(a) Referred to Examiner. - Upon the return day of the summons the petition shall be set down for hearing upon the pleadings and exhibits filed. If any person claiming an interest in the land described in the petition, or any lien thereon, shall file an answer, the petition and answer, together with all exhibits filed, shall be referred to the examiner of titles, who shall proceed, after notice to the petitioner and the persons who have filed answer or answered, to hear the cause upon such parol or documentary evidence as may be offered or called for and taken by him, and in addition thereto make such independent examination of the title as may be necessary. Upon his request the clerk shall issue a commission under the seal of the court for taking such testimony as shall be beyond the jurisdiction of such examiner.
(b) Examiner's Report. - The examiner shall, within 30 days after such hearing, unless for good cause the time shall be extended, file with the clerk a report of his conclusions of law and fact, setting forth the state of such title, any liens or encumbrances thereon, by whom held, amount due thereon, together with an abstract of title to the lands and any other information in regard thereto affecting its validity.
(c) Exceptions to Report. - Any of the parties to the proceeding may, within 20 days after such report is filed, file exceptions, either to the conclusions of law or fact. Whereupon the clerk shall transmit the record to the judge of the superior court for his determination thereof; such judge may on his own motion certify any issue of fact arising upon any such exceptions to the superior court of the county in which the proceeding is pending, for a trial of such issue by jury, and he shall so certify such issue of fact for trial by jury upon the demand of any party to the proceeding. If, upon consideration of such record, or the record and verdict of issues to be certified and tried by jury, the title be found in the petitioner, the judge shall enter a decree to that effect, ascertaining all limitations, liens, etc., declaring the land entitled to registration accordingly, and the same, together with the record, shall be docketed by the clerk of the court as in other cases, and a copy of the decree certified to the register of deeds of the county for registration as hereinafter provided. Any of the parties may appeal from such judgment to the appellate division, as in other special proceedings.
(d) No Judgment by Default. - No judgment in any proceeding under this Chapter shall be given by default, but the court must require an examination of the title in every instance except as respects the rights of parties who, by proper pleadings, admit the petitioner's claim. If, upon the return day of the summons and the day upon which the petition is set down for hearing, no answer be filed, the clerk shall refer the same to the examiner of titles, who shall, after notice to the petitioner, proceed to examine the title, together with all liens or encumbrances set forth or referred to in the petition and exhibits, and shall examine the registry of deeds, mortgages, wills, judgments, mechanic liens and other records of the county, and upon such examination he shall, as hereinbefore provided, report to the clerk the condition of the title, with a notice of liens or encumbrances thereon. The examiner shall have power to take and call for evidence in such case as fully as if the application were being contested. If the title shall be found to be in the petitioner, the clerk shall enter a decree to that effect and declaring the land entitled to registration, with entry of any limitations, liens, etc., and shall certify the same for registration, as hereinbefore provided, after approval by the judge of the superior court. (1913, c. 90, s. 8; C.S., s. 2387; 1969, c. 44, s. 48.)