Ghana’s Lands Bill which is expected to be passed soon, makes Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mandatory for all land related disputes.
Section 95 (1) of the Bill, states that “An action concerning any land or interest in land in a registration district shall not be commenced in any Court until the procedures for resolution of disputes by alternative dispute resolution under the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act, 2010 (Act 798) have been exhausted.”
The provision for mandatory ADR has been included in the Bill, which seeks to harmonise the many land laws in the country, in recognition of the need for a more amicable and convenient approach in addressing the unending and rampant land disputes and conflicts.
It comes in the wake of plans by the Judicial Service to make ADR mandatory for all civil cases, and a precondition for court trial.
Thousands of land disputes have clogged the courts, while violent clashes over the ownership of land have resulted in many deaths and destruction of property.
In spite of the many separate laws governing land ownership, acquisition, usage and development, land disputes have been on the rise in Ghana for decades, especially in the cities of Accra and Takoradi recording many land clashes.
Apart from the high demand for land and the increasing quest for land ownership which have been major factors fueling land disputes especially in the Greater Accra region, the multiplicity of laws has also been a factor.
According to Alhaji Sulemana Mahama, Technical Director at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, the objective of the Bill is to revise and consolidate the laws on land, with the view of harmonizing those laws to ensure sustainable land administration and management, effective land tenure, efficient surveying and mapping regimes and to provide for related matters.
During an interaction with a Professional Masters class of ADR students in Accra, Alhaji Mahama explained that the Bill was undergoing review by the Parliamentary Sub-Committee on Lands, and expressed optimism that it would soon be passed.
By: Edmund Mingle/adrdaily.com