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CHARLES CAMERON LEES, C.M.G., Lieutenant-Governor.
AN ORDINANCE regulating the acquisition and vesting of Lands Title.
WHEREAS it is expedient that provision should be made Preamble. for regulating the acquisition of lands required for the service of the Gold Coast Colony and the method of holding such lands;
Be it enacted by the Governor of the Gold Coast Colony, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Council thereof, as follows:
1. This Ordinance may be cited as "The Public Lands Short title. Ordinance, 1876."
2. This Ordinance shall extend to the whole of the Gold Application of Coast Colony and Protected Territories and Protectorate of Lagos.
3. Subject to the provisions of this Ordinance, it shall be Lands lawful for the Colonial Secretary to agree with the owners of any lands required for the service of the Gold Coast Colony may and with all parties having any estate or interest in such lands purchased or for the absolute purchase for a consideration in money of such be vested in lands or such parts thereof as he shall think proper, and of all Secretary in estates and interests in such lands of what kind soever, and trust or Her Majesty. also to take and acquire any lands required for such service, paying such reasonable compensation therefor as may be due to the owners thereof, or parties having interest therein, and all lands so purchased or taken shall be conveyed or surrendered to and become vested in and held by the Colonial Secretary for the time being in trust for Her Majesty. Upon the death, resignation or removal of any Colonial Secretary, all such lands shall become vested in and held by the succeeding Colonial Secretary in trust as aforesaid.
4. It shall be lawful for all parties being seized, possessed Parties of, or entitled to any such lands or any estate or interest enabled to therein, to sell and grant and convey such lands or estate or convey lands interest to the Colonial Secretary, and the power so to sell and although convey may be exercised by such parties not only on behalf of disability. themselves and their respective heirs, executors, administrators and successors, but also for and on behalf of every person
Notices to be given when Lands required for public purposes.
Service and publication of notices.
entitled in reversion, remainder or expectancy after them or in defeasance of the estates of such parties, and by persons seized or possessed of such lands upon any species of trust to the use of persons under disability or otherwise for and on behalf of their cestuique trusts to the same extent as such cestuique trusts respectively could have done if they had been under no disability. In case such parties shall deliver a valid written title to such land to the satisfaction of the Colonial Secretary, then upon execution of a conveyance thereof, the purchase money agreed upon as the price of the said lands shall be paid, but in case such title be not produced, the payment of the price shall be postponed for one year, and in the event of any party appearing and claiming right thereto, the disposal of the price shall be subject to the like conditions as in cases of disputed compensation.
5. When the Colonial Secretary shall require to purchase or to take any lands which by this Ordinance he is authorized to purchase or take, he shall give notice to the persons entitled to sell or interested in such lands, or such of them as shall after diligent enquiry be known (which notice may be in the form A in the Schedule to this Ordinance, or to the like effect). The notice shall require such parties to state the particulars and evidence of their estate and interest in such lands, and of the claims made by them in respect thereof, and shall express that the Colonial Secretary is willing to treat for the purchase of such land.
6. Every such notice as aforesaid shall be served personally on the person or persons entitled to sell or interested in any such lands, or if he or they cannot be found, shall be left at his or their last usual place or places of abode or business with some inmate thereof, to be given to such person or persons, and in case no such party can be ascertained or found, shall be left with the occupier of such lands, or if there be no such occupier, shall be affixed on some conspicuous part of such lands, and in such last case, shall also be affixed to the door of the Court house of the District wherein such lands are situated, and every such notice shall be inserted once at least in the Gazette.
7. If for twenty-one days after the service and publication as aforesaid of such notice, no claim shall be lodged with the compensation Colonial Secretary, in respect of such lands, or if the party
Arrangement of cases of disputed
who may have lodged any claim, and the Colonial Secretary shall not agree as to the amount of the compensation to be paid for the interest in such lands or of the buildings thereon
belonging to such party, or if such party has not given satistory evidence of his alleged interest, or if separate and conflicting claims are made in respect of the same lands, the amount of compensation due, if any, and every such case of disputed interest or title, shall be settled in accordance with the following provisions :
(1.) Any of Her Majesty's Courts having jurisdiction to determine as to the ownership of such lands, shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine in all such cases as aforesaid.
(2.) Notice in writing shall be served upon every person who may have claimed any interest in respect of such lands not less than seven nor more than fourteen days before the time appointed for hearing and determining such claims calling upon such persons to come in and prove their claims to the lands or the interest therein to which they may consider themselves entitled and the value thereof: where the owner of any lands cannot be found, such notice shall be served upon his agent or representative, and if neither the owner nor any agent or representative can be found, the notice shall be affixed to a conspicuous part of the lands and to the door of the Court house of the District.
(3.) When the owner cr any person claiming to be owner or to represent the owner of such lands, or to possess or represent the possessor of any interest therein, shall not appear at the time appointed for the hearing, a decision may be given ex parte upon hearing the evidence adduced on the part of the Colonial Secretary, and such decision shall be as effectual as if given after hearing and in the presence of all parties.
(4.) The evidence as to ownership of lands may be such as in proceedings before the Assessor to the native chiefs would be admissible and relevant evidence as to such ownership.
(5.) The written report of the Colonial Surveyor or any Assistant Colonial Surveyor as to the value of such lands or of any buildings thereon shall be evidence thereof, but shall not exclude any other evidence of such value. Such report may be proved by a copy thereof under the hand of the Colonial Surveyor or Assistant Colonial Surveyor, but either of them may be called to give evidence by any party having
may appear and claim.
interest. Proof of the signature of such copy shall
(6.) Compensation shall not be awarded to any party in
Postponement 8. The decision of the Court respecting compensation, or, of payment of in case of disputed interest or title as aforesaid, or of the price: parties not notified Appeal Court where appeal has been taken, shall be final and conclusive as respects all persons upon whom notices as aforesaid have been served, or who have appeared and claimed, or on whose behalf any person having authority to that effect has claimed any lands or any interest therein, but it shall be lawful for persons upon whom notices have not been served and who have not appeared or claimed, or on whose behalf no claim has been made as aforesaid, to do so at any time within one year after the date of the final decision, and in all cases where any compensation has been awarded (except where a valid written title to the land shall be delivered), payment thereof shall be postponed until the said period of one year shall have elapsed from the date of the judgment or judgment on appeal, upon which it may be paid over to the person who shall then appear by the judgment of the Court to have the best right thereto, and such payment shall, as concerns the Colonial Secretary, operate as a complete discharge and acquittance of such compensation and of all claims in respect of such lands or any interest therein, but shall not hinder any subsequent proceedings at the instance of any person having or alleging better right
thereto as against the person to whom such payment may have been made.
9. Conveyances of lands purchased under this Ordinance Form of may be in the Form B of the Schedule, or as near thereto as may be, or by deed in any other form which the Colonial Secretary may think fit, and every conveyance made according to the form in the Schedule, or as near thereto as may be, shall be effectual to vest the lands thereby conveyed in the Colonial Secretary, and shall operate to bar and to destroy all other estates, rights, titles, remainders, reversions, limitations, trusts and interests whatsoever of and in the lands comprised in such conveyance.
title: its effects.
10. The Colonial Secretary shall at any time, on produc- Certificate of tion in the Supreme Court of a conveyance to any lands, or at any time after the expiration of twenty-one days from the date of the service and publication of the notice mentioned in the fifth and sixth sections of this Ordinance, upon proof of such service and publication, be entitled to receive a certificate of title to the lands described in the said conveyance or notice, which certificate may be in the Form C of the Schedule to this Ordinance, and shall have the following effects and qualities:
(1.) The certificate shall not be questioned or defeasible by reason of any irregularity or error or defect in the notice or the want of notice, or of any other irregularity, error or defect in the proceedings previous to the obtaining of such certificate.
(2.) It shall confer on the Colonial Secretary to whom such certificate shall be given, and on every succeeding Colonial Secretary for the time being in trust for Her Majesty, an absolute and indefeasible right to the lands comprised or referred to therein against all persons, and free from all adverse or competing rights, titles, interests, trusts, claims and demands whatsoever.
(3.) If possession of such lands is withheld by any person