Jurisdiction of the Land Court

Learn about Land Court jurisdiction.

Table of Contents


The Land Court Department of the Trial Court has statewide jurisdiction. While the court has jurisdiction throughout the Commonwealth, the justices of the Land Court normally sit in Boston. However, it is usual, where the circumstances warrant and counsel request, for the court to hold trials in other locations within the state. The court has exclusive, original jurisdiction over the registration of title to real property and over all matters and disputes concerning such title subsequent to registration. The court also exercises exclusive original jurisdiction over the foreclosure and redemption of real estate tax liens. The court shares, with certain other court departments, jurisdiction over other property matters. Effective January 1, 2003, the court has concurrent jurisdiction over specific performance of contracts relating to real estate and over petitions for partitions of real estate. Under G.L. c.40A and 41, the court shares jurisdiction over matters arising out of decisions by local planning boards and zoning boards of appeal. Both the Land Court and the Superior Court Department have jurisdiction over the processing of Servicemembers cases which determine the military status of a mortgagor, typically filed prior to the commencement of non-judicial mortgage foreclosure activity. Additionally, the court has superintendency authority over the registered land office in each registry of deeds.

The full text of the G. L. c. 185.

Permit session

Pursuant to Chapter 205 of the Acts of 2006 (An Act Relative to Streamlining and Expediting the Permitting Process in The Commonwealth), effective August 2, 2006, the Legislature established a separate session of the land court department, known as the permit session. This session has original jurisdiction, concurrent with the superior court department over certain civil actions involving land use and environmental permitting.

Cases filed in the permit session are limited to those involving either 25 or more dwelling units or the construction or alteration or 25,000 square feet or more of gross floor area or both. Cases filed in the permit session will not be accepted for filing unless accompanied by a completed Permit Session Civil Cover Sheet, on which Plaintiff must certify that the case is within the jurisdiction of the permit session, and indicating the jurisdictional grounds. The Permit Session Civil Cover Sheet is available on this website, as is the Revised Land Court Civil Cover Sheet, to be used when filing all other Land Court cases. All permit session cases must be commenced by filing at the Land Court Recorder's office at 3 Pemberton Square, 5th Floor, Boston, MA 02018.

The Permit Session Cover Sheet is to be used only for those cases which are within the jurisdiction of the permit session pursuant to Chapter 205 of the Acts of 2006)

The full text of Chapter 205 of the Acts of 2006.

Contact   for Jurisdiction of the Land Court


(617) 788-8951


3 Pemberton Square, 5th floor, Boston, MA 02108
Last updated: June 21, 2021

Help Us Improve Mass.gov  with your feedback

Please do not include personal or contact information.