every person who is a party to any proceedings Fees.
before the Court shall be required to pay such fees in respect
of the proceedings as may be prescribed.

26. Any person who- Offenoao,
(a) having been served with a summons issued

under the provisions of this Act, wilfully neglects or
refuses to attend in pursuance of such summons, or to

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16 CAP. 234) Land Adjudication

produce any document which he is required to produce;
or

(6) wilfully neglects or refuses to answer upon oath
or otherwise any question which may lawfully be put
to him by any officer; or

(c) without reasonable cause, wilfully neglects or
refuses to indicate his land or to assist in the demarca-
tion of his land when required to do so by a Demarca-
tion Officer,

shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary convic-
tion to a fine of seven hundred and fifty dollars and to
imprisonment for three months.

Indemnity of
officers.

27. No officer referred to in this Act shall be liable
to any action or proceedings for or in respect of any act or
matter in good faith done or omitted to be done in exercise
or supposed exercise of the powers conferred by this Act or
any regulations made thereunder.

Regulations. 28. The Minister may make regulations for the pur-
pose of carrying into effect the provisions and purposes of
this Act.
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