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General News of Friday, 29 November 2002

Source: GNA

Land Litigation Tops Court Cases

Statistics at the High Court Registry in Accra shows that land litigation ranks first in the number of cases pending at the courts. About 60,000 cases have been registered in the superior courts alone this year. A private legal practitioner, Nene A.O. Amegatcher told chiefs in Kumasi that "as for the lower courts, they are so overwhelmed that they are unable to give the statistical data pertaining to land matters filed and pending before them".

Nene Amegatcher was speaking on the topic: "Land dispute settlement: the role of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)", at a two-day workshop organised for members of the National House of Chiefs in Kumasi.

The workshop was organised by the GTZ-Legal Pluralism and Gender Project and attended by about 38 chiefs, including some operators in land administration to create a forum for the discussion of strategies towards improving and rationalising the difficulties associated with land dispute settlements.

(quote)(quote)On the average, it takes five to eight years to resolve land cases through the courts. A check at the high court registry would reveal that there are land cases filed in the 1960’s which are still pending," Nene Amegatcher.

Nene Amegatcher said the choking of the courts with land litigation cases results in delays, frustrations and huge financial losses to contestants, adding that this underscores why chiefs must work diligently to devise and use alternative methods of resolving land disputes.

The Deputy Director of Surveys, Alhaji Ridwan Braimah advised chiefs to make it a social duty to engage only professional surveyors to demarcate their boundaries for them.

He said although it might be costly, "it is still worth it since the use of cheap labour of quack and fake surveyors only end up in such work being rejected by the planning authorities and also sparking off disputes."