Audit  Audit of the Land Court Department

The audit examined whether LCD administered escrow funds and oversaw its partition commissioner list and appointments in accordance with state law.

Organization: Office of the State Auditor
Date published: March 31, 2022

Executive Summary

In accordance with Section 12 of Chapter 11 of the Massachusetts General Laws, the Office of the State Auditor has conducted a performance audit of various activities of the Land Court Department (LCD) for the period July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2021. The purpose of this audit was to determine whether LCD administered escrow funds in accordance with Sections 1.9, 3.2.3, and 3.9 of the Executive Office of the Trial Court’s Fiscal Systems Manual, as well as Section 6 of Chapter 200A of the General Laws, and whether LCD oversaw its partition commissioner1 list and appointments in accordance with Section 12 of Chapter 241 of the General Laws and Sections 1–4, 5d, 6, and 7 of Rule 1:07 of the Massachusetts Rules and Orders of the Supreme Judicial Court.

Below is a summary of our findings and recommendations, with links to each page listed.

Finding 1

LCD did not include accurate information on, and omitted 38 partition commissioner appointments from, its publicly available master list of partition commissioners.


LCD should develop policies and procedures to track partition commissioners assigned to cases and ensure that the master list of partition commissioners is complete and accurate based on their assignments to cases.

Finding 2

Funds totaling $58,018 that were held in seven abandoned escrow accounts were not transferred promptly to the Office of the State Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Division (UPD) three years after the cases were closed.


  1. LCD should establish and implement procedures for abandoned escrow account funds.
  2. LCD should notify real estate stakeholders 60 days before transferring property to UPD.

Finding 3

LCD did not retain notarized “Commissioner Oaths” for 11 of 58 partition commissioner appointments in either MassCourts or its hardcopy files.


LCD should amend its policies and procedures to ensure that “Commissioner Oaths” are maintained in its hardcopy files and uploaded to MassCourts.


A PDF of the audit of the Land Court Department is available here.

1.    A partition commissioner is an attorney appointed by a judge to determine how a property should be divided.





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