2016 Illinois Compiled Statutes
Chapter 765 - PROPERTY
765 ILCS 540/ - Coal Rights Act.

(765 ILCS 540/1)
Sec. 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Coal Rights Act.
(Source: P.A. 92-390, eff. 8-16-01.)


(765 ILCS 540/5)
Sec. 5. Purpose. In recognition of the fact that an estate of a joint owner in coal can be enjoyed only by mining, removing, and selling the products of the coal, and that the mining, removal, and sale of coal by one joint owner therefore constitutes the use and not the destruction of the common estate, the purpose of this Act is to clarify the rights of joint owners of coal in this State, to promote and preserve the value of coal reserves in the State, and to maximize the recovery of coal through the orderly and efficient development of coal reserves for the benefit of all joint owners in a fair and equitable manner.
(Source: P.A. 92-390, eff. 8-16-01.)


(765 ILCS 540/10)
Sec. 10. Definitions. As used in this Act:
"Joint owner" means a person or entity that is a joint tenant, a tenant in common, or a tenant by the entirety.
"Coal owner" means a person or entity vested with a whole or undivided fee simple interest or other freehold interest in the coal estate, but "coal owner" does not include a person or entity with a leasehold or any other lesser estate.
(Source: P.A. 92-390, eff. 8-16-01.)


(765 ILCS 540/15)
Sec. 15. Venue. Proceedings under this Act must be brought in the circuit court of the county in which coal lands sought to be affected, or the major portion of those lands, is located.
(Source: P.A. 92-390, eff. 8-16-01.)


(765 ILCS 540/20)
Sec. 20. Joint owners; trusts.
(a) If the title to coal is owned by joint tenants, tenants in common, or tenants by the entirety, whether the title is derived by purchase, legacy, or descent, any coal owner or owners vested with at least a one-half interest in the coal under the lands, or any coal lessee of the coal owner or owners, upon proper petition, shall be authorized to mine and remove coal from the land in the manner provided in this Act, provided, however, that a petition shall not be authorized under this Act for the mining and removal of coal by the surface method of mining unless all of the owners of the surface consent to the mining and removal of coal by the surface method of mining.
This Act affects only coal owners, as defined in Section 10 of this Act, and does not affect the rights of surface owners, except to the extent that they may also be coal owners.
(b) The circuit court of the county in which the coal lands or the major portion of those lands lie has the power to declare a trust in those lands, appoint a trustee for all persons owning an interest in the coal who are not plaintiffs, and authorize the trustee to sell, execute, and deliver a valid lease on those lands on behalf of all of the defendants on terms and conditions approved by the circuit court for the purposes provided in this Act. The lease shall continue in full force and effect after the termination of the trust unless the lease has previously expired by its own terms.
(Source: P.A. 92-390, eff. 8-16-01.)


(765 ILCS 540/25)
Sec. 25. Proceedings for appointment of trustee. Proceedings for the appointment of a trustee may be instituted by any person or persons (i) vested in fee simple with at least an undivided one-half interest in the coal sought to be developed or (ii) vested with a valid and subsisting coal lease, the lessor of which is a person defined in subdivision (i).
(Source: P.A. 92-390, eff. 8-16-01.)


(765 ILCS 540/30)
Sec. 30. Procedure.
(a) The person or persons seeking to impress a trust upon a coal interest for the purpose of leasing and developing it shall join as the defendant or defendants all persons, other than the plaintiff or plaintiffs, having a legal interest in the coal. All parties not in being who might have some contingent or future interest in the coal and all persons, whether in being or not in being, having any interest, whether present, future, or contingent, in the coal interest sought to be leased shall be fully bound by the proceedings.
(b) A verified petition shall be filed specifically setting forth the following:
(1) The request of the plaintiff or plaintiffs that a

trustee be appointed to execute a lease granting the plaintiff or plaintiffs the right to mine and remove coal from the subject lands.

(2) The legal description of the lands.
(3) The interest of the plaintiff or plaintiffs in

the coal underlying the lands.

(4) The apparent interest of the defendant or

defendants in the coal underlying the lands.

(5) That the plaintiff or plaintiffs are willing to

purchase a mineral lease covering the interest of the defendant or defendants and that the existence of these unleased mineral interests is detrimental to and impairs the enjoyment of the interest of the plaintiff or plaintiffs.

(c) If in any action there are persons who would be unknown parties as defined in Section 2-413 of the Code of Civil Procedure, those persons may be made defendants to the action in the same manner and with the same effect as provided in the Code of Civil Procedure. The defendant or defendants shall be given notice of the pendency of the action by publication as provided in the Code of Civil Procedure.
(d) The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for any party to the proceeding who is a ward and is not represented by a guardian.
(e) If it appears that any person not in being, upon coming into being, is or may become or may claim to be entitled to any interest in the property sought to be leased, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem to appear for and represent the interest in the proceeding and to defend the proceeding on behalf of the person not in being, and any judgment or order rendered in the proceeding is as effectual for all purposes as though the person were in being and were a party to the proceeding.
(f) The court shall take evidence and hear testimony as to the matters set forth in the petition. The court shall determine the prevailing terms of similar coal leases obtained in the vicinity of the lands described in the petition, including, but not limited to, length of primary term, bonus moneys, delay rentals, royalty rates, and other forms of lease payments. If, upon taking evidence and hearing testimony, it appears that the material allegations of the petition are true and that there has been compliance with the notice provisions of this Act, the court shall enter an order determining the interest of each defendant in the coal sought to be leased. The court shall also appoint a trustee for the purpose of executing in favor of the plaintiff or plaintiffs a coal lease covering the interest of the defendant or defendants. The judgment appointing the trustee and authorizing the execution of the lease shall specify the minimum terms which may be accepted by the trustee. Those terms shall be substantially consistent with the terms of other similar coal leases obtained in the vicinity as determined by the court. The terms of the coal lease shall also be substantially consistent with the terms of other existing leases, if any, covering the remaining coal interests in the lands described in the petition. The lands to be covered by the coal lease shall be contiguous. To the extent that any of the lands described in the petition are not contiguous to other lands in the petition, those lands shall be the subject of separate coal leases. The court shall determine a reasonable fee to be paid to the trustee and that fee, together with the reasonable attorney's fees and costs of the proceeding incurred by the trustee, shall be paid by the plaintiff or plaintiffs.
(g) The plaintiff or plaintiffs shall forthwith furnish the court with a report of proceedings of the evidence received and testimony taken at the hearing on the petition, and the report of proceedings shall be filed and made a part of the case record.
(h) In all suits under this Act, the court may investigate and determine all questions of conflicting or controverted titles, remove clouds from the title to the coal, and establish and confirm the title to the coal or the right to mine and remove coal from any of the lands.
(i) An action filed under this Act may be joined with an action under the Severed Mineral Interest Act.
(Source: P.A. 92-390, eff. 8-16-01.)


(765 ILCS 540/35)
Sec. 35. Coal leases; report by trustee. The trustee shall enter into negotiations with the plaintiff or plaintiffs and shall execute a coal lease in favor of the plaintiff or plaintiffs covering the interest of the defendant or defendants. The terms of the coal lease shall be in accordance with the findings and judgment of the court. The trustee shall forthwith prepare and file a report of sale of the coal lease stating the terms of the lease and the payments received for the lease and give notice to all parties appearing of record. If the court finds that the sale was in accordance with its judgment, the sale shall be confirmed by court order and the court shall order the trust terminated and the trustee and his or her bond discharged.
(Source: P.A. 92-390, eff. 8-16-01.)


(765 ILCS 540/40)
Sec. 40. Payment. All moneys due to the defendant or defendants under the lease executed by the trustee shall be paid by the plaintiff or plaintiffs directly to the defendant or defendants.
(Source: P.A. 92-390, eff. 8-16-01.)


(765 ILCS 540/45)
Sec. 45. Binding effect of lease. The sale of and execution of any coal lease under this Act is binding in all respects as to all of the interest in the coal and the right to mine and remove the coal owned by the defendant or defendants to the action in the same manner as if the defendant or defendants had personally signed and delivered the lease. The lease shall be binding upon the heirs, legatees, personal representatives, successors, and assigns of the defendant or defendants.
(Source: P.A. 92-390, eff. 8-16-01.)


(765 ILCS 540/50)
Sec. 50. Incapacity of trustee; subsequent proceedings.
(a) In the event of the death or resignation of the trustee or the refusal or inability of the trustee to act, the court, upon its own motion or upon the motion of the plaintiff or plaintiffs, shall appoint a successor trustee.
(b) After the entry of the initial judgment authorizing a lease, all subsequent proceedings pertaining to the lands and the coal interest involved in the initial litigation, including subsequent leasing proceedings or proceedings by the trustee requesting authority to execute and deliver additional documents pertaining to a coal lease, shall be commenced and prosecuted in the same case as the proceedings for the initial lease. The acting trustee at the time of any subsequent proceedings shall act as the trustee in those proceedings. The court shall retain continuing authority and jurisdiction to conduct the subsequent proceedings.
(Source: P.A. 92-390, eff. 8-16-01.)


(765 ILCS 540/55)
Sec. 55. Costs. All court costs incident to the proceedings authorized under this Act shall be paid by the plaintiff or plaintiffs.
(Source: P.A. 92-390, eff. 8-16-01.)


(765 ILCS 540/60)
Sec. 60. Construction. This Act shall be liberally construed so that any lease issued under this Act conveys merchantable title.
(Source: P.A. 92-390, eff. 8-16-01.)


(765 ILCS 540/99)
Sec. 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon becoming law.
(Source: P.A. 92-390, eff. 8-16-01.)


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