AGY-1832 | Court of Claims

NSW State Archives Collection
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An "Act for appointing and empowering Commissioners to hear and determine upon Claims to Grants of Lands" (Act No.9, Will IV) received assent on 28 August, 1833. (1) The Act provided that three Commissioners be appointed for a period of two years. (2) The Commissioners were appointed on the 17 September 1833, (3) and were empowered to hear the claims of all persons holding or claiming to hold lands where grants had been promised and claiming to have grants delivered to them. (4)

The Court commenced hearing on 11 April 1834 and submitted reports on cases to the Governor through the Colonial Secretary. (5) Under the Act they were also required to record details of land claimed, memorials received, claims received in opposition, and the determination of the Court. These details were recorded in a Register, which was to be transferred upon the termination of their activities to the office of the Colonial Secretary. (6) The Act provided that nay claim or application for a land grant was to be made to the Commissioners in the form of a memorial, setting forth a description of the lands claimed and the circumstances relating to the claim. A list of the names and addresses of all witnesses to the claim, and supporting documents, and any other evidence certifying the memorialist claim to be granted the title to the land in question. (7) Where a claim appeared well founded three advertisements within a period of two months were published in the NSW Government Gazette notifying that the claims had been filed, and containing a description of the land to enable any person opposing the claim to present their case. (8)

At the conclusion of the term of the 1833 Act, it was apparent that the Act had been beneficial in settling disputes and it appeared necessary to continue the process of settling disputed claims with further legislation (9). An Act for appointing and empowering Commissioners to examine and report upon Claims to Grants of Land" (Act No.21, Will IV) was enacted on 2 June 1835. (10) The new legislation empowered the Commissioners to examine and report upon only those claims which had been referred to them by the Governor through the Colonial Secretary. (11) However the Act allowed the Governor to veto the recommendation of the Court's. (12)

An Act to remove certain difficulties affecting titles to land, 1858 (Act No.1, Vic 22) passed on 30 June, 1858. (13) The purpose of this legislation was to clarify the description of some Crown land grants and therefore eliminate the perpetuation of defective descriptions in subsequent conveyances of the land concerned. (14) Notices of any changes to be made under the Act were published in the Government Gazette. (15) The Commissioners of Claims were authorised by the Governor to inquire into claims of persons affected by the proposed new descriptions. (16) As before the Governor was not legally bound to implement the Commissioner' recommendation. (17)

In 1898 the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act, 1898 (Act No.17, 1898) repealed the 1835 Act although the provision for dealing with disputed claims to grants of land as set out under the 1835 Act were re-enacted. (18) The Conveyancing Act, 1919 (Act No.6, 1919) repealed various sections of the 1898 Act, but not those sections referring to settling disputed claims to land. (19) As the law stand the Court of Claims may still be convened. (20)

Footnotes and References:.
1. Will IV, Act No.9, 1833.
2. Ibid, section 16.
3. NSW government Gazette 17 September, 1933 p.380.
4. Concise Guide to the NSW State archives p.18.
5. Loc Cit.
6 Will IV, Act No.9, 1833, section 13.
7. Ibid, section 5.
8. Ibid, section 12.
9, Concise Guide, op cit, p.18.
10, Will IV, Act No.21, 1835.
11. Ibid, section 3.
12. Loc Cit.
13. Vic 22, Act No.1, 1858.
14. Ibid, section 4.
15. Ibid, section 6.
16. Ibid, section 9.
17 Loc cit.
18. Concise Guide, op cit, p.19.
19. Loc cit.
20. Loc cit.

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