Equitable interpretation of the intestate succession ACT

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Mtonga, Misozi
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The purpose of this work is to analyse how best to make the Intestate Succession Act more applicable on the ground. The dissertation therefore tries to look at what the mischief was that parliament intended to remedy, the impact of the dual legal system on the law of inheritance and whether there are any lessons that Zambia can learn from other countries experiences.The method of approach consisted mainly of interviews, desk work and case studies. From the historical development of the statutory law of inheritance, this dissertation has shown that the mischief of property grabbing arose from the manipulation of customary law of inheritance. It has also been shown that there is minimal reflection of the harmonisation of the English and customary inheritance laws in the current Intestate Succession Act. The Act reflects a departure from the various customary laws of inheritance that it attempts to unify. South Africa and Zimbabwe on the other hand, have to a great extent not westernized their laws of inheritance. These countries have used legislation to recognise the application of customary law in the area of inheritance.There is need to have an equitable interpretation of the Intestate Succession Act due to the harshness caused by the strict interpretation of the provisions of the Act. An equitable interpretation will help to make the Act more applicable as it would consider the humane interpretation of the law in accordance with the particular facts of the case. It has also been made clear from the country study that even though countries have addressed the problems of inheritance laws differently, there is great need for inheritance laws to reflect equality, justice and principles of human rights. With the increasing number of cases on property grabbing, it is essential that the Act should clearly target the cause of the problem which is the manipulation of customary law of inheritance. The Government should therefore begin by involving the local traditional leaders to ensure that the real customary law of inheritance is known by all.
Inheritance and Succession---Zambia , Decedents Estates