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Registry of Crown Lands
The passing of King William's Act of 1699, England, while allowing rentention of properties held since March of 1685, severely limited any form of resident land ownership in Newfoundland, giving instead preference for its use to those engaged in the prosecution of the English migratory cod fishery. However, as time went by, these restrictions were eased and some grants, were given under authority of the Governor, either approved by him or by his appointed Naval Surrogates. It was stipulated that these grants did not give outright ownership of the properties, but grantees were allowed possession of the properies provided they were to be used for the improvement of either the migratory or resident fisheries. However, in 1824 the British Parliament passed legislation which also allowed the Governor to grant or lease vacant land for diverse purposes, whether fishery related or not. At that time, the British government enacted the Judicature Act which created the first land registration system in Newfoundland. It was based on a District Court model and three juristictions were established, viz; the Northern District Court in Harbour Grace, the Southern District Court in Ferryland and the Central District Court in St. John's. All grants of land and other such transactions were required to be registered in a District Court within six months after a petition was approved. However, this time limit for compulsory registration was subsequently removed by the legislature because poor transportation and communications systems often prevented the public from meeting the deadline. With this requirement waived, many individuals continued to claim and occupy land by "squatter's rights" only.
INDEXES OF MISSING VOLUMES LOST IN THE GREAT ST. JOHN'S FIRE OF 1892
Persons holding old Crown grants registered in any of the volumes above are encouraged to contact the nearest Regional Lands Office so arrangements can be made to re-register the missing grant.
Page Last Modified: February 09, 2017 (Kevin Reddigan)
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