25 Sep 2008

Samoa Court rules that land sale under German rule valid

2:50 pm on 25 September 2008

A land claim by the village council of Vailoa Palauli on Savaii in Samoa has failed for the second time with a ruling by the Court of Appeal.

The disputed land issue dates back to 1886 when Germany ruled Samoa.

The land in question was sold to OF Nelson by several paramount chiefs.

But the village is arguing that the land is custom held, was never lawfully alienated and couldn't therefore become freehold.

But the Court of Appeal judges have accepted that the transfer in 1886 was legitimate.

They say the Government of Samoa has accepted the validity of the German regime, and with no countervailing evidence to refute this, the duty of the judiciary is to confirm this validity.