Proposed L.T.C. Court of Appeal can review old cases

A proposed Land and Titles Court of Appeal could soon be able to review Court decisions that date back to 1800 if changes in the Constitution Amendment Bill 2020 become law. 

The proposed change is one of several Constitutional amendments for the Land and Titles Court (L.T.C.) where the President of L.T.C. may certify special leave to hear the Appeal. 

According to the proposed changes, the L.T.C. President is also the Head of the Land and Titles Court Bench and must be a Samoan legal practitioner who practiced in Samoa for not less than 15 years.   

Questions regarding the proposed L.T.C. Court of Appeal reviewing decisions that dates back to 10 years was raised by Member of Parliament for Salega East, Olo Fiti Vaai, during March’s Parliament sitting. 

Olo had queried whether the new Court of Appeal for L.T.C. can review decisions of matters which have already been decided more than 10 years ago. 

In response, the Minister of Justice and Courts Administration, Fa’aolesa Katopau Ainu’u, said the bills gives the President of the L.T.C. and other Judges the opportunity to review cases that have already been decided upon whether it is worth reconsidering.  

But Olo voiced his concerns in regards to the amount of time and conflict which may possibly be brought about if such matters are revisited. 

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi interjected in Parliament.

Tuilaepa told parliament in March that the new L.T.C. Court of Appeal can review any decision even those being delivered in 1800 but the approval is subject to the case being reviewed, if it’s worth revisiting. 

He added that a matter can only be appealed once an application for Appeal is granted.  

Tuilaepa then pointed out that at the moment people have to wait up to 20 to 50 years to have their matters decided on in the judicial review. 

He said the new proposed Court will speed up the process of hearings for Court cases in the Land and Titles Court without having to be told to wait for 30 years.  

The L.T.C. Court of Final Appeal and Review is established under Article 104C and has jurisdiction to hear appeals from the L.T.C. Court of First Instance and L.T.C. the High Court. 

The Court of Appeal will have jurisdiction to grant the remedy sought as well as prerogative writs or an injunction. 

Other proposed changes in the Constitution amendment Bill is the establishment of a new post of a Deputy President. 

The requirement for the Deputy President is it must be a Samoan legal practitioner who has practiced for not less than 13 years. 

No criteria is included in the appointment of the L.T.C. Judges to be made by a newly formed L.T.C. Judiciary Service Commission.   

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