37.1503 Execution of agreement.

Cite as [A.S.C.A. § 37.1503]

(a) If the person seeking to separate a structure from communal lands is not the matai in charge of the communal lands upon which the structure is or is proposed to be erected, the agreement shall be executed on behalf of the owners of the land by the matai of the family.

(b) If the person seeking to separate a structure from the communal lands is the matai of the family owning the communal lands upon which the structure is or is proposed to be erected, the agreement shall be executed on behalf of the family members owning and residing on the communal lands who are over the age of 18 years.

(c) If the person seeking to separate a structure from individually owned lands or free-hold lands is the owner of the lands upon which the structure is or is proposed to be erected, the agreement shall be executed by such owner.

History: 1962, PL 7-23.

Case Notes:

Judgment that disputed tract was “communal land” of a family that was not a traditional Samoan family with a matai left open the question how family was to exercise rights of ownership under land statutes presuming the existence of a senior matai, since family was prohibited by statute from creating a new matai title. A.S.C.A. §§ 1.0401, 37.1502-03. Willis v. Willis, 4 A.S.R.2d 144 (1987).

Land held to belong to family members as tenants in common is “communal” insofar as each member held an undivided interest in the land by virtue of joint occupation and cultivation, but was not Samoan communal property for purpose of statutes requiring action to be taken by a matai. A.S.C.A. § 37.1502-03. Willis v. Willis, 4 A.S.R.2d 144 (1987).

Matai’s signature is required on separation agreements by family members to build homes on communal land. A.S.C.A. § 37.1503(a). Utu v. Fuata, 17 A.S.R.2d 104 (1990).