KSC, TITLE 11.  LAND & ENVIRONMENT
 
 
Chapter 6.  Determination and
Registration of Interests in Land
(repealed effective October 1, 2001 by State Law 7-126)

Note
This Chapter left in for reference purposes only.  See also, new Chapter 6 which immediately precedes this Chapter.

      Section 11.601.  Registration teams.
     To the extent funding permits, the Commission nominates, and following Legislature consent, appoints one registration team for each municipality of five members, each of whom serves a term of two years.  A team member appointed pursuant to law holds office until appointment of a successor.  A member is a citizen who is at least twenty-five years of age and has resided for at least ten years preceding nomination in the municipality for which the team to which he is assigned is responsible, except that the Commission may assign a non-resident team member to a team whenever there is vacancy in the team or for other reasons the team does not have full membership.  A majority of the members of a team constitutes a quorum for the purpose of conducting hearings, making decisions or transacting other team business.  A team has a chairman appointed by the Commission.  The Commission supervises a team's performance but does not interfere in its adjudicating process.

Background
Amended by State Law 5-14.

      Section 11.602.  Independence of judgment; disqualification; pro tempore appointment.

     (1)  A Commissioner and member of a registration team exercise the independence of judgment of a judge.

     (2)  After a team has recorded a parcel for adjudication a member or Commissioner who has an interest in the claim, or is a near relative of a person having an interest, disqualifies himself from taking part in hearings or other consideration regarding the parcel.  If there is an issue regarding disqualification, the Commission resolves the issue.  By regulation the Commission defines terms and establishes procedures for disqualification.

     (3)  The Commission makes a pro tempore appointment from among team members to fill a temporary vacancy in the Commission or a team resulting from disqualification or other cause.  Pro tempore appointment of a non-team member for a period not exceeding sixty days may occur if no team member is available.  By regulation the Commission provides a procedure for pro tempore appointment, assuring that appointment is by random, blind designation.

Case Law
Heirs of Mongkeya v. Heirs of Mackwelung 3 FSM Intrm 92 (1987).
(No decision maker may be a near relative).

Other Law
Land Commission Regulations, Regulation 24-88, 10/10/88.
Part 2.2 Procedure for disqualification
Part 2.3 Pro tempore Appointment

      Section 11.603.  Designation of registration area.
     The Commission systematically designates registration areas for treatment within a year.  The team in whose municipality an area lies is responsible for the area.  When action in an area is complete except for disputed cases, or cannot be completed within a year, the Commission in the public interest may designate other areas until the Commission has treated all land in the State which the Commission determines to be suitable for registration.

      Section 11.604.  Filing of designation; Court preemption.
     The Commission files a designation of a registration area with the Court.  The Court entertains no action which concerns an interest in land within a registration area without first determining that special cause exists for an action to proceed before the Commission has disposed of the matter.  If the Court entertains the action, it notifies the Commission promptly, accurately describing the land involved.

      Section 11.605.  Boundaries.
     Upon designation of a registration area, a qualified person designated by the Commission makes an accurate survey of the exterior bounds of the area and of claimed parcels within the area, placing markers at the Commission. s direction. Following a title determination the Commission provides that the boundaries of determined parcels are clear by either permanent markers or by readily recognizable natural features.

Cross-reference:
For offense see Section 13.618.

      Section 11.606.  Duties of registration team.
     A registration team has the power and duty to:

     (1)  institute a preliminary inquiry regarding a claim of interest within the area for which it is responsible and record each well-founded claim for hearing;

     (2)  if the recording of claims is complete for an area, proceed following notice to claimant to hear the claimants and witnesses and adjudicate claims, subject to review by the Commission;

     (3)  upon reaching a decision, or witnessing a settlement by all claimants to the parcel, regarding a parcel, record:

          (a)  the place name of the parcel or its brief description;

          (b)  the name of a person found to have a lawful Interest therein; and

          (c)  the nature of an interest;

     (4)  upon completion of inquiry, adjudication and recording of interests submit its record to the Commission for review, including the substance of all relevant testimony, if a dispute exists.
 
Note
This Chapter left in for reference purposes only.  See also, new Chapter 6 which immediately precedes this Chapter.

      Section 11.607.  Procedure for disputed parcel.

     (1)  A registration team attempts to adjudicate claims to as many parcels within an area as is practicable within a year after designation, avoiding involvement in a dispute which would seriously interfere with the year's scheduling.  If a team finds that consideration of a disputed claim would seriously interfere with the year's scheduling, it may refer the claim to the Commission without adjudication.

     (2)  If the Commission finds that a team is giving excessive time to a disputed parcel, it may withdraw the claim from the team.

     (3)  If a team relinquishes a recorded parcel to the Commission before adjudication, it submits its record concerning the claim including the substance of all relevant testimony taken by the team.  The Commission proceeds to hear the claimants and witnesses and make a determination on evidence received by the team and the Commission.  The Commission may refer the claim to the Court for adjudication without determination.

     (4)  If the Commission refers a matter to the Court without determination, the Court, after the time for appeal from its decision has expired without the filing of a notice of appeal or after conclusion of an appeal, certifies the judicial result to the Commission.  The Commission issues a certificate of title in the same manner as following a Commission determination.

     (5)  The Commission and a registration team do not redetermine a matter already adjudicated by a court between the same parties or those under whom the parties claim.  The Commission and a registration team accept prior judgments and orders of a court as binding on a party, to the extent the judgment or order applies, without receiving  evidence.

      Section 11.608.  Commission review of adjudication.
     Upon receipt of a registration team adjudication and the accompanying record the Commission reviews the record and:

     (1)  affirms the adjudication, making a determination of ownership;

     (2)  returns the record to the team with instructions for further hearing or other action; or

     (3)  holds hearings and makes a determination of ownership based on the record and the further evidence received by the Commission.

      Section 11.609.  Notice of hearing.

     (1)  Before a registration team conducts a hearing concerning a parcel it gives notice containing a description of the parcel and the time and place of hearing at least thirty days before the hearing by:

     (a)  posting notice on the parcel in both the Kosraean and English languages;

     (b)  posting notice at the municipal office of the municipality in which the parcel lies;

     (c)  serving notice without charge upon all parties shown by the preliminary inquiry to have an interest in the parcel by:

(1)  personal service by the Commission or in the manner prescribed for service of a civil summons by the Court. s rules of civil [procedure], if a claimant is residing in the State, or

(2)  registered air mail, postage prepaid, to the party. s last known address, if a claimant is residing outside the State.

     (2)  During the period between completion of notice and hearing, a person claiming an interest in the parcel may file a written claim with the Commission before the hearing or an oral claim at the hearing.

      Section 11.610.  Powers of Commission and registration team.
      The Commission and a registration team have the power and duty to:

     (1)  administer oaths to witnesses;

     (2)  take testimony under oath;

     (3)  subpoena witnesses;

     (4)  order the production of papers and documents; and

     (5)  punish for contempt committed in its presence.

      Section 11.611.  Hearing.
      In a hearing the Commission and a registration team adhere to those parts of the Court's rules of civil procedure and evidence which the Commission by regulation designates and other procedural and evidentiary rules which the Commission provides by regulation.  The Commission and a registration team consider any evidence which it determine may aid in reaching a just decision, if regulations provide.  A hearing is public and a person claiming an interest in the parcel has the opportunity to present his claim.  A hearing occurs in the municipality in which the parcel at issue lies.  A party, including a representative appointed pursuant to Section 11.612 or by a court or other lawful authority, may have the assistance of counsel.

Case Law
Likiaksa v. Lonno,  3 FSM Intrm. 465 (1988).
(Power of the Commission to  disregard claim based on Japanese survey)

Other Law
Land Commission Regulations, Regulation 24-88, 10/10/88.
(Part 3 Hearings)

      Section 11.612.  Minor; incompetent.
      If the Commission or a registration team finds that a party in interest is a minor or incompetent, the Commission or team appoints a person to act as guardian and represent the minor or incompetent unless he is already represented by a person appointed by a court or other lawful authority.  A guardian appointed by a Commission or team has full authority and power to act for the minor or incompetent in matters in connection with the parcel, but may not encumber or alienate land under his guardianship except pursuant to court order.

      Section 11.613.  Notice of determination of ownership.
     The Commission gives notice of a determination of ownership promptly in the manner prescribed in Section 11.609(1).

Case Law
Benjamin v. State of Kosrae  3 FSM Intrm. 508 (1988); Palik v. State of Kosrae  5 FSM Intrm. 147 (1991).
(Effect of determination of ownership)

      Section 11.614.  Appeal from determination of Commission.
      A determination of ownership by the Commission is subject to appeal to the Court within one hundred twenty days from the date of receipt of notice of the determination.  The Court hears an appeal on the record unless it finds that good cause exists for a trial of the matter.

Case Law
Heirs of Mongkeya v. Heirs of Mackwelung (II) 3 FSM Intrm 395 (1987).
(Standard of Review for Land Commission Decisions)

      Section 11.615.  Concurrence of majority.
      The concurrence of at least two Commissioners is necessary for Commission action.  The concurrence of at least three members of a registration team is necessary for team action.

      Section 11.616.  Issuance of certificate of title.

     (1)  After the period for appeal from a determination of ownership has elapsed without the filing of a notice of appeal, or after an appeal has concluded, the Commission issues a certificate of title setting forth the names of each person holding an interest in the parcel pursuant to the determination, either as originally made or modified by judicial action.  A certificate of title is conclusive upon a person who had notice of the proceedings and a person claiming under him and is prima facie evidence of ownership, except that a determined interest is subject to the following, whether or not stated in the certificate:

               (a)  a right of way over the parcel; and

               (b)  a lease or use interest not exceeding one year.

     (2)  A preexisting easement or other right appurtenant to a parcel remains appurtenant even if not described in the certificate, and passes with the parcel until cut off or extinguished in a lawful manner independently of the certificate.

Case Law
Benjamin v. State of Kosrae  3 FSM Intrm. 508 (1988); Palik v. State of Kosrae  5 FSM Intrm. 147 (1991).
(Effect of certificate of title)

      Section 11.617.  Registry of titles.

     (1)  The Commission retains the original certificate of title in a permanent register.  The Commission issues a duplicate certificate to the owner or his authorized representative.

     (2)  The Commission notes a transfer or encumbrance of an interest, other than one excepted by Section 11.616, on the original certificate of title.  A notation has the force and effect of recordation.

     (3)  An owner of a registered parcel submits his duplicate certificate for endorsement or cancellation by the Commission upon the voluntary or involuntary transfer of an interest in the parcel.

     (4)  Upon loss or destruction of the owner's duplicate certificate, the owner may petition the Commission under oath to issue a replacement certificate.  The Commission, after notice and hearing as it may determine, may issue a replacement certificate bearing notation of its replacement nature.

     (5)  Before noting a transfer of interest in the parcel on a certificate of title the Commission determines that the document of transfer is in proper form, including a correct description of the parcel.

     (6)  If a transfer of a certificate holder's entire interest occurs, the Commission cancels the certificate and issues a new certificate of title to the transferee.

     (7)  If a transfer of a portion of the parcel has occurred, the Commission may require that the certificate holder have the transferred portion surveyed by the Commission at his expense.  The Commission issues a certificate of title for each part of the parcel covered by the original certificate.

     (8)  If an owner of an interest in a registered parcel dies, devising the interest by will, the devisee may submit the testator's duplicate certificate to the Commission which cancels the testator's duplicate certificate and the original certificate of title and issues a certificate to the devisee.

     (9)  If an owner of an interest in a registered parcel dies without devising the interest by will, a person claiming the interest may submit the duplicate certificate to the Commission which cancels the intestate. s duplicate certificate and the original certificate of title and issues to the heir.

     (10)  If a deceased's parcel requires division, the Commission may require that, before issuance of new certificates of title, the devisee or heir have the parcel surveyed and a map prepared to the Commission's satisfaction, showing the area devised or inherited.  The Commission then issues certificates for each part of the parcel.

     (11)  The Commission makes a determination of the lawful devisee or heir and respective interests in accordance with the following:

     (a)  Upon the death of an owner of a registered parcel, the Commission conducts a hearing at which it receives evidence to determine inheritance of the parcel.  The Commission conducts a hearing within sixty days of a request by a person claiming to be an heir or devisee.

     (b)  The Commission makes a finding regarding inheritance and their respective interests within thirty days of conclusion of a hearing.

     (c)  A party may appeal to the Court a determination made pursuant to this section in the manner provided in Section 11.614.

      Section 11.618.  Regulations.
      By regulation the Land Commission provides for recordation of the transfer and encumbrance of an [interest] in land.

      Section 11.619.  Effect of failure to record.
      A transfer of, or encumbrance upon an interest in real property, except a lease for a term not exceeding one year, is subordinate to a subsequent purchase, lease for more than one year or encumbrance, including by deed of trust, of the interest, if the purchaser, lessee, or person holding the encumbrance, acting in good faith for valuable consideration without notice of the prior transfer or encumbrance, first duly records the transfer or encumbrance.  A transfer of, or encumbrance upon, an interest in real property, except a lease for a term not exceeding one year, is valid as to a judgment affecting the title, if recordation of the transfer or encumbrance occurred before the commencement of the action in which the Court subsequently renders judgment.

Background
Amended by State Law 5-76.

Note
This Chapter left in for reference purposes only.  See also, new Chapter 6 which immediately precedes this Chapter.
 
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