State courts and the regulation of land disputes in Ghana: the litigants’ perspective | Land Portal

Informations sur la ressource

Date of publication: 
janvier 2005
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 
eldis:A14418

This paper argues that Ghanaian litigants in land disputes favour authoritative state legal-institutions over out-of-court settlements. Current policy debates on how to protect the land rights of the majority of customary land holders revolve around the respective merits of customary and non-state regulation (said to be accessible, flexible and socially embedded) versus state systems, which are said to offer more certainty, impartiality and nondiscriminatory codes and procedures. In Ghana, customary and state legal codes have been integrated for some time, and the state courts (which are frequently used as first instance adjudicators) apply customary rules.Drawing on interviews and surveys conducted within three state courts the following themes are considered:the state and non-state regulation of land disputes in Ghanawhy it is that people go to courtthe background to court systems and their effectiveness in solving land disputesproblems and experiences associated with litigation, how 'user-friendly' the courts areThe author concludes that:despite problems and time delays, an authoritative and enforceable settlement in a state court was favoured by litigantslitigants often had a positive view of the court process, viewing it as an essential part of establishing their land rightsthe courts are not alien and inappropriate in rulings, as frequently supposedjudges were well respected and perceived as flexible and 'user-friendly' by litigantslitigants extreme reluctance to entertain out-of-court settlements casts doubt on the notion that proposals to move to more use of Alternative Dispute Resolutions (ADRs) will be successful if they fail to offer equivalent authority, fairness and enforceability.

Auteurs et éditeurs

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

R. C. Crook

Publisher(s): 

Fournisseur de données

eldis (ELDIS)

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