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An Ordinance for the better assuring Lands, Tenements, and Heredita- Ord. No. 8,
ments within the said Islands. (Passed 24th Oct. 1855.
Confirmed 14th July, 1856.)

HEREAS an Ordinance No. 6 of 1854, which passed the PREAMBLE.
Legislative Council of these Islands on the seventeenth day

of October, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-four, entitled
"An Ordinance for the better assuring Lands, Tenements, and Here-
ditaments within the said Islands," has been found to contain two
sections objectionable in reference to the time allowed for the
purposes therein mentioned; and it is expedient that a similar
Ordinance should be enacted free from the objections adverted to.
And whereas from the period of the first settlement of these
islands, the usual tenure of land within the Turks Islands was that
of occupancy, under a license from the Chief Magistrate called the
King's Commander; and the majority of the present occupiers of
"such lands have no fee simple in the same.
And whereas many
persons having expended large sums of money in the improvements
of such lands, and have been permitted by the Crown to continue
in undisturbed possession of the same, and have, from time to time,
conveyed such land to third parties and their heirs, without having
any legal right or title to the same. And whereas, it would
remove the many inconveniences and evils which arise from such
an uncertain tenure of land, and would tend to increase the value
of real estate if the parties occupying lands as aforesaid were
enabled to obtain, at a reasonable charge, an indefeasible estate of
inheritance in fee simple in such lands and tenements; May it
therefore please the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty that it may be
ordained by his Honour James Misick, Esquire, Senior Member of
Council, administering the Government of the Turks and Caicos

No. 1. Ord. No. 8, 1855.

Claimants of land by oc

cupancy may obtain grants in fee simple.

How grants are to be obtained.

Proviso 1.

Petition for grant to be filed in the office of the Clerk of the Crown.

Public notice to be given thereof.

Caveat may be filed.


Question of title to be adjudicated in the Supreme Court.

By Jury.

Islands, and the Legislative Council of the said islands, under the supervision of the Captain-General and Governor-in-Chief in and over the Island of Jamaica; and it is hereby ordained by the authority of the same:

I. That all persons, who, prior to the separation of these islands from the Bahama Government, occupied, or claimed to be the owner by occupancy, of any land within the Turks Islands, or whose claim may be derived from any one so occupying any land at the said period, may, in the manner hereinafter mentioned, apply for a grant in fee simple for the same.

II. That every person desirous of obtaining grants in fee simple for lands so owned or occupied by him as aforesaid, shall file in the office of the Clerk of the Crown a petition in writing according to the form contained in the Schedule to this Ordinance annexed, praying that a grant may be issued to him under the seal of the colony, by which an estate in fee simple in the same may be conveyed to him: Provided always, that all such petitions shall be filed within twelve months from the period of the Proclamation in these islands of the allowance of this Ordinance by Her Majesty.*

III. That upon receipt of such petition, it shall be the duty of the Clerk of the Crown to file the same, and to indorse thereon the date of its receipt, and the said petition to number. And it shall also be the duty of the said Clerk of the Crown to keep a proper book, entitled "Petitions for grants of Land," in which he shall enter the number of each petition in numerical order, the date of its receipt, the name of the petitioner, and a description of the land claimed.

IV. That within thirty days after the filing of such petition, the Clerk of the Crown shall publish, or cause to be published in the Government newspaper of the colony, for three consecutive weeks, a notice of such petition having been filed, describing as in such petition, the land applied for or claimed.

V. That it shall be lawful for the Queen's Advocate, at the instance of the Crown Surveyor on behalf of the Crown, and for any other person in his own behalf, either by himself, his agent, attorney, or counsel, to file in the office of the Clerk of the Crown a caveat against the prayer of the petitioner, stating the grounds thereof: Provided always that in all cases where a caveat is filed, the same shall be entered within twelve months from the date of the first publication of the notice of the petition for such land.

VI. That whenever any caveat shall be filed as aforesaid, the party filing the caveat or the party petitioning for the land may bring the question of title before the Supreme Court of these islands for decision. And either of such parties may cause such question to be decided by giving ten days' notice to the opposite party of his intention so to do. And such parties shall cause the particular grounds of their claims respectively to be set forth in writing; and the same to be filed in the office of the Clerk of the Crown at least seven days before the sitting of the Court. And if after such notice either party shall neglect or refuse to attend at the Court, or to set forth in writing the grounds of his claim, the case may be heard ex parte, and be determined according to the merits of such case.

VII. That if in any case a disputed question of fact should * Proviso 2 is repealed by Ordinance No. 2 of 1856.

arise, the same shall be determined by a jury, to be empanelled for that purpose.

No. 1. Ord. No. 8, 1855.

Witnesses may

VIII. That the Judge of the said Court shall have full power and authority to summon and compel the attendance before him of all such persons whom the parties aforesaid may require to be be summoned. summoned for the purpose of giving evidence touching the title to any such land, and all such persons to examine on oath, and also to compel the production of any books, papers, title-deeds, or transfers which they may deem necessary to be produced for the purpose aforesaid; and if any person so examined as aforesaid shall commit wilful and corrupt perjury upon any investigation or trial under this Ordinance, every person so offending shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanour, and, on conviction thereof, shall suffer such punishment by imprisonment, with or without hard labour, as the Court shall adjudge; provided such imprisonment shall not exceed twelve calendar months.

The Judge to
frame rules,
to be approved
of by the



Grant to be issued after

IX. That the Judge of the said Court shall have power to frame rules and regulations for the more correct and expeditious transaction of the business to be decided by the said Court under this Ordinance; provided that such rules and regulations shall be approved of by the President and the Legislative Council. X. That if after the expiration of twelve months from such first publication as aforesaid of any petition, no caveat shall be filed as aforesaid, it shall be lawful for the President, upon receipt of a certificate from the Crown Surveyor, that he has received payment petition. of the sum or sums due in respect of any such lands as aforesaid, together with the expenses incident thereto and hereinafter specified, to issue a grant in fee simple under his hand and the seal of the colony for the lands petitioned for.

12 months' publication of

Plantation lots.

XI. That for every grant for a lot of land known as a "Town Price of lot," the party receiving such grant shall pay at the rate of four Town lots. pounds per acre; and for every "Suburban lot," one pound per Suburban lots. acre; and for every grant for a lot known as a "Plantation lot," one shilling per acre: Provided always that in all grants made under this Ordinance such reservations for public roads, or footpaths, or other public purposes, shall be made as shall, by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Executive Council, be deemed proper and expedient. And if such reservation shall be Reservations made out of any land to which any valid claim of occupancy can for public be shown, the same shall be valued by appraisers (one to be purposes, appointed by the President on behalf of the Crown, and one to be appointed by the claimant), who may if necessary appoint an umpire, whose decision shall be final; and upon such valuation being paid to the party claiming such land, all title to the same shall forthwith vest in the Crown.

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Towns and


XII. That for the purposes of this Ordinance the Town at Definition of Grand Cay shall extend from "Frederick Street" northwardly to "James Street southwardly, and from East or Pond Street eastwardly to the sea westwardly. The town at Salt Cay shall extend from the "Bluff" or "North Street" northwardly to "Creek" or "South Street" southwardly, and from "Lightbourn Street," "Victoria Street," and "South-well Street" eastwardly. to the sea westwardly. And the suburbs of the said towns shall extend from the boundaries of the towns as given herein to the limits fixed by the Government Notice of the third day of Novem

No. 1. Ord. No. 8, 1855.

ber, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-three, under and by virtue of the Ordinance No. 10 of 1852, as follows :

Grand Turk.-The northern boundary shall be the north boundary line of a lot of land now in the possession of D. B. Bascome, going westwardly to the sea; the eastern boundary shall be the west boundary of the North Creek, including all the buildings west of the Great Salina; the southern boundary shall be the old road leading from the Great Salina to the sea; the western boundary shall be the sea from north to south, within the two boundaries from north to south.

Salt Cay. The boundaries of Balfour Town shall be limited north by "Bluff" or "North Road," south by "South Street," east in a line of " Mathew Road" from "Bluff Road," to "South Street," west by the sea-shore.

XIII. That the following sums shall be lawfully demanded by the Crown Surveyor before the issuing of any grant as aforesaid :

Surveyor's Fees.

Fees payable.

For every survey made of town lots or suburban, toge-
ther with a plat or diagram thereof

For every survey made of plantation lots, together
with a plat or diagram thereof, per acre

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And in every disputed case the fees to the several officers of the
Court to be the same as those allowed in the Schedule of Fees
annexed to Ordinance No. 9 of 1852, regulating the practice of the
Supreme Court.

XIV. That nothing in this Ordinance contained shall be construed to authorize the issuing a grant to any foreigner not duly naturalized.

XV. That whenever the word "President" shall occur in this Ordinance, the same shall be understood to mean the Officer administering the Government for the time being. That whenever the singular number or masculine gender is employed with reference to the parties claiming any land under this Ordinance, the same shall apply also to more persons than one, and to females as well as males.

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The Petition of showeth, that your petitioner claims a certain piece of land which at the time of the separation of these islands from the Bahama Government was in the occupation of situate at

in the (town, or suburbs, or plantation lots, as the case may be― state the description, number, boundaries of the lot, &c.) which said land is claimed by your petitioner (state the grounds of claim).


may be conveyed to

of the Ordinance No. 8 of 1855.

prays that the said piece of land in fee simple under and by virtue


The claimant is required by the Ordinance to set forth the ground of his claim in his petition: the party entering a caveat is to state his claim in such caveat: to such caveat the petitioner may reply if he thinks fit. If he in his reply introduces new matter, the adverse party may rejoin to such new matter. All which statements must be in writing, and be filed by the parties respectively in the Prothonotary's office, according to section 6; and a copy thereof delivered to the adverse party.

Either party must file his reply to the last preceding statement of the adverse party, and serve a copy thereof, as aforesaid, within seven days after such preceding statement shall have been served on him, and in default thereof, the opposite party may give notice of trial, according to section 6; after which no further statements can be received except by leave of the Court.

All such caveats, replies, and rejoinders shall be marked by the Prothonotary on being filed with a number corresponding to the number of the petition filed in such case: The facts to be proved in each case shall be limited to matters in support or disproof of the statements of such parties respectively, and no additional matter shall be allowed to be adduced in evidence on either side. Where the facts are referred to a jury, the verdict of such jury shall set forth such facts in the statements of the parties respectively which they consider proven, stating first those alleged on the behalf of the petitioner, and then those of the adverse party. Upon the facts so found the decision of the Court will be given.

The mode of proceeding to procure evidence will be the same as in civil suits in the said Court.

When any party gives notice of intention to bring any case before the Court, he must give ten days' notice to the adverse party before the day appointed for the meeting of the Court, and a similar notice of such intention to the Prothonotary.-Sec. 6.

A list of claims to be heard and decided at any sittings of the Court, together with the statements filed in such cases, must be made out by the Prothonotary and laid before the Judge at least seven days before the meeting of the Court.

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