It just can’t issue any decisions on land ownership or hold hearings
By : L.N. Reklai
August 11, 2016 (Koror) With over 500 land cases pending at Land Court, the law PNC Title 35 Section 1304 as amended by RPPL 9-56, giving Land Court the mandate to “hold hearings and make determinations with respect to the ownership of all land within the Republic” expired yesterday.
Right now, Land Court cannot hold any hearings or make any decision on ownership of land. It cannot receive petitions or grant motions because that authority has expired. Any pending hearings or cases waiting for judges’ decisions are cancelled.
According to Land Court, only part of the law that set the deadline for Land Court to hold hearings and make determinations expired. Land Court was not dissolved. Land Court can continue to provide administrative services such as copies of certificates of title and allow people to review record of lands or maps but its primary task of holding hearings and making decisions on land ownership is gone.
According to Senator Uduch Senior, Land Court mandate to hold hearings and make determinations can be reinstated simply by adopting Senate bill 9-188 which sought to remove the time restriction for Land Court. “I ask the House to please pass Senate Bill 9-188 and give the Senate time to study HB 9-209,” stated Senator Senior yesterday.
Land Court allows people to represent themselves in their land cases. The rules of procedures are more relaxed as well as rules of evidence, unlike the Trial Court. It is therefore, less costly to individuals who have no money to hire professional legal help. [/restrict]