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The Bahamas Independence Order 1973

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Protection from deprivation of property

27.—(1) No property of any description shall be compulsorily taken possession of, and no interest in or right over property of any description shall be compulsorily acquired, except where the following conditions are satisfied, that is to say—

(a)the taking of possession or acquisition is necessary in the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public morality, public health, town and country planning or the development or utilisation of any property in such manner as to promote the public benefit or the economic well-being of the community; and

(b)the necessity therefor is such as to afford reasonable justification for the causing of any hardship that may result to any person having an interest in or right over the property; and

(c)provision is made by a law applicable to that taking of possession or acquisition—

(i)for the making of prompt and adequate compensation in the circumstances; and

(ii)securing to any person having an interest in or right over the property a right of access to the Supreme Court, whether direct or on appeal from any other authority, for the determination of his interest or right, the legality of the taking of possession or acquisition of the property, interest or right, and the amount of any compensation to which he is entitled, and for the purpose of obtaining prompt payment of that compensation; and

(d)any party to proceedings in the Supreme Court relating to such a claim is given by law the same rights of appeal as are accorded generally to parties to civil proceedings in that Court sitting as a court of original jurisdiction.

(2) Nothing in this Article shall be construced as affecting the making or operation of any law so far as it provides for the taking of possession or acquisition of property—

(a)in satisfaction of any tax, rate or due;

(b)by way of penalty for breach of the law, whether under civil process or after conviction of a criminal offence under the law of The Bahamas;

(c)as an incident of a lease, tenancy, mortgage, charge, bill of sale, pledge or contract;

(d)upon the attempted removal of the property in question out of or into The Bahamas in contravention of any law;

(e)by way of the taking of a sample for the purposes of any law;

(f)where the property consists of an animal upon its being found trespassing or straying;

(g)in the execution of judgments or orders of courts;

(h)by reason of its being in a dilapidated or dangerous state or injurious to the health of human beings, animals or plants;

(i)in consequence of any law making provision for the validation of titles to land or (without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing words) the confirmation of such titles, or for the extinguishment of adverse claims, or with respect to prescription or the limitation of actions;

(j)for so long only as may be necessary for the purposes of any examination, investigation, trial or inquiry or, in the case of land, the carrying out thereon—

(i)of work or reclamation, drainage, soil conservation or the conservation of other natural resources; or

(ii)of agricultural development or improvement that the owner or occupier of the land has been required, and has, without reasonable and lawful excuse, refused or failed to carry out; or

(k)to the extent that the law in question makes provision for the vesting or taking of possession or acquisition or administration of—

(i)enemy property;

(ii)property of a deceased person, a person of unsound mind or a person who has not attained the age of twenty-one years, for the purposes of its administration for the benefit of the persons entitled to the beneficial interest therein;

(iii)property of a person adjudged insolvent or a defunct company that has been struck off the Register of Companies, or a body corporate in liquidation, for the purpose of its administration for the benefit of the creditors of that insolvent person or body corporate and, subject thereto, for the benefit of other persons entitled to the beneficial interest in the property; or

(iv)property subject to a trust, for the purpose of vesting the property in persons appointed as trustees under the instrument creating the trust or by a court or, by order of a court, for the purpose of giving effect to the trust.

(3) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this Article to the extent that the law in question makes provision for the orderly marketing or production or growth or extraction of any agricultural or fish product or mineral or water or any article or thing prepared for market or manufactured therefor or for the reasonable restriction of the use of any property in the interest of safeguarding the interests of others or the protection of tenants, licensees or others having rights in or over such property.

(4) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this Article to the extent that the law in question makes provision for the compulsory taking possession in the public interest of any property, or the compulsory acquisition in the public interest of any interest in or right over property, where that property, interest or right is held by a body corporate established directly by law for public purposes in which no monies have been invested other than monies provided by Parliament or by any Legislature established for the former Colony of the Bahamas Islands.

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