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Understanding court process around succession, occupation right, and lease applications

Thursday 9 February 2023 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Court, National

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Understanding court process around succession, occupation right, and lease applications
Cook Islands Ministry of Justice. Photo: Supplied/ 21051809

The Ministry of Justice is releasing three brochures relating to the Land Division of the High Court that will assist the Cook Islands community in understanding the court process around succession, occupation right, and lease applications.

Along with these brochures, the Ministry is also releasing samples of the three types of maps needed as part of the occupation right and lease process.

Secretary of Justice Tamatoa Jonassen in a statement said: “These brochures are part of our ongoing commitment to improve our services and help our community.”

Registrar of the High Court, Kopu Matua-Atuatika said: “We hope these brochures will greatly help the public understand the current processes of the land court. We anticipate having some public awareness workshops on this in the future.”

These brochures follow the recent changes in the High Court Fees that came into effect earlier this month. Notable among those changes were the reduction in Succession Application fees, an increase in Meetings of Assembled Owners (MOAO) fees, and a reduction and simplification of fees relating to copies of court documents.

Jonassen earlier said the fee change was part of a review that was supported by the former Minister for Justice, Rose Brown and current Minister for Justice, Vaine “Mac” Mokoroa.

He said it was recognised that the 2016 High Court Fees regulations had significantly increased succession fees from the 2005 regulations.

“Which raised concerns around access to justice as land succession is directly linked to your ability to exercise your land rights,” he earlier told Cook Islands News.

Jonassen added the cumulative fees for MOAOs (Meetings of Assembled Owners) are increasing by $50.

And fees for copies of documents have been “greatly simplified and decreased” to $2 a page (capped at $50 per document), similar to fees set in 1997 (approximately 25 years ago).

The land succession application fees had been reduced by $25 per application but the Ministry would not reveal the new fee.

“The 2016 fees were complex and inconsistent across divisions of the High Court,” Jonassen said.