The assessment and impact of the lands tribunal in resolving land disputes under the new legislative framework

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Muyunda, Maimbolwa Gloria
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The Lands Tribunal was set up with the aim of creating a forum through which land-related disputes could be disposed of in a quick, flexible and cost effective manner. However, its functions were greatly undermined by jurisdictional restrictions imposed by the Lands Act as well as the various decisions of the Supreme Court. This extremely narrowed the number of cases the tribunal could deal with to an extent that it was almost rendered defunct. In view of the foregoing, the Lands Tribunal Act was enacted. This Act seeks to extend the jurisdiction of the Lands Tribunal. This dissertation seeks to make an assessment as to whether the jurisdiction of the Lands Tribunal under the Lands Tribunal Act has been extended and whether it has had any impact in resolving land disputes.A qualitative study has been used in this research. It has invoked, desk research based mostly on secondary data which included, inter alia, Acts of Parliament, statutory instruments, cases law, parliamentary debates and parliamentary committee reports, and case law. It also involved interviews with the Registrar of the Lands Tribunal and litigants who appeared before the Tribunal.This study revealed that the jurisdiction of the Tribunal has indeed been extended in that the Tribunal is now able to hear and determine land disputes which are on title, disputes under customary land as well as those under site and service schemes. However, the Lands Tribunal Act took over a year to become operational after it was enacted and in the meantime there has been no continuity in the operations of the Tribunal. Secondly, as at the time of this study, members of the Tribunal had not yet been appointed. Invariably, the Act confers a lot of discretionary powers on the Minister in so far as the making of such appointments is concerned; as a result, external control is difficult. Consequently, the Tribunal is completely non-functional and as such has had a negative impact in resolving disputes under the new legislative framework, in that it is not available for resolution of land disputes.Several recommendations have been made among them that members of the Tribunal should be employed on a permanent basis in order to allow for continuity and total dedication. There should also be provision for ad hoc arbitration to deal with land disputes while waiting for the Tribunal to become operational.
Land use--Law and legislation--Zambia , Land tenure--Law and legislation , Administrative courts