Local Case Studies in African Land Law

A new book from the Pretoria University Law Press offers Local Case Studies in African Land Law, and is edited by Robert Home.  From the flyer:

Local Case Studies in Africa Land Law

Land law in Africa is complex and dynamic, and shaped by powerful forces which include colonialism, population growth, market economics and environmental change. This book and its companion volume – one on themes, the other on local case studies – bring together contributions from 22 experts. They are mainly African academics and consultants who may be based in their home countries, but also elsewhere in Africa and outside the continent. The majority are lawyers, but other specialisms concerned with land are also represented, including planners, land surveyors, geographers and social scientists. The authors came together for two workshops held in Kenya and the United Kingdom in 2010.

This book on case studies in African land law is one of a pair, the other presenting essays on different themes. It is not so easy to achieve an overview, nor to find specialist writers in the field. Land law has traditionally been regarded as a difficult subject to teach, and specialists are fewer in the law departments of African universities than one might expect. A quick scan of the index to fifty years of the Journal of African Law reveals less than one article a year with ‘land’ in the title, the most popular topics being the Nigerian Land Use Decree and tribal tenure in Botswana. Africa is less well served than other continents by specialist property law networks, and less represented at international academic conferences in the field. While Stellenbosch University in South Africa has a programme training academic land law specialists, that is an isolated initiative. The search for contributors to these books produced more non-Africans and those of the African diaspora than Africans working in their home country. Nor is African land law the exclusive preserve of lawyers, so other professions have represented, such as land surveyors, land economists and planners, as well as those working in NGOs. The list of authors thus includes a Cameroonian based in the USA, two Ghanaians and a Zimbabwean in UK academia, and within Africa a Tanzanian in Botswana and a Zambian in Namibia. With much research coming from outside the continent, non-African authors include three British, one French (geographer), one French-Canadian, one Texan (geographer), and one Dutch (land surveyor).

The two books attempt a balanced regional and thematic coverage.

The editor is Robert Home, Professor in Land Management at Anglia Ruskin University (UK), and the books are part of a series on the rule of law in Africa, supported by the World Bank.

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