(a) The High Court of American Samoa shall have power to issue all writs and other process, make rules and orders, and do all acts, not inconsistent with law or with the rules
made by the Chief Justice of American Samoa, as may be required for the due administration of justice, and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing powers, may grant bail, accept and forfeit security therefor, make orders for the attendance of witnesses with or without documents, make orders for the disposal of exhibits and punish for contempt of court.
(b) The trial and land and titles divisions of the High Court shall have the power to give declaratory relief.History: 1962; PL 7-36; 1969, PL 11-54; amd 1979, PL 16-28 § 12.
Amendments: 1979 Section designated subsection (a), and subsection (b) added.
Under this section, the Appellate Division of the High Court, being a tribunal superior to the Trial Division of the High Court, has the power to grant a writ or prohibition against the Trial Division. Vessel Fijian Swift v. Trial Division, 4 ASR 983 (1975).
As the Court of last resort, the Appellate Division of the High Court is responsible for securing order and regularity in judicial proceedings within its Territorial and statutory jurisdiction; thus, it may issue a writ of prohibition against the Trial Division of the High Court if to do so would be in aid of appellate jurisdiction of the Appellate Division. Vessel Fijian Swift v. Trial Division, 4 ASR 983 (1975).
There is no provision of the American Samoa Code which gives any Court in the Territory, or any division or department of any Court, either expressly or by implication, in rem admiralty and maritime jurisdiction; therefore, it would be inconsistent with law for the High Court to issue process for the arrest of a vessel and such action is not within the Court’s power under this section. Vessel Fijian Swift v. Trial Division, 4 ASR 983 (1975).