Judges in Ghana have been urged to expedite hearing of land litigations as part of efforts to increase development and economic growth.
The Dean of the Faculty of Law and Business at at Laweh University College, Mr Kaaka Dello-Ziem explained that when land cases drag for long, it does not send good signal to potential investors.
Speaking in an interview with the media on the sidelines of a three-day workshop held on Real Estate Law and Management in Ghana, organized by the Faculty of Law and Business, Laweh University College, in Accra, Mr Kaaka Dello-Ziem the Chief Justice is concerned about the snail pace at which land cases move in the country.
“I must be honest with you, it is one of the areas the Chief Justice currently is much more concerned about in terms of fast tracking cases about land.
“Land is a viable commercial venture, once you have a land for a property it serves a purpose either for sheltering the family of for renting purposes or for commercial purposes, or for other purposes that will make the family or the person comfortable in life. So cases that stay in court for a long time is rather an issue. That is one thing that our judges in this country would have to look at that.
“Of course, I must commend the Chief Justice so far for his able initiative to ensure that there is fast track in dealing with land litigations. I will recommend that judges should speed up with dealing with land and litigated cases to ensure they contribute to the faster accelerated development of this country.”
Mr Kaaka Dello-Ziem further explained the rationale for the workshop.
He said it was it provide the right legal knowledge in the real estate sector of the economy.
“Since I assumed office as the Dean of Faculty of Law and Business, I have seen a lot, having studied through Law School, being in academia, I have observed a lot of challenges in the real estate industry which affect both the purchasers or people acquiring either land or property and the sellers as well as their agents.
“Why is this challenge so prevalent? It is soo prevalent due to the lack of legal framework which is making the real estate industry having some kind of challenge in its development. But I must assure you the real estate industry is one of the biggest industries that is creating jobs for Ghanaians yet, it is the area that has a lot of chunk of litigations at the courts.
“It doesn’t bring the faster development that Ghanaians need. If a land is being litigated for so many years or a property is under litigation for so many years then it sort of stuck development and it denies the potential buyer or owners of enjoying their properties for commercial benefits.
“As a result, the only way we can resolve the issue is giving the people the needed or the desired knowledge by educating them with the legal framework.”
For his part, a Lecturer at the Ghana School of Law, Dr Isaac Annan has asked the Lands Commission to set up a Customary Land Secretariat that will be responsible for explaining to prospective buyers which lands are available for sale and which ones are not.
In his view, this will be one of the effective ways of dealing with the issue of land litigations in the country.
He said “If you go to Customary Land Secretariat, it is critical that you will be able to know who really owns the land. What I will advise is that the Lands Commission must expedite action in making sure that the Customary Land Secretariat is established.
“So that when people now want to go and buy lands, they don’t just meet people on the street but they will go to an official place like Customary Land Secretariat and deal with them according to the law.”