The effectiveness of the courts of judicature in promoting security of occupancy of lawful and bonafide occupants on registered land in Uganda
Musene, Masalu Wilson
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The restoration of mailo land tenure by the 1995 Constitution and the Land Act, and at the same time recognizing the rights of the lawful and bonafide occupants on the same piece of land is the main cause of conflicts between registered mailo owners on one hand and lawful and bonafide occupants on the other. The Land Act as amended by, the Land (Amendment) Act No.1, 2010, criminalizes the move by anybody to evict lawful and bonafide occupants on registered land without a valid Court order. This categorically brought the Courts at the center stage of implementing the Act. This research is centered on the effectiveness and challenges of the Courts of Judicature in promoting security of occupancy of lawful and bonafide occupants on registered land in Uganda. The research largely employed qualitative research methods relying on both primary and secondary sources of data. The study analyses the emergence of conflicting interests over the same piece of land which shapes the contemporary disputes between bonafide and lawful occupants on one side and registered owners on the other. It notes that the 1995 Constitution and the Land Act sought to address these conflicting interests. The research notes that Courts of Judicature have recognized and enforced security of occupancy of lawful and bonafide occupants in the cases that have come before them. However, in other cases, they have adopted very strict interpretations to the law. The courts of judicature are faced with a number of challenges in their attempt to promoted security of occupancy of lawful and bonafide occupants. The key challenges identified in this research include multiplicity of land dispute resolution institutions, continuing effect of old laws, high costs of litigation, lack of motivation, inadequate resources and lack of specialization in land matters. The study recommends streamlining institutions, decentralizing land justice, modernization of courts, increasing funding for courts of judicature, exemption from fees and confronting the land question by addressing the underlying cause of the conflicts.
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