PUBLIC TRUSTEE ORDINANCE

Arrangement of Sections

PRELIMINARY

1. Short title.

APPOINTMENT OF PUBLIC TRUSTEE AND DEPUTIES

2. Appointment of Public Trustee.

3. Public Trustee to be a Corporation.

4. Appointment and powers of Deputy Public Trustee.

POWERS, DUTIES, LIABILITIES AND IMMUNITIES OF PUBLIC TRUSTEE

5. General powers and duties of Public Trustee.

6. Applications to the court.

7. Liability of Consolidated Fund for acts of Public Trustee.

8. Notice of action against Public Trustee.

9. Public Trustee may decline any trust, but not on ground of small value.

10. Public Trustee not to accept certain trusts.

10A. Any Sri Lankan citizen proceeding for employment outside Sri Lanka, to nominate persons to whom compensation is to be paid in the event of his death.

11. Public Trustee to be sole trustee.

12. Public Trustee to retain share of minor.

13. Executor or administrator may pay to official trustee, legacy, share of minor or person of unsound mind.

14. Appointment of Public Trustee as next friend or guardian ad litem of a minor or person of unsound mind in certain cases.

15. Maintenance of minors and persons of unsound mind.

16. Transfer to Public Trustee of proceeds of sales under section 4 of the Entail and Settlement Ordinance.

17. Property of convict may be vested in Public Trustee.

18. Entry of Public Trustee by that name in books of a company.

19. Repealed.

20. Repealed.

21. Repealed.

22. Prescribed person may act for Public Trustee, except as to acts which can be done only by an Attorney-at-Law.

23. Power to examine on oath.

THE PUBLIC TRUSTEE AS ORDINARY TRUSTEE

24. Appointment of Public Trustee to be trustee.

25. Transfer of trusts to other trustees or persons by Public Trustee.

25A. Application for grant of provisional possession of property by Public Trustee.

25B. Public Trustee to be competent to institute action as custodian trustee.

26. Repealed.

27. Repealed.

28. Repealed.

29. Repealed.

30. Repealed.

31. Repealed.

32. Repealed.

33. Repealed.

34. Repealed.

35. Repealed.

36. Repealed.

37. Substitution by court of Public Trustee for trustee guilty of misconduct.

38. Deposit of will with Public Trustee.

39. Investigation by Public Trustee of condition and accounts of trusts.

THE PUBLIC TRUSTEE AS COLLECTOR UNDER AN ORDER TO COLLECT

40. Administration of estate of person believed to be dead.

THE PUBLIC TRUSTEE AS CUSTODIAN TRUSTEE

41. Custodian Trustee.

DISTRIBUTION OF ASSETS OF ESTATES

42. Distribution of assets.

43. Paying over to the Treasury of accumulations in the hands of Public Trustee.

44. Mode of proceeding by claimant to recover money so paid over.

FEES CHARGEABLE BY PUBLIC TRUSTEE

45. Fees and expenses to be charged by Public Trustee.

46. Disposal of fees.

AUDIT

47. Audit of Public Trustee's accounts.

48. Auditor's power to summon witnesses and call for documents.

49. Public Trustee may be trustee of temple property.

MISCELLANEOUS

50. Right of person interested to inspection and copies of accounts.

51. False evidence.

52. Rules.

53. Interpretation.

1 of 1922,

11 of 1931,

59 of 1938,

44 of 1973,

25 of 1975,

41 of 1983,

61 of 1988.

AN ORDINANCE to constitute the office of Public Trustee and to provide for the appointment of a public trustee, and to amend the law relating to the administration of trusts.

[Date of Commencement: 22nd November, 1930]

PRELIMINARY

1. Short title.

This Ordinance may be cited as the Public Trustee Ordinance.

APPOINTMENT OF PUBLIC TRUSTEE AND DEPUTIES

2. Appointment of Public Trustee.

There may be appointed an officer to be called the Public Trustee of Sri Lanka, in this Ordinance and in all other written law referred to as the Public Trustee.

3. Public Trustee to be a Corporation.

The Public Trustee shall be a corporation sole under that name, with perpetual succession and an official seal, and may sue and be sued under the above name like any other corporation sole.

4. Appointment and powers of Deputy Public Trustee.

(1) There may be appointed a deputy or deputies to assist the Public Trustee.

(2) The act of appointment of any Deputy Public Trustee shall specify whether he is appointed as such for the whole of Sri Lanka or any part thereof (the area for which such Deputy Public Trustee is appointed being hereinafter referred to as "the area of his appointment”).

(3) Any Deputy Public Trustee appointed under subsection (2) shall, subject to the general or specific orders of the Public Trustee within the area of his appointment be competent to discharge any of the duties and exercise any of the powers of the Public Trustee, and, when discharging such duties or exercising such powers, shall have the same privileges and be subject to the same liabilities as the Public Trustee.

(4) There may be appointed such legal officers and other staff as may be necessary to assist the Public Trustee or any Deputy Public Trustee in the administration of this Ordinance.

[S 4 subs by s 2 of Act 61 of 1988.]

POWERS, DUTIES, LIABILITIES, AND IMMUNITIES OF PUBLIC TRUSTEE

5. General powers and duties of Public Trustee.

(1) The Public Trustee shall, subject to the provisions of this Ordinance and rules made thereunder, be capable of being appointed and of acting under that name—

(a) as an ordinary trustee;

(b) as collector of estates under an order to collect;

(c) as a custodian trustee;

(d) as curator of the estate of a minor;

(e) as manager of the estate of a person of unsound mind;

(ee) as manager of immovable property upon a contract on terms and conditions including fees as may be mutually agreed upon;

[S 5(1)(ee) ins by s 2 of Act 41 of 1983.]

(f) as attorney for persons absent from Sri Lanka for the purpose of receiving and paying money;

(g) as the next friend or guardian for the action under Chapter XXXV of the Civil Procedure Code of any minor or person of unsound mind referred to in section 14(1).

(2) Save as hereinafter expressly provided, the Public Trustee shall have the same powers, duties, and liabilities, and be entitled to the same rights and privileges, and be subject to the same control and orders of the court as any other trustee acting in the same capacity.

6. Applications to the court.

(1) A person aggrieved by any act or omission or decision of the Public Trustee in relation to any trust may apply to the court, and the court may make such order in the matter as the court thinks just.

(2) Any order made by the court under subsection (1) shall have the effect of a decree of court.

(3) The Public Trustee may apply to the court for its direction or opinion on any question arising in the course of the administration of any trust, and the court may deal with any such application as the justice of the matter may require.

(4) The Judges of the Supreme Court may make rules regulating the procedure to be observed in all applications under this section, and, pending the making of such rules, such procedure shall be followed as shall be directed by the court.

(5) For the purpose of the calculation of stamp duty on any such proceedings, whenever the subject-matter in issue is of the value of one thousand five hundred rupees or over, such subject-matter shall be charged as of the value of one thousand five hundred rupees, and, whenever the subject-matter in issue is of the value of less than one thousand five hundred rupees, no stamp duty shall be charged in respect of any such proceedings, excepting stamp duty payable in respect of service of process.

7. Liability of Consolidated Fund for acts of Public Trustee.

All sums required to discharge any liability which the Public Trustee, if he were a private trustee, would be personally liable to discharge shall be a charge on the Consolidated Fund, except where the liability is one to which neither the Public Trustee nor any of his officers has in any way contributed, and which neither he nor any of his officers could by exercise of reasonable diligence have averted, and in that case the Public Trustee shall not, nor shall the Consolidated Fund be subject to any liability.

8. Notice of action against Public Trustee.

(1) If any suit be brought by a creditor against the Public Trustee, such creditor shall be liable to pay the costs of suit, unless he proves that not less than one month previous to the institution of the suit he had applied in writing to the Public Trustee stating the amount and other particulars of his claim, and had given such evidence in support thereof as, in the circumstances of the case, the Public Trustee was reasonably entitled to require and had required.

(2) If any such suit is decreed in favour of the creditor, he shall, nevertheless, unless he is a secured creditor or otherwise entitled to preference, be only entitled to payment out of the assets of the deceased equally and rateably with the other creditors.

(3) Nothing in section 461 of the Civil Procedure Code, shall apply to any suit against the Public Trustee in which no relief is claimed against him personally.

9. Public Trustee may decline any trust, but not on ground of small value.

Subject to the provisions of this Ordinance, the Public Trustee may decline, either absolutely or except on conditions which he may lay down to accept any trust, but he shall not decline to accept any trust on the ground only of the small value of the trust property.

10. Public Trustee not to accept certain trusts.

The Public Trustee shall not accept any trust which involves the management or carrying on of any business, except in the cases in which he may be authorised to do so by rules made under this Ordinance, or for the purpose of winding up an estate, nor any trust under a deed of arrangement for the benefit of creditors, nor any trust which involves the exercise, supervision, or control by him as trustee of any religious observance or ceremony or the decision of any questions as to the religious merit or character of any individual or institution.

10A. Any Sri Lankan citizen proceeding for employment outside Sri Lanka, to nominate persons to whom compensation is to be paid in the event of his death.

(1) Any Sri Lankan citizen proceeding for employment outside Sri Lanka may, register with the Public Trustee, the names of the persons to whom any compensation shall be payable in the event of his death while being so employed.

(2) Where a Sri Lankan citizen dies while being employed outside Sri Lanka, his employer may transmit to the Public Trustee, any sum payable as compensation in respect of such death, to be paid by the Public Trustee to the persons entitled thereto.

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