Volume 5, No. 43

page 528  (16 pages)
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TE WANANGA. NATIVE LAWSUITS BILL. Mr. Stout has introduced a bill entitled, " An Act to make provision for the determination of Native lawsuits commenced in the Supreme Court." It runs as follows:—Whereas in several parts of the colony ! purchases of lands have been made, or are alleged to have been made from aboriginal owners, and disputes and differences in reference thereto have since arisen between the alleged vendors and purchasers, and whereas in many cases suits have been commenced, in the Supreme Court, but it is found that the mode of procedure in ordinary cases is not adapted to the de- termination of such disputes and differences as afore said, and it is expedient fhat special provision should be made for the determination therof. 1. The short title of this Act shall be " The Native Lawsuits Act. 1878." 2. It shall be lawful for the Governor in- Council to appoint by commission one of the judges of the Supreme Court to exercise the jurisdiction con- ferred by this Act; or, if it shall see fit to appoint under section 7 of the Supreme Court Judges Act, 1858, another Judge of the Supremo Court to exer- cise the said jurisdiction. Any Judge so to be ap- pointed, is hereinafter referred to as " the Judges." 3. The Judge shall have jurisdiction to try all cases in which any disputes or differences exist between Europeans and Maoris in reference to rights, titles, and interests in or to land held under titles heretofore derived through. Native Land Court, or referred to and included in the fourth section of the Native Grantees,. Act, 1870, according to the law and equity of the case as administered by the Supreme Court, and shall direct himself by the best evidence that can be produced or that is laid before him, whether the same be such evidence as the law would require in other cases or not. ' Provided always, that any party to any suit or proceeding hereunder, shall, have full power to avail himself of any.grounds of law or equity which, he may desire to use and which could be used in, any ordinary case in the Supreme Court, and judgment shall in all casts be delivered as it would be in the Supreme Court, if such grounds were taken. 4. The Judge shall determine all questions of fact, as well as of law, except in cases held before a person as hereinafter provided. 5. It shall be law- ful for the Judge to give such payments and make such orders upon terms and conditions as he may