Chapter 01 - General Provisions

Chapter 01 - General Provisions

3.0101 Vesting of judicial power.

The judicial power of American Samoa shall be vested in a High Court of American Samoa, a district court, and a village court in each village.

3.0102 Administration of judiciary.

The judicial branch of the government, which by the terms of the Constitution is independent of the executive and legislative branches, shall be under the administration and supervision of the Chief Justice of American Samoa.

3.0103 Jurisdiction of court.

(a) A court may exercise personal jurisdiction in civil cases over persons residing or found in American Samoa, or who have been duly summoned or voluntarily appear.

(b) Any person, firm or corporation, whether or not a citizen or resident of this Territory, who, in person or through an agent, takes any of the following actions, thereby submits, and if a corporation, submits its personal representative, to the jurisdiction of the courts of this Territory, as to any cause of action, suit or proceeding arising out of such action:

(1) the transaction of any business within this Territory;

(2) the commission of a tortious act within this Territory;

(3) the ownership, use, or possession of any real estate in this Territory;

(4) contracting to insure any person, property or risk within this Territory at the time of contracting.

(c) Criminal cases shall be prosecuted and tried only in a court having Territorial jurisdiction over the place where the crime was committed.

3.0104 Court proceedings to be public.

The proceedings of every court shall be public, except when otherwise ordered by the court for good cause.

3.0105 Disposition of fines and costs.

The Clerk of the High Court shall periodically transmit to the Treasurer of the Government all fines and costs collected in the High Court.

3.0106 Judicial council.

The High Court shall provide for the appointment of a Judicial Council which shall

serve in an advisory capacity only. The Judicial Council shall give continuing consideration to the administration of justice in the courts of the Territory. It shall make reports and recommendations biennially to the High Court. The Chief Justice shall be a member and chairperson of the Judicial Council. The High Court shall appoint, from time to time, other members as it considers necessary to be fairly representative, with a minimum number of 7, whose terms shall be in accordance with the rules of the High Court. The members of the Judicial Council shall include lay people as well as judges and lawyers. The members of the Judicial Council shall receive no compensation for their service, but they shall be reimbursed for their traveling and other expenses incidental to attending meetings.