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Copyright 2002: Queens Printer,
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

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Revised Statutes of Newfoundland 1990




1. Short title

2. Reversion to Crown

3. Particulars in application

4. Direction of judge

5. No appearance

6. Claimant appears

7. Further direction of court or judge

8. Security for costs

9. Withdrawal of application

10. Rules of Court

11. Minors and persons not actually in existence

12. Order as to part of land

13. Judgement or order obtained by fraud, etc.

14. Reinvestigation

15. Appeal

16. Register of judgments and orders

17. Persons under disability

18. Objection

19. Effect of death, etc.

20. Proceedings not void

21. Practice and procedure

22. Saving of general law

Short title

1. This Act may be cited as the Abandoned Lands Act.

RSN1970 c1 s1

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Reversion to Crown

2. Where

(a) land granted in fee simple or leased or licensed to a person under the Crown Lands Act or other Acts relating to Crown lands or to agriculture has been unused and unoccupied by the original grantee, lessee or licensee, or by a person lawfully claiming under him or her for 40 years; and

(b) a person lawfully entitled to the land or an interest in the land, whether claiming under the original grantee, lessee or licensee or otherwise, cannot be found in the province,

the Trial Division on the application of the Attorney General by an order in an uncontested case or by a judgment in a contested case may declare that the land reverts to the Crown.

RSNl970 c1 s2; 1986 c42 Sch A

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Particulars in application

3. An application shall be supported by the following particulars, which shall be filed and provided before the application is heard:

(a) a copy of the grant, lease or licence of the land and all available information in the possession of the Crown in relation to the grant, lease or licence;

(b) an abstract of title or certificate of search certified by the Registrar of Deeds showing the transmission of the property since the date of grant;

(c) a statement of a will of the original grantee, lessee or licensee, or of the latest discoverable person to whom the land has passed, filed in the Registry of the Supreme Court, which may affect the title to the property, together with a copy of the will;

(d) a statement that the Registry of Crown Lands has been searched for records as to the issue of the original grantee, lessee or licensee, with the result of the search;

(e) a precise description of the land certified by a licensed surveyor;

(f) a statement from a person who has viewed the land stating its present condition and evidence of past cultivation or improvement and showing that inquiry has been made from neighbouring proprietors and from old persons in the neighbourhood who have memory as to when, if at all, the land was last occupied or used, together with copies of statements taken from them;

(g) a statement of all other facts known to the Crown in relation to the land, whether indicating that the land has long been abandoned and unused, or otherwise;

(h) a statement as to whether a person is in possession of the land or a part of it and by what right or title he or she claims to hold; and

(i) a declaration by the Attorney General that so far as he or she can discover, the owner is unknown or cannot be found.

RSN1970 c1 s4

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Direction of judge

4. After the presentation of the petition and the filing of particulars application shall be made to a judge in chambers, who shall examine the papers and give directions as to

(a) further information which in his or her opinion ought to be sought and brought forward;

(b) measures that in his or her opinion ought to be taken, whether by advertisement or otherwise, to discover lawful claimants to the land, including times, places and methods of advertisements;

(c) the time, not exceeding 1 year, during which further proceedings shall be stayed pending further investigation; and

(d) a person upon whom, in the opinion of the judge, a copy of the particulars and petition should be served.

RSN1970 c1 s5

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No appearance

5. (1) Upon the expiration of the time fixed by the judge, the Attorney General shall file an affidavit showing what has been done in pursuance of the judge's directions and the results, and may apply for an order that the land revert to the Crown.

(2) If no person has appeared to claim the land the judge may make an order that the land revert to the Crown and the order shall be registered in the Registry of Deeds and recorded in the books of record in the Department of Environment and Lands in which the original grant, lease or licence is recorded and shall have effect accordingly.

(3) The judge may in his or her discretion move the application into court and the court shall have the power to make an order.

RSN1970 c1 s6; 1973 No37 Sch; 1979 c49 Sch A; 1988 c43 Sch A

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Claimant appears

6. (1) It shall be a part of a notice, advertisement or other method prescribed by the judge for seeking claimants that a person claiming to be entitled to the lands may, within the time stated in the notice or advertisement, file an appearance and defence.

(2) Where an appearance and defence is filed, the issue shall be moved into court and upon proof that the party defending is lawfully entitled to the land the petition may be dismissed with the order as to costs against the Crown or against the defendant that the court considers appropriate.

RSN1970 c1 s7

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Further direction of court or judge

7. The court or judge may at any stage of the proceedings give directions as to further proof to be brought forward either by the Crown or by the defendant and may, whether the defendant appears or not, direct that witnesses be brought before the court and examined upon oath or affirmation.

RSN1970 c1 s8

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Security for costs

8. The judge may at any stage of the proceedings order security for costs to be given by a defendant.

RSN1970 c1 s9

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Withdrawal of application

9. The Attorney General may by leave of the judge withdraw his or her application at any time before final adjudication, subject to conditions as to the payment of costs which the judge considers appropriate.

RSN1970 c1 s10

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Rules of Court

10. All rules of the court applicable to the proceedings shall apply, including a power in the court to refer a matter to an officer of the court for investigation.

RSN1970 c1 s11

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Minors and persons not actually in existence

11. (1) When it appears that a minor or person not actually in existence may be interested in opposing a claim of the petitioners, the judge may appoint a guardian for the action to represent the minor or person not actually in existence; and the minor or person not actually in existence shall be found by the adjudication.

(2) The judge may order that the costs of the guardian for the action be paid by the Crown.

RSN1970 c1 s12

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Order as to part of land

12. The court may make an order dealing with all lands referred to in the application or separate orders dealing with parts of them.

RSN1970 c1 s13

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Judgement or order obtained by fraud, etc.

13. If, in the course of a proceeding, a person acting either as principal or agent knowingly, and with intent to deceive, makes or asserts or joins in, or is privy to the making of a material false statement or representation, or suppresses, withholds or conceals, or assists or joins in or is privy to the suppression, withholding or concealing from the court of a material document, fact or matter of information, a judgment or order obtained by means of that fraud or falsehood is void except as against a purchaser for valuable consideration without notice.

RSN1970 c1 s14

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14. (1) After a judgment is given or an order made, a person claiming to be aggrieved by it may, on application, and after satisfactory accounting for the delay, by leave of the court, have his or her title or claim reinvestigated on the terms as to costs and otherwise that may be considered just.

(2) A certificate of the presentation of the application shall be registered in the Registry of Deeds.

(3) A proceeding on an application referred to in subsection (1) shall not affect the title of a person who, after the date of the certificate or conveyance under this Act and before the registration of the certificate of the presentation of the application, has, without notice, acquired by grant, lease or licence from the Crown for valuable consideration an estate or interest in the land described in the order.

(4) The court may make the order on the application that may be considered just.

RSN1970 c1 s15

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15. An appeal lies from an order or decision of a judge under this Act to the Court of Appeal in the same manner and subject to the same restrictions as in the case of an appeal from a judgment or order of a judge in any proceeding.

1986 c42 Sch B

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Register of judgments and orders

16. A separate book shall be kept in the Registry of Deeds for the registration of orders and judgments under this Act, and the orders and judgments registered in that book shall be numbered in order, and an index to the book shall be kept in the form that the court directs.

RSN1970 c1 s17

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Persons under disability

17. (1) Where a person who, if not under disability, might have made an application, given a consent, or done an act, or been party to a proceeding under this Act, is a minor or mentally handicapped person, the guardian of the minor, or guardian of the estate of the mentally handicapped person, may make the application, give the consent, do the act and be party to the proceedings as the person might if free from disability, and shall otherwise represent the person for the purpose of this Act.

(2) If the minor has no guardian or the mentally handicapped person no guardian of his or her estate, the court may appoint a person with power to act for the minor or mentally handicapped person.

RSN1970 c1 s18

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18. An objection to an application shall not be allowed upon the ground that the petitioner should first have brought an action and where it appears, upon the determination of the investigation, that the Crown is entitled to the possession of the land, the Attorney General may obtain an order against other parties to the proceeding for the delivery of possession of the land.

RSN1970 c1 s19

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Effect of death, etc.

19. Proceedings shall not be ended or suspended by a death or transmission or change of interest, but in such an event, the court may require notices to be given to persons becoming interested, or may make an order for discontinuing or suspending, or carrying on the proceedings, or otherwise in relation to the proceedings that seems just.

RSN1970 c1 s20

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Proceedings not void

20. An application, order, affidavit, certificate, registration or other proceeding shall not be invalid because of an informality or technical irregularity in it, or of a mistake not affecting the substantial justice of the proceeding.

RSN1970 c1 s21

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Practice and procedure

21. Subject to the Rules of Court, unless otherwise provided, the practice and procedure under the Judicature Act and Rules made under that Act shall apply to proceedings under this Act.

RSN1970 c1 s22; 1986 c42 Sch B

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Saving of general law

22. Nothing in this Act prevents the application of the general law relating to the escheat of lands to the Crown, or to the use of another form of proceedings available by law for obtaining the cancellation or forfeiture of Crown grants, leases or licences.

RSN1970 c1 s23

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