Supreme Court of Nauru
[1969-1982] NLR (B) 7
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF NAURU
Land Appeal No. 7 of 1969
30th April, 1969.
Estate of deceased Nauruan - personality - decision of Nauru Lands Committee as to beneficiaries - Supreme Court has no jurisdiction to hear appeal.
Appeal against a decision of the Nauru Lands Committee as to the persons beneficially entitled to the personality of the estate of a deceased Nauruan.
Held: (1) The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to hear appeals against decisions of the Nauru Lands Committee derives from statute, i.e. the Nauru Lands Committee Ordinance 1956-1963. That jurisdiction does not extend to appeals against decisions relating to personality.
(2) The Nauru Lands Committee has no statutory jurisdiction to decide who are the beneficiaries of the personality of the estate of a deceased Nauruan. It may well have jurisdiction by customary law to do so; but that is not in issue in the present proceedings.
Appeal struck out.
Agigia for the appellant
K.R. Adeang for the respondent
Thompson Ag. CJ:
This Court's jurisdiction, as successor to the Central Court, to hear appeals against the Nauru Lands Committee's determinations is the result of a specific provision in the Nauru Lands Committee Ordinance. The jurisdiction given is in respect of land determinations only. It is noteworthy that in 1956 it was considered necessary to validate by statute decisions of the Central Court in respect of appeals it had heard, from the Nauru Lands Committee before it had this statutory jurisdiction to do so. Unless a Court is given jurisdiction to entertain an appeal from a tribunal, it cannot lawfully do so.
The Nauru Lands Committee may well have jurisdiction to determine the distribution of the part of the estate of a deceased person which consists of personalty, that jurisdiction being derived from customary law. But it is quite clear that this Court has no jurisdiction to entertain appeals from the Nauru Lands Committee's determinations in respect of personalty. Accordingly, the appeal is struck out for want of jurisdiction.