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December 05, 2023 Clouds | 37°F
The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 1: Jurisdiction; place of sittings; rules and forms of procedure

Section 1. The land court department established under section one of chapter two hundred and eleven B shall be a court of record, and wherever the words ''land court'', or wherever in this chapter the word ''court'' is used in that context, they shall refer to the land court department of the trial court, and the words ''judge of the land court'' or the word ''judge'', in context, shall mean an associate justice of the trial court appointed to the land court department. The land court department shall have exclusive original jurisdiction of the following matters:

(a) Complaints for the confirmation and registration and complaints for the confirmation without registration of title to land and easements or rights in land held and possessed in fee simple within the commonwealth, with power to hear and determine all questions arising upon such complaints, and such other questions as may come before it under this chapter, subject to all rights to jury trial and of appeal provided by law. The proceedings upon such complaints shall be proceedings in rem against the land, and the judgments shall operate directly on the land and vest and establish title thereto. A certified copy of the judgment of confirmation and registration shall be filed and registered in the registry district or districts where the land or any portion thereof lies, as provided in section forty-eight, and a certificate of title in the form prescribed by law shall be issued pursuant thereto. Immediately upon the entry of a judgment of confirmation without registration, the recorder shall cause a certified copy of the same to be recorded in the registry of deeds for the district or districts where the land or any portion thereof lies, and thereafter, the land therein described shall be dealt with as unregistered land.

(a1/2) Complaints affecting title to registered land, with the exception of actions commenced pursuant to chapter two hundred and eight or two hundred and nine.

(b) Proceedings for foreclosure of and for redemption from tax titles under chapter sixty.

(c) Actions to recover freehold estates under chapter two hundred and thirty-seven. In such an action brought in accordance with section forty-seven of chapter two hundred and thirty-six, where the tenant is entitled under clause (2) of section nine of chapter one hundred and nine A to retain the real estate as security for repayment of the consideration paid therefor by him, said court may determine the amount of such consideration and may order a judgment for possession upon being satisfied that such amount, with lawful interest, has been paid or tendered by the plaintiff to the defendant.

(d) Petitions to require actions to try title to real estate, under sections one to five, inclusive, of chapter two hundred and forty.

(e) Complaints to determine the validity of encumbrances, under sections eleven to fourteen, inclusive, of chapter two hundred and forty.

(f) Complaints to discharge mortgages, under section fifteen of chapter two hundred and forty.

(g) Complaints under section twenty-seven of chapter two hundred and forty to establish power or authority to transfer an interest in real estate.

(h) Complaints to determine the boundaries of flats, under section nineteen of chapter two hundred and forty.

(i) Complaints under sections sixteen to eighteen, inclusive, of chapter two hundred and forty to determine whether or not equitable restrictions are enforceable.

(j) Complaints under section twelve of chapter forty-two to determine county, city, town or district boundaries.

(j1/2) Complaints under section fourteen A of chapter two hundred and forty to determine the validity and extent of municipal zoning ordinances, by-laws and regulations.

It shall also have original jurisdiction concurrent with the supreme judicial court and the superior court of the following:—

(k) All cases and matters cognizable under the general principles of equity jurisprudence where any right, title or interest in land is involved, including actions for specific performance of contracts.

(l) Actions under clauses (4) and (10) of section 3 of chapter 214, where any right, title or interest in real estate is involved.

(m) Actions under clause (8) of said section 3 of said chapter 214 or under section 9 of chapter 109A, where the property claimed to have been fraudulently conveyed or encumbered consists of rights, titles or interest in real estate only.

(n) Proceedings transferred to it under the provisions of section 4A of chapter 211.

(o) Civil actions of trespass to real estate involving title to real estate.

(p) Actions brought pursuant to the provisions of sections 7 and 17 of chapter 40A.

(q) Actions brought pursuant to sections 81B, 81V, 81Y, and 81BB of chapter 41.

(r) Actions brought pursuant to section 4 or 5 of chapter 249 where any right, title or interest in land is involved, or which arise under or involve the subdivision control law, the zoning act, or municipal zoning, subdivision, or land-use ordinances, by-laws or regulations.

(s) Actions brought pursuant to section 1 of chapter 245.

The land court department also shall have original jurisdiction concurrent with the probate courts of the following:—

(t) Petitions for partition under chapter 241.

The court shall hold its sittings in the cities of Boston, Fall River, and Worcester, but may adjourn from time to time to such other places as public convenience may require. In Suffolk county, the city council of the city of Boston shall provide suitable rooms for the sittings of said court in the same building with, or convenient to, the probate court or the registry of deeds. In Fall River and Worcester, and other counties, the chief justice of administration and management shall make court rooms, clerk facilities, and other trial facilities available to the land court. On or before February 1, 2007, the chief justice of the land court department shall establish procedures for holding regular sessions of the land court in Fall River and Worcester for the consideration of cases arising from central, western, and southeastern Massachusetts, as the caseload requires but not less than once per quarter.

The court shall have jurisdiction throughout the commonwealth, shall always be open, except on Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays, and shall have a seal with which all orders, processes and papers made by or proceeding from the court and requiring a seal shall be sealed; provided, that, if the convenience of the public so requires, the court shall be open on such Saturdays, not legal holidays, and during such hours thereof, as the judges thereof may determine. Its notices, orders and processes may run into any county and be returnable as it directs.

The court shall from time to time make general rules and forms for procedure, which, before taking effect, shall be approved by the supreme judicial court or by a justice thereof.