Granted by His Majesty King George Tupou I on the fourth day of November One thousand eight hundred and seventy-five and since amended in accordance with the law on divers dates mentioned in the endnotes to this revised edition.
Granted by His Majesty King George Tupou I on the fourth day of November One thousand eight hundred and seventy-five and since amended in accordance with the law on divers dates mentioned in the endnotes to this revised edition.
Since it appears to be the will of God that man should be free as He has made all men of one blood therefore shall the people of Tonga and all who sojourn or may sojourn in this Kingdom be free for ever. And all men may use their lives and persons and time to acquire and possess property and to dispose of their labour and the fruit of their hands and to use their own property as they will.
No person shall serve another against his will except he be undergoing punishment by law and any slave who may escape from a foreign country to Tonga (unless he be escaping from justice being guilty of homicide or theft or any great crime or involved in debt) shall be free from the moment he sets foot on Tongan soil for no person shall be in servitude under the protection of the flag of Tonga.
Whoever may wish to bring persons from other islands to work for him may make an agreement with them for the number of years they will work for him and a copy of the written agreement he makes with them shall be deposited in the Public Offices stating the amount of payment they shall receive the period they shall work and a promise to take them back to their own land. And the Government shall cause such contract to be carried out both on behalf of those who engage and those who are engaged. And such persons being so introduced shall be subject to the laws of the land and shall pay the same Customs duties as all the people in the Kingdom and taxes as shall be ordained by the King and his Cabinet.
There shall be but one law in Tonga for chiefs and commoners for non-Tongans and Tongans. No laws shall be enacted for one class and not for another class but the law shall be the same for all the people of this land.
All men are free to practise their religion and to worship God as they may deem fit in accordance with the dictates of their own consciences and to assemble for religious service in such places as they may appoint. But it shall not be lawful to use this freedom to commit evil and licentious acts or under the name of worship to do what is contrary to the law and peace of the land.
The Sabbath Day shall be kept holy in Tonga and no person shall practise his trade or profession or conduct any commercial undertaking on the Sabbath Day except according to law; and any agreement made or witnessed on that day shall be null and void and of no legal effect.
All people shall be free to send letters or petitions to the King or Legislative Assembly and to meet and consult concerning matters about which they think it right to petition the King or Legislative Assembly to pass or repeal enactments provided that they meet peaceably without arms and without disorder.
The law of the writ of Habeas Corpus shall apply to all people and it shall never be suspended excepting in the case of war or rebellion in the land when it shall be lawful for the King to suspend it.
No one shall be punished because of any offence he may have committed until he has been sentenced according to law before a Court having jurisdiction in the case.
No one shall be tried or summoned to appear before any court or punished for failing to appear unless he have first received a written indictment (except in cases of impeachment or for small offences within the jurisdiction of the magistrate or for contempt of court while the court is sitting). Such written indictment shall clearly state the offence charged against him and the grounds for the charge. And at his trial the witnesses against him shall be brought face to face with him (except according to law) and he shall hear their evidence and shall be allowed to question them and to bring forward any witness of his own and to make his own statement regarding the charge preferred against him. But whoever shall be indicted for any offence if he shall so elect shall be tried by jury and this law shall never be repealed. And all claims for large amounts shall be decided by a jury and the Legislative Assembly shall determine what shall be the amount of claim that may be decided without a jury.
No one shall be tried again for any offence for which he has already been tried whether he was acquitted or convicted except in cases where the accused shall confess after having been acquitted by the court and when there is sufficient evidence to prove the truth of his confession.
No one shall be tried on any charge but that which appears in the indictment, summons or warrant and for which he is being brought to trial:
Save and except that—
No one shall be intimidated into giving evidence against himself nor shall the life or property or liberty of anyone be taken away except according to law.
It shall not be lawful for any judge or magistrate to adjudicate or for any juryman to sit in any case in which one of his relations is concerned either as a plaintiff defendant or witness: Nor shall any judge or magistrate sit in any case which concerns himself: Nor shall any judge or magistrate or juryman on any pretence receive any present or money or anything else from anyone who is about to be tried nor from any of the defendant's friends but all judges magistrates and jurymen shall be entirely free and shall in no case whatever be interested or biased on the discharge of their duties.
It shall not be lawful for anyone to enter forcibly the houses or premises of another or to search for anything or to take anything the property of another except according to law: And should any person lose any property and believe it to be concealed in any place whether house or premises it shall be lawful for him to make an affidavit before a magistrate that he believes it to be concealed in that place and he shall describe particularly the property so concealed and the place in which he believes it to be concealed and the magistrate shall issue a search warrant to the police to search for the property according to the affidavit so made.
The King shall reign on behalf of all his people and not so as to enrich or benefit any one man or any one family or any one class but without partiality for the good of all the people of his Kingdom.
All the people have the right to expect that the Government will protect their life liberty and property and therefore it is right for all the people to support and contribute to the Government according to law. And if at any time there should be a war in the land and the Government should take the property of anyone the Government shall pay the fair value of such property to the owner. And if the Legislature shall resolve to take from any person or persons their premises or a part of their premises or their houses for the purpose of making Government roads or other work of benefit to the Government the Government shall pay the fair value.
No money shall be paid out of the Treasury nor borrowed nor debts contracted by the Government but by the prior vote of the Legislative Assembly, except in the following cases:
It shall not be lawful to enact any retrospective laws in so far as they may curtail or take away or affect rights or privileges existing at the time of the passing of such laws.
Every soldier shall be subject to the laws of the land whether he belong to the Guards, the Artillery or to the Militia in accordance with the twenty-second clause and any soldier who breaks the law of the land shall be tried in the courts as any other person. And it shall not be lawful for any officer to quarter any soldier upon the premises of anyone except in time of war and then only as may be resolved by the Legislative Assembly.
It shall be lawful for the King to command any taxpayer to join the militia for the purpose of instruction or for parade on public occasions should he think fit and also in time of war to call out all those capable of bearing arms and to make orders and regulations for their control and provisioning.
No person having been convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to imprisonment for more than two years, shall hold any office under the Government whether of emolument or honour nor shall he be qualified to vote for nor to be elected a representative of the Legislative Assembly unless he has received from the King a pardon together with a declaration that he is freed from the disabilities to which he would otherwise be subject under the provisions of this clause:
Provided that the operation of this clause shall be suspended in any case until the expiration of 42 days after the date of sentencing; and in cases where notice of appeal or leave to appeal is given within 42 days after the date of sentencing, until the determination of the appeal; and if the conviction is quashed on appeal or the sentence reduced to no more than 2 years imprisonment then this clause shall not have effect.
It shall not be lawful for anyone holding any office under the Government whether of emolument or otherwise to hold any appointment from another Government without first obtaining permission from Cabinet. And it shall not be lawful for anyone holding an office of emolument under the Government to engage in trade or work for anyone else, except with the prior consent of Cabinet.
No person may succeed to any tofi'a or any title until he has attained the age of twenty one years, save for members of the Royal Family who shall be deemed to have attained maturity at eighteen years of age.
Every Tongan who has arrived at the age of 21 years and can read and write and is not disabled by the twenty third clause of this Constitution shall be liable to serve on juries and the names of all those who are liable to serve shall be published once every year and anyone who neglects to serve shall be punished as shall be enacted by the Legislature. Ministers of the Crown and the Governors, Members of the Legislative Assembly, Judges and Magistrates, heads of Government Departments or Ministries, law practitioners, members of the police force and of the armed forces of Tonga, officers of the Supreme Court, of the Magistrates Courts or of any prison, ministers of religion, persons of unsound mind or persons incapable of serving by reason of blindness, deafness or any other permanent physical infirmity shall be exempt from serving on juries.
Any foreigner after he has resided in the Kingdom for the space of five years or more may with the consent of the King take the oath of allegiance and he may be granted Certificates of Naturalization and all naturalized subjects shall have the same rights and privileges as native born subjects of Tonga with the exception that they shall not be entitled to the rights of hereditary tax allotments or town allotments.
The form of government for this Kingdom is a Constitutional Monarchy under His Majesty King George Tupou V and his successors.
The Government of this Kingdom is divided into three Bodies—
2nd: The Legislative Assembly;
3rd: The Judiciary.
The right and title of King George Tupou I to the Crown and Throne of this Kingdom were confirmed by the Constitution of 1875 and it was further declared in the said Constitution that the succession to the Crown and Throne should devolve upon David Uga and then upon Wellington Gu and then upon them begotten by him in marriage and if at any time there be no heirs of Wellington Gu the Crown and Throne shall descend in accordance with the following law of succession:
It shall be lawful only for those born in marriage to succeed.
The succession shall be to the eldest male child and the heirs of his body but if he should have no children to the second male child and the heirs of his body and so on until all the male line shall be ended.
Should there be no male child the eldest female child shall succeed and the heirs of her body and if she should have no children it shall descend to the second female child and the heirs of her body until the female line is ended.
And if there shall be none of this line of David Uga lawful descendants by marriage to succeed to the Crown of Tonga it shall descend to William Tungi and his lawful heirs begotten by him in marriage and to their heirs begotten by them.
And if there should be no lawful heir the King shall appoint his heir if the House of Nobles consent to it (the representatives of the people having no voice in the matter) and he shall be publicly declared heir to the Crown during the King's life.
Should there be no heir to the Crown or successor who has been so publicly proclaimed the Prime Minister or in his absence the Cabinet ministers shall convoke the nobles of the Legislative Assembly (the representatives of the people having no voice in the matter) and when they meet the House of Nobles shall choose by ballot some one of the chiefs whom they wish to succeed as King. And he shall succeed as the first of a new dynasty and he and the heirs of his body born in marriage shall possess the Crown according to law.
And in the event of there being none to succeed according to this law the Prime Minister or in his absence the Cabinet ministers shall again convoke the nobles of the Legislative Assembly in accordance with this law and they shall choose one to succeed to the Throne as the first of a new dynasty and so on according to this law for ever.
The following oath shall be taken by those who shall succeed to the throne—
"I solemnly swear before Almighty God to keep in its integrity the Constitution of Tonga and to govern in conformity with the laws thereof."
No person shall succeed to the Crown of Tonga who has been found guilty of an offence punishable by imprisonment for more than two years or who is insane or imbecile.
The King is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of Tonga. He shall appoint all officers and make such regulations for the training and control of the forces as he may think best for the welfare of the country but it shall not be lawful for the King to make war without the consent of the Legislative Assembly.
It shall be lawful for the King in Privy Council to grant a Royal Pardon to any person for a breach of law (including any person who has been convicted of a breach of law) except in cases of impeachment.
The King may convoke the Legislative Assembly at any time and may dissolve it at his pleasure and command that new representatives of the nobles and people be elected to enter the Assembly. But it shall not be lawful for the Kingdom to remain without a meeting of the Assembly for a longer period than one year. The Assembly shall always meet at Nuku'alofa and at no other place except in time of war.
It shall be lawful for the King to make treaties with Foreign States provided that such treaties shall be in accordance with the laws of the Kingdom. The King may appoint his representatives to other nations according to the custom of nations.
The King shall receive Foreign Ministers and may address the Legislative Assembly in writing regarding the affairs of the Kingdom and matters which he may wish to bring before the Assembly for deliberation.
The King is the Sovereign of all the Chiefs and all the people. The person of the King is sacred. He reigns the country but his ministers are responsible. All Acts that have passed the Legislative Assembly must bear the King's signature before they become law.
Should the King die before his heir is eighteen years of age a Prince Regent shall be appointed in accordance with the forty-third clause.
Should the King wish to travel abroad it shall be lawful for him to appoint a Prince Regent who shall administer the affairs of the Kingdom during his absence. And if the King should die whilst his heir is not yet arrived at the age of eighteen years and he has not declared in his will his wishes regarding a Prince Regent during his heir's minority the Prime Minister of the Cabinet shall at once convoke the Legislative Assembly and they shall choose by ballot a Prince Regent who shall administer the affairs of the Kingdom in the name of the King until the heir shall have attained his majority (but the representatives of the people shall have no voice in such election).
It is the King's prerogative to give titles of honour and to confer honourable distinctions but it shall not be lawful for him to deprive anyone who has an hereditary title of his title such as chiefs of hereditary lands and nobles of the Legislative Assembly who possess hereditary lands except in cases of treason. And if anyone shall be tried and found guilty of treason the King shall appoint a member of that family to succeed to the name and inheritance of the guilty person.
It is the prerogative of the King with the advice of his Cabinet to decree the coinage which shall be legal tender in this Kingdom and to make regulations for the coining of money.
In the event of civil war or war with a foreign state it shall be lawful for the King to proclaim martial law over any part or over the whole of the country.
The Flag of Tonga (the flag of King George) shall never be altered but shall always be the flag of this Kingdom and the present Royal Ensign shall always be the ensign of the Royal Family of Tonga.
The lands of the King and the property of the King are his to dispose of as he pleases. The Government shall not touch them nor shall they be liable for any Government debt. But the houses built for him by the Government and any inheritances which may be given to him as King shall descend to his successors as the property and inheritance of the Royal line.
It shall not be lawful to sue the King in any court for a debt without the consent of the Cabinet.
PROVIDED THAT: Following a general election, and when appointed under clause 50B (4)(c), Ministers shall be and remain as caretaker Ministers until their appointments are revoked or continued on the recommendation of the newly appointed Prime Minister; and during such period caretaker Ministers shall not incur any unusual or unnecessary expenditure without the written approval of the caretaker Minister for Finance.
Each member of the Cabinet shall have an office in Nuku'alofa the capital of the Kingdom and he shall satisfy himself that all the subordinates in his department faithfully perform their duties. And the Government shall build or rent offices suitable for the work of each minister.
When the Legislative Assembly shall meet the Minister for Finance shall present to the Legislative Assembly on behalf of the Cabinet an account of all moneys which have been received and expended during the current year or since the last meeting of the Assembly and the nature of the receipts and expenditure.
The King shall appoint Governors to Ha'apai and Vava'u on the advice of the Prime Minister.
It shall not be lawful for a Governor to enact any law but he shall be responsible that the law is enforced in his district.
The King and the Legislative Assembly shall have power to enact laws, and the representatives of the nobles and the representatives of the people shall sit as one House. When the Legislative Assembly shall have agreed upon any Bill which has been read and voted for by a majority three times it shall be presented to the King for his sanction and after receiving his sanction and signature it shall become law upon publication. Votes shall be given by raising the hand or by standing up in division or by saying "Aye" or "No".
The Legislative Assembly shall be called the Legislative Assembly of Tonga.
The Legislative Assembly shall meet at least once in every twelve calendar months but it shall be lawful to summon the same at any time.
There shall be elected by the nobles of the Kingdom from their number nine nobles as representatives of the nobles and there shall be elected by electors duly qualified seventeen representatives of the people. The Legislative Assembly shall determine the boundaries of electoral districts for the election of representatives of the nobles and shall establish an independent Commission to determine the boundaries of the electoral constituencies for the election of representatives of the people:
Provided that the constituency boundaries for the general election of 2010 shall be based on the recommendations of the Royal Constituency Boundaries Commission as approved by the Legislative Assembly.
and it shall be dealt with in accordance with the Assembly's rules of procedure.
Every Tongan subject of twenty-one years of age or more who is not a noble, is not insane or imbecile and is not disabled by the twenty-third clause shall, if registered as an elector, be entitled to vote in an election for representatives of the people to the Legislative Assembly and on the day appointed for election shall be exempt from summons for debt. A person resident outside of Tonga who is qualified to be an elector may vote at an election only if he is registered as an elector and present in Tonga for the election.
Representatives of the people shall be chosen by ballot and any person who is qualified to be an elector may nominate as a candidate and be chosen as a representative for the electoral constituency in which he is registered, save that no person may be chosen against whom an order has been made in any court in the Kingdom for the payment of a specific sum of money the whole or any part of which remains outstanding or if ordered to pay by instalments the whole or any part of such instalments remain outstanding on the day on which such person submits his nomination paper to the Returning Officer:
Provided that a person resident outside of Tonga who is qualified to be an elector will qualify as a candidate only if he is present in Tonga for a period of 3 months within the 6 months before the relevant election.
Any person elected as a representative who shall be proved to the satisfaction of the Assembly to have used threats or offered bribes for the purpose of persuading any person to vote for him shall be unseated by the Assembly.
It shall be lawful for only the nobles of the Legislative Assembly to discuss or vote upon laws relating to the King or the Royal Family or the titles and inheritances of the nobles and after any such bill has been passed three times by a majority of the nobles of the Legislative Assembly it shall be submitted to the King for his sanction.
Should the King withhold his sanction from any law passed by the Legislative Assembly and submitted to him for approval it shall be unlawful for the Legislative Assembly again to discuss such law until the following session.
It shall be lawful for the Legislative Assembly to pass judgment upon its members for their acts or conduct as members of the Legislative Assembly and although all the members may not be present it shall be lawful for the Legislative Assembly to discuss and pass laws and transact business should one-half of its members be present but should there be less than one-half present the Legislative Assembly shall stand adjourned to another day and if at such adjourned meeting there should be still less than half the members present it shall be lawful for the King or the Speaker of the Assembly to command the presence of all the members and if any fail to attend on such command it shall be lawful to inflict punishment for such disobedience such punishment to be determined by the Legislative Assembly.
may, by resolution of the Legislative Assembly, be imprisoned for any period not exceeding thirty days and if he is a member of the Assembly he may be suspended from the Assembly for up to thirty days in substitution for or in addition to any other penalty.
for an offence against the Legislative Assembly determined by the Assembly to have been committed by that person under this clause.
Should any representative of the nobles be deprived of his seat another noble shall be elected to succeed to his seat in the Legislative Assembly but his title and hereditary estates shall not be confiscated except for treason or sedition.
A journal of the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly shall be kept and the votes of each member present for and against every motion or resolution shall be recorded in the journal.
The members of the Legislative Assembly shall be free from arrest and judgment whilst it is sitting except for indictable offences and no member of the House shall be liable for anything he may have said or published in the Legislative Assembly.
Any representative of the nobles or of the people who may wish to resign his seat in the Legislative Assembly may tender his resignation in writing to the Speaker and his connection with the Legislative Assembly shall cease when he tenders his resignation.
Breach of the laws or the resolutions of the Legislative Assembly, maladministration, incompetency, destruction or embezzlement of Government property, or the performance of acts which may lead to difficulties between this and another country.
Upon the death or resignation of any representative of the nobles or of the people and when a member is deprived of his seat after impeachment, the Speaker shall immediately command that the nobles or the electors of the district which he represented shall elect a representative in his place. But the Legislative Assembly shall have the power to sit and act although its number be not complete.
The Legislative Assembly shall assess the amount of taxes to be paid by the people and the customs duties and fees for trading licences and shall pass the estimates of expenditure for the Public Service in accordance with the nineteenth clause. And upon the report of the Minister of Finance upon the expenditure and revenue received during the year succeeding the last meeting of the Assembly the Legislative Assembly shall determine the estimates for the expenditure of the Government until the next meeting of the Legislative Assembly. And the ministers shall be guided by the estimates of public expenditure so authorized by the Legislative Assembly.
It shall be lawful for the Legislative Assembly to discuss amendments to the Constitution provided that such amendments shall not affect the law of liberty the succession to the Throne and the titles and hereditary estates of the nobles. And if the Legislative Assembly wish to amend any clause of the Constitution such amendment shall after it has passed the Legislative Assembly three times be submitted to the King and if His Majesty and the Cabinet are unanimously in favour of the amendment it shall be lawful for the King to assent and when signed by the King it shall become law.
The formula for enacting laws shall be "Be it enacted by the King and Legislative Assembly of Tonga in the Legislature of the Kingdom as follows:".
To avoid confusion in the making of laws every law shall embrace but one subject which shall be expressed by its title.
This Constitution is the supreme law of the Kingdom and if any other law is inconsistent with this Constitution, that other law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.
The following oath shall be taken by the members of the Privy Council:
"I solemnly swear before God that I will be truly loyal to His Majesty King George Tupou V the rightful King of Tonga and that I will keep righteously and perfectly the Constitution of Tonga and assist to the end of my power and ability in all things in connection with the Privy Council".
The following oath shall be taken by the ministers:
"I solemnly swear before God that I will be truly loyal to His Majesty King George Tupou V the rightful King of Tonga and that I will keep righteously and perfectly the Constitution of Tonga and discharge the duties of my department to the end of my ability for the benefit of the King and his Government".
The following oath shall be taken by the nobles and representatives of the people:
"I solemnly swear before God that I will be truly loyal to His Majesty King George Tupou V the rightful King of Tonga and that I will righteously and perfectly conform to and keep the Constitution of Tonga and zealously discharge my duties as a member of the Legislative Assembly".
The members of the Privy Council shall sign their names to the oath and read it in the presence of the King. The ministers, the nobles and representatives of the people shall sign their names to the oath and read it in the presence of the Legislative Assembly.
The existing underlying constitutional principles of the Rule of Law and Judicial Independence shall always be maintained.
Provided that no person shall be appointed unless—
Provided that no person shall be appointed unless—
The judges, subject to any contractual arrangements, shall hold office during good behaviour:
Provided that it shall be lawful to appoint Judges of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal for limited periods, or for the purposes of a particular sitting of the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal, or of particular proceedings to come before the Court, on such terms as may be approved by the King in Privy Council.
The judges shall have power to direct the form of indictments to control the procedure of the lower Courts, and to make rules of procedure.
The Supreme Court shall have jurisdiction in all cases in Law and Equity arising under the Constitution and Laws of the Kingdom (except cases concerning titles to land which shall be determined by a Land Court subject to an appeal to the Privy Council in matters relating to hereditary estates and titles or to the Court of Appeal in other land matters) and in all matters concerning Treaties with Foreign States and Ministers and Consuls and in all cases affecting Public Ministers and Consuls and all Maritime Cases.
The Court of Appeal shall have exclusive power and jurisdiction to hear and determine all appeals which by virtue of this Constitution or of any Act of the Legislative Assembly lie from the Supreme Court or Land Court (excepting matters relating to the determination of hereditary estates and titles) or any judge thereof and shall have such further or other jurisdiction as may be conferred upon it by any such Act.
It shall not be lawful for any judge to sit or adjudicate upon an appeal from any decision which he may have given.
The Lord Chief Justice and any other judge shall take the following oath:
"I swear in the presence of God that I will be loyal to His Majesty King George Tupou V the lawful King of Tonga and that I will perform truly and with impartiality my duties as a judge in accordance with the Constitution and the Laws of the Kingdom".
The judge shall read and sign this oath in the presence of the Cabinet:
Provided that a Lord Chief Justice or any other judge, who is not a Tongan subject, shall take the following oath in lieu of the foregoing oath:
"I swear in the presence of God that I will perform truly and with impartiality my duties as a judge in accordance with the Constitution and the Laws of the Kingdom".
The Legislature shall determine the fees payable to the various Courts. The Registrar of the Supreme Court shall keep the Court records.
It shall not be lawful for any judicial officer to receive any portion of a fine paid by any person convicted of an offence or for the Government to allot prisoners to serve any judicial officer, police officer, juror, or any other person as payment for duties discharged by them.
Any person committed for trial before the Supreme Court on a charge of having committed any criminal offence punishable by a term of imprisonment exceeding two years or a fine of five hundred pa'anga or both such penalties shall if he shall so elect be tried by a jury; and whenever any issue of fact is raised in any civil action triable in the Supreme Court any party to such action may claim the right of trial by jury; and the law of trial by jury shall never be repealed.
It is the duty of the jury in criminal cases to pronounce whether the person accused is guilty or not guilty according to the evidence given before the Court. In civil cases the jury shall give judgment for payment or compensation as the case may be and according to the merits of the case.
In civil and criminal cases the judge shall direct the jury upon the law bearing upon the case and assist them in arriving at a just decision upon the case before them. The judge shall have power to refuse to admit evidence which he may deem to be irrelevant or improper.
The Lord Chief Justice shall report once a year to the King upon the administration of justice and the criminal statistics of the country and upon any amendments in the law which he may recommend. And the King shall lay this report before the Assembly at its next meeting in the same manner as the reports of the ministers.
The Legislature shall determine the time and place for holding the Courts and shall limit the powers of the magistrates in criminal and civil matters and shall determine what cases shall be committed for trial to the Supreme Court.
The remedy for breach of any provisions of the Constitution shall be declaratory relief and shall not affect any award of damages under any other law.
All the land is the property of the King and he may at pleasure grant to the nobles and titular chiefs or matabules one or more estates to become their hereditary estates. It is hereby declared by this Constitution that it shall not be lawful for anyone at any time hereafter whether he be the King or any one of the chiefs or the people of this country to sell any land whatever in the Kingdom of Tonga but they may lease it only in accordance with this Constitution and mortgage it in accordance with the Land Act. And this declaration shall become a covenant binding on the King and chiefs of this Kingdom for themselves and their heirs and successors for ever.
The Cabinet shall determine the terms for which leases shall be granted but no lease shall be granted for any longer period than ninety-nine years without the consent of His Majesty in Council and the Cabinet shall determine the amount of rent for all Government lands.
The forms of deed transfer and permit which shall from time to time be sanctioned by His Majesty in Privy Council are hereby appointed to be the forms according to which all deeds of leases transfers and permits shall be made.
This Constitution shall not affect any leases which have been granted by the Government or any leases which have been promised whether leases of land in the interior or of town allotments. Such leases will be recognised by the Government but this exception shall not refer to any leases which may be granted after the granting of this Constitution.
No leases of any town site shall in future be granted to any religious body for any purpose unless there are thirty adults, male and female, of such church in that town, and it shall not be lawful for any religious body to use such leased lands for other than religious purposes or to sub-let to any person without the prior consent of Cabinet, and upon satisfactory proof before a Court that any such land has been sub-let without consent, such land shall revert to the person from whom the land was leased, or to his successor in title as the case may be.
All the beach frontage of this Kingdom belongs to the Crown from 15.24 metres above high-water mark and it shall be lawful for the Government to lease any portion of the beach frontage for erecting a store jetty or wharf and the Minister of Lands with the consent of the Cabinet shall have power to grant such lease.
All leases unless signed by the King himself shall be signed by the Minister of Lands and sealed with the seal of his office and countersigned by one of the Cabinet ministers who shall affix the seal of his office and no lease or transfer will be considered valid or recognised by the Government unless registered in the office of the Minister of Lands.
The following is the law of succession to hereditary estates and titles:
Children lawfully born in wedlock only may inherit and the eldest male child shall succeed and the heirs of his body but if he have no descendants then the second male child and the heirs of his body and so on until all the male line is ended. Should there be no male child the eldest female child shall succeed and the heirs of her body and if she should have no descendants the second female child and the heirs of her body and so on until the female line is ended. And failing direct heirs the property shall revert to the eldest brother of the owner of the property beginning with the eldest and his heirs in succession to the youngest and their heirs in accordance with the law of inheritance. And if the brothers have no descendants it shall descend to the eldest sister and the female line as provided in the case of the male line. And if these should have no descendants and there should be no legitimate heir it shall revert to the Crown in accordance with the one hundred and twelfth clause. But should a female be next in succession to the title of a noble or of an hereditary chief the next male heir shall inherit the title and estates. But should such female afterwards have a legitimate male issue the title and estates shall revert to the male issue of the female upon the death of the male in possession of the estate:
Provided that the female that is the heir shall occupy the town allotment and the plantation lands appertaining to such title but the hereditary estates that is the lands occupied by the people shall be held by the inheritor of the title.
Whereas by Tongan custom provision has always been made that an adopted child might succeed to the estates and titles of his adoptive father now therefore it is decreed that upon the death of the holder of an estate or title who has inherited such estate or title by virtue of his blood descent from such adopted child the estate and title shall revert to the descendant by blood of the original holder of the estate and title in accordance with the provisions of this clause and should there be alive no such descendant by blood the provisions of the one hundred and twelfth clause shall apply.
And whereas by Tongan custom the noble Niukapu forms part of the 'Ulutolu line, now therefore it is decreed that in the event the holder of the estate and title of Niukapu is not a descendant by blood of the original Niukapu before 1875, such estate and title shall revert at the death of such holder to a descendant by blood of the Niukapu line.
Should there be no legitimate heirs to an estate such estate shall revert to the King. But the King may confer the title and estate upon any other person and the person so appointed and his heirs shall possess such title and estates for ever.
Tongan male subjects by birth of or over the age of 16 years may be granted town allotments and tax allotments out of estates granted in pursuance of this Constitution with the consent of or upon consultation with the estate holder and out of the lands of the Crown, by the Minister of Lands. Such allotments shall be hereditary and shall be of such size and at an annual rent as may be determined by law. A widow shall have the right to succeed according to law, to her deceased husband's tax and town allotments.
No lease, sub-lease, transfer of a lease or of a sub-lease shall be granted—
Provided that no consent shall be granted to a lease by a widow of the land of her deceased husband.
This Constitution may be cited as The Act of Constitution of Tonga.
Provided that the failure of any representative to attend any meeting, for whatever reason, shall not affect the validity of proceedings under this section;