Sat | Nov 18, 2017

The land surveyor’s duty: The truth and nothing else

Published:Sunday | November 23, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Craig Francis
File Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change Minister, Robert Pickersgill (right), presents newly appointed land surveyor, Andre Thomas (centre), with his Instrument of Commission, during a brief presentation ceremony. Thomas was one of four newly commissioned land surveyors presented with instruments at the ceremony.
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Good day, readers. Today, we will look at your surveyor and his responsibility to you, the public and the nation as a whole.

As was said by the president of the Land Surveyors Association of Jamaica (LSAJ), Valentine McCook: "Commissioned land surveyors are de facto ex officio members of the National Land Agency." To that, LSAJ life member Roosevelt C. Thompson added: "Commissioned land surveyors are officers of the Supreme Court of Jamaica."

Both statements are true and today we will look at the role of the commissioned land surveyor.

Represents the

facts no matter what

When you engage the services of an attorney, his or her job is to be an advocate for you under all circumstances. However, when you engage the services of a commissioned land surveyor, his job is to find out the facts and present them whether they are favourable to you or not.

In the event that a client is having a boundary dispute with his/her neighbour and he/she engages the services of a commissioned land surveyor, this doesn't mean that the land surveyor is there as an agent to arrive at a determination to support the position of the client, nor is the land surveyor there to ensure that the dispute is settled in favour of the client.

The land surveyor will adjudicate the matter, conduct the requisite mathematical computations and investigations and present his/her findings representing the facts. If this means that the client was wrong about where the boundary was in the dispute, then that is what the commissioned land surveyor will tell him.

Sometimes when there are boundary disputes and one party hires a commissioned land surveyor, the other party is suspicious as he believes that because the land surveyor is being paid by the other party the determination will be in favour of the client.

I can assure you that this is not the case as the commissioned land surveyor is there to arrive at the truth, and whatever that is and whatever the outcome is, favourable to his client or not, that's what he will deliver, the truth.

Land surveyor's fiduciary duty

When a commissioned land surveyor is employed to do a surveyor's identification report, he/she will report the findings on the property and not what is favourable to that client. The land surveyor's job is to arrive at the truth of the status of the property at the time of his/her visit and to report honestly the facts. So if there are breaches or encroachments he/she has a fiduciary duty to himself, the client and the end user of that report to represent and report them.

So I implore you, whenever you engage the services of your commissioned land surveyor expect the truth and don't expect him to support your position no matter what. If his/her findings run contrary to your claim he/she is obligated to report his findings truthfully and not what is favourable to you. So be cognisant of this and be confident that your commissioned land surveyor will always represent the truth.

Keep sending your questions and comments and let's continue to explore A Matter Land. Until next time, traverse well.

n Craig Francis is a commissioned land surveyor and managing director of Precision Surveying Services Ltd. He can be contacted for questions or queries at craig_r_francis@yahoo.com or his Facebook page Precision Surveying Services