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LAND ACT.

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS.

   Section

PART I
INTERPRETATION.

   1.   Interpretation.

PART II
LAND HOLDING.

   2.   Land ownership.

   3.   Incidents of forms of tenure.

   4.   Certificate of customary ownership.

   5.   Functions of committee on application for certificate of customary ownership.

   6.   Procedures for application for certificate of customary ownership.

   7.   Functions and procedure of board on application for certificate of customary ownership.

   8.   Incidents of certificate of customary ownership.

   9.   Conversion of customary tenure to freehold tenure.

   10.   Application for grant of land in freehold.

   11.   Functions of the committee on application for freehold tenure.

   12.   Procedures for application for freehold tenure.

   13.   Functions of board on application for freehold tenure.

   14.   Duties of Commissioner in respect of applications under sections 9 and 10.

   15.   Communal land associations.

   16.   Meeting to form association and elect a managing committee.

   17.   Constitution of an association.

   18.   Incorporation of officers as managing committee.

   19.   Powers of managing committee.

   20.   Disputes.

   21.   Dissolution and decertification of an association.

   22.   Individual holding of land created out of communal land.

   23.   Establishment of areas of common land use in communally-owned land.

   24.   Management of areas of common land use.

   25.   Content of common land management scheme.

   26.   Basic rights and duties of members of the community using common land.

   27.   Rights of women, children and persons with a disability regarding customary land.

   28.   Conversion of leasehold into freehold.

   29.   Meaning of "lawful occupant" and "bona fide occupant".

   30.   Mediator to assist persons not qualified to be bona fide occupants.

   31.   Tenant by occupancy.

   32.   Jurisdiction of District Land Tribunal in respect of non-payment of ground rent.

   32A.   Lawful or bona fide occupants to be evicted only for non payment of ground rent.

   33.   Certificate of occupancy.

   34.   Transactions with the tenancy by occupancy.

   35.   Option to purchase.

   36.   Mutual agreement between tenant by occupancy and registered owner.

   37.   Abandonment and termination of occupancy.

   38.   [Repealed].

   38A.   Security of occupancy.

   39.   Restrictions on transfer of family land.

   40.   Acquisition of land by a non-citizen.

   41.   Land Fund.

PART III
CONTROL OF LAND USE.

   42.   Acquisition of land by the Government.

   43.   Utilisation of land according to various laws.

   44.   Control of environmentally sensitive areas.

   45.   Land use planning and zoning.

PART IV
LAND MANAGEMENT.

Uganda Land Commission.

   46.   Establishment of the commission.

   47.   Membership of the commission.

   48.   Tenure of office.

   49.   Functions of the commission.

   50.   Secretary and other officers of the commission.

   51.   Meetings of the commission.

   52.   Authentication of common seal, etc.

   53.   Powers of the commission.

   54.   Salaries and expenses of the commission.

   55.   Commission to conform to Government policy.

District land boards.

   56.   Establishment of district land boards.

   57.   Membership of a board.

   58.   Tenure of office of members of a board.

   59.   Functions of a board.

   60.   Powers of a board.

   61.   Secretary to a board, etc.

   62.   Meetings of a board.

   63.   Expenses of a board, remuneration of members and audit.

Land committees.

   64.   Establishment of Land Committees.

   65.   Qualification for appointment as member of a committee.

   66.   Remuneration of members of committees.

   67.   Meetings of the committee.

   68.   Recorder.

General powers of disposal and rights.

   69.   General powers of disposal.

   70.   Water rights.

   71.   Rights of way.

   72.   Rights of officials to encamp.

   73.   Execution of public works.

PART V
DISTRICT LAND TRIBUNALS.

District Land Tribunals.

   74.   District Land Tribunals.

   75.   Tenure of office of members of District Land Tribunals.

   76.   Jurisdiction of District Land Tribunals.

   76A.   Modification of Cap. 8.

   77.   Computation of compensation.

   78.   Rules of procedure.

   79.   Assistant Commissioner of District Land Tribunal.

   79A.   Registration of District Land Tribunals.

   79B.   Management of administrative affairs of District Land Tribunal.

   79C.   Existing Officers.

   79D.   Supervisory powers over District Land Tribunals.

Subcounty and urban land tribunals, etc.

   80–86.   [Repealed].

   87.   Right of appeal.

   88.   Customary dispute settlement and mediation.

   89.   Functions of the mediator.

PART VI
MISCELLANEOUS.

   90.   Disposal of fees, etc.

   91.   Special powers of Commissioner.

   92.   Offences and penalties.

   93.   Regulations.

   94.   Power of Minister to amend Schedule.

   95.   Transitional provisions.

   96.   Saving.

      Schedule   Currency point.

CHAPTER 227
THE LAND ACT.

Commencement: 2 July, 1998.

   An Act to provide for the tenure, ownership and management of land; to amend and consolidate the law relating to tenure, ownership and management of land; and to provide for other related or incidental matters.

PART I
INTERPRETATION.

1.   Interpretation.

   In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

   (a)   "alienated" means alienated by the grant of an estate in freehold or leasehold which is registered under the Registration of Titles Act, and "unalienated" shall be interpreted accordingly;

   (b)   "association" means a communal land association established by section 15;

   (c)   "authorised undertaker" means a person or authority authorised or required by law to execute public works;

   (d)   "board" means a district land board established by article 240 of the Constitution and referred to in section 56;

   (e)   "bona fide occupant" and "lawful occupant" have the meanings assigned to them in section 29;

   (f)   "certificate of customary ownership" means a certificate issued under section 4;

   (g)   "certificate of occupancy" means a certificate issued under section 33;

   (h)   "Commission" means the Uganda Land Commission established by article 238 of the Constitution and referred to in section 46;

   (i)   "Commissioner" means the Commissioner for Land Registration and includes Assistant Commissioner, Principal Registrar of Titles, Senior Registrar of Titles, Registrar of Titles, or District Registrar of Titles so appointed to the extent that he or she has been authorised to exercise or perform any power or duty conferred or imposed by this Act upon the Commissioner;

   (j)   "committee" means a land committee established by section 64;

   (k)   "community" means an indigenous community of Uganda as provided for in the Third Schedule to the Constitution, or any clan or subclan of any such indigenous community communally occupying, using or managing land;

   (l)   "currency point" has the value assigned to it in the Schedule to this Act;

   (m)   "customary tenure" means a system of land tenure regulated by customary rules which are limited in their operation to a particular description or class of persons the incidents of which are described in section 3;

   (n)      "District Land Tribunal" means the District Land Tribunal established under section 75 of this Act;

   (o)   "former controlling authority" means the Uganda Land Commission or a designated authority in existence before the coming into force of the Constitution;

   (p)   "former designated authority" means a city council, municipal council, town council or town board established in a designated urban area;

   (q)   "former public land" means land previously administered under the Public Lands Act, 1969, prior to the coming into force of the Land Reform Decree, 1975;

   (r)   "freehold land tenure" means the holding of registered land in perpetuity subject to statutory and common law qualifications the incidents of which are described in section 3;

   (s)   "gazetted" means published in the official gazette by either a statutory instrument or a legal notice issued by the responsible Minister;

   (t)   "leasehold land tenure" means the holding of land for a given period from a specified date of commencement, on such terms and conditions as may be agreed upon by the lessor and lessee, the incidents of which are described in section 3, and includes a sublease;

   (u)   "mailo land tenure" means the holding of registered land in perpetuity and having roots in the allotment of land pursuant to the 1900 Uganda Agreement and subject to statutory qualifications, the incidents of which are described in section 3;

   (v)   "mediator" has the meaning assigned to it in section 89;

   (w)   "Minister" means the Minister responsible for lands;

   (x)   "public works" means the construction of railways, roads, canals or airfields; the placing of telegraph lines and electric lines, and the erection of supports for those lines; the laying of sewer and water pipes; the construction of drains; the prospecting, exploration, mining and extraction of petroleum resources; the construction of dams and hydropower plants; the establishment of meteorological and water quality stations; the construction of water and sewerage treatment plants, storage reservoirs and pumping stations; and any other works, construction of public buildings and other public institutions, declared by statutory instrument to be public works, the construction of buildings for public use, such as hospitals and universities, for the purposes of section 73; and any other works ancillary or incidental to the foregoing;

   (y)   "recorder" means the recorder established by section 68;

   (z)   "Register Book" means the book kept by the Commissioner in accordance with the Registration of Titles Act;

   (aa)   "registered owner" means the owner of registered land registered in accordance with the Registration of Titles Act;

   (bb)   "registrable interest" means an interest registrable under the Registration of Titles Act, namely, mailo, freehold, leasehold and subleasehold, but includes a certificate of customary tenure and a certificate of occupancy;

   (cc)   "road" means a road reserve as defined in the Roads Act;

   (dd)   "tenant by occupancy" means the lawful or bona fide occupant declared to be a tenant by occupancy by section 31;

   (ee)   ''third party right" means a right, interest, privilege or liberty which a person has or possesses, either indefinitely or for life or for a lesser period under customary law, common law or equity to use or occupy for a specific purpose or for a specific period all or part of the land of a landowner or to prevent a landowner from exercising any right, interest, privilege or liberty in, on, under or over his or her land, and includes but is not limited to, an easement, a profit a prendre, a usufructuary right, a restrictive covenant, a right arising out of a share-cropping agreement, a right of a person as a member of a group to go on to and to gather and use the fruits of communally owned land or a right to use land which a spouse may acquire by virtue of marriage, but does not include a lease or sub-lease;

   (ee)   "urban area" means an area gazetted as an urban area by the Minister responsible for urban affairs.

PART II
LAND HOLDING.

2.   Land ownership.

   Subject to article 237 of the Constitution, all land in Uganda shall vest in the citizens of Uganda and shall be owned in accordance with the following land tenure systems—

   (a)   customary;

   (b)   freehold;

   (c)   mailo; and

   (d)   leasehold.

3.   Incidents of forms of tenure.

   (1) Customary tenure is a form of tenure—

   (a)   applicable to a specific area of land and a specific description or class of persons;

   (b)   subject to section 27, governed by rules generally accepted as binding and authoritative by the class of persons to which it applies;

   (c)   applicable to any persons acquiring land in that area in accordance with those rules;

   (d)   subject to section 27, characterised by local customary regulation;

   (e)   applying local customary regulation and management to individual and household ownership, use and occupation of, and transactions in, land;

   (f)   providing for communal ownership and use of land;

   (g)   in which parcels of land may be recognised as subdivisions belonging to a person, a family or a traditional institution; and

   (h)   which is owned in perpetuity.

   (2) Freehold tenure is a form of tenure deriving its legality from the Constitution and its incidents from the written law which—

   (a)   involves the holding of registered land in perpetuity or for a period less than perpetuity which may be fixed by a condition;

   (b)   enables the holder to exercise, subject to the law, full powers of ownership of land, including but not necessarily limited to—

      (i)   using and developing the land for any lawful purpose;

      (ii)   taking and using any and all produce from the land;

      (iii)   entering into any transaction in connection with the land, including but not limited to selling, leasing, mortgaging or pledging, subdividing creating rights and interests for other people in the land and creating trusts of the land;

      (iv)   disposing of the land to any person either as a gift inter vivos or by will.

   (3) For the avoidance of doubt, a freehold title may be created which is subject to conditions, restrictions or limitations which may be positive or negative in their application, applicable to any of the incidents of the tenure.

   (4) Mailo tenure is a form of tenure deriving its legality from the Constitution and its incidents from the written law which—

   (a)   involves the holding of registered land in perpetuity;

   (b)   permits the separation of ownership of land from the ownership of developments on land made by a lawful or bona fide occupant; and

   (c)   enables the holder, subject to the customary and statutory rights of those persons lawful or bona fide in occupation of the land at the time that the tenure was created and their successors in title, to exercise all the powers of ownership of the owner of land held of a freehold title set out in subsections (2) and (3) and subject to the same possibility of conditions, restrictions and limitations, positive or negative in their application, as are referred to in those subsections.

   (5) Leasehold tenure is a form of tenure—

   (a)   created either by contract or by operation of law;

   (b)   the terms and conditions of which may be regulated by law to the exclusion of any contractual agreement reached between the parties;

   (c)   under which one person, namely the landlord or lessor, grants or is deemed to have granted another person, namely the tenant or lessee, exclusive possession of land usually but not necessarily for a period defined, directly or indirectly, by reference to a specific date of commencement and a specific date of ending;

   (d)   usually but not necessarily in return for a rent which may be for a capital sum known as a premium or for both a rent and a premium but may be in return for goods or services or both or may be free of any required return;

   (e)   under which both the landlord and the tenant may, subject to the terms and conditions of the lease and having due regard for the interests of the other party, exercise such of the powers of a freehold owner as are appropriate and possible given the specific nature of a leasehold tenure.

4.   Certificate of customary ownership.

   (1) Any person, family or community holding land under customary tenure on former public land may acquire a certificate of customary ownership in respect of that land in accordance with this Act.

   (2) A certificate of customary ownership shall be in the prescribed form.

   (3) An application for a certificate of customary ownership shall be in the prescribed form and shall be submitted, together with the prescribed fee, to the committee of the area in which the land the subject of the application is situated.

5.   Functions of committee on application for certificate of customary ownership.

   (1) On receipt of an application for a certificate of customary ownership, the committee shall—

   (a)   determine, verify and mark the boundaries of all interests in the land which is the subject of the application;

   (b)   demarcate rights of way and other easements over the land the subject of the application and any adjacent land which benefit or burden or are reputed to benefit or burden any such land or which it considers will be necessary for the more beneficial occupation of any such land in respect of which an application may be granted or any adjacent land;

   (c)   adjudicate upon and decide in accordance with and applying customary law any question or matter concerning the land referred to it by any person with an interest in land which is the subject of an application or any land adjacent to it, including the question of whether the customary law applicable to the land the subject of the application recognises individual rights to the occupation and use of land and, if so, subject to what conditions and limitations;

   (d)   record that if any person has, or two or more persons have, exercised rights under customary law over the land the subject of the application that should be recognised as ownership of that land, that person or those persons, as the case may be, shall, prima facie, be entitled to be issued with a certificate of customary ownership and in the case of two or more persons, the shares of each person and the nature of their ownership;

   (e)   if any persons have exercised any right over the land or any part of it or are entitled to any interest in the land or part of it not amounting to ownership, including any lease, right of occupation or use, charge, pledge or other encumbrance whether by virtue of customary law or otherwise, hereafter in this Act referred to as a third party right, record the nature, incidents and extent of that third party right and the persons entitled to the benefit of it;

   (f)   advise the board upon any question of customary law;

   (g)   safeguard the interests and rights in the land which is the subject of the application of women, absent persons, minors and persons with or under a disability;

   (h)   take account of any interest in land in respect of which, for any reason, no claim has been made;

   (i)   exercise such other functions as may be prescribed.

   (2) The committee shall, in the exercise of any of its powers under this section which involve a hearing, comply with the rules of natural justice and, subject to that duty, may—

   (a)   hear evidence which would otherwise not be admissible in a court of law;

   (b)   call evidence of its own motion;

   (c)   use evidence contained in any official record or adduced in any other claim;

   (d)   refer any matters to any customary institution habitually accepted within the area as an institution with functions over land for its advice and, where relevant, use, with or without adaptations and additions, customary procedures relating to the settlement of disputes over land recognised and in general use within the community where the land is situated; and

   (e)   generally, determine its own procedures.

   (3) In order to discharge the functions referred to in subsection (1), the chairperson of a committee shall have power to administer oaths and to issue summonses, notices and orders requiring the attendance of such persons and the production of such documents as he or she may consider necessary for carrying out the functions of the committee.

6.   Procedures for application for certificate of customary ownership.

   (1) The chairperson of a committee shall be responsible for ensuring that the procedures to be followed by the committee as set out in this section and any other procedures that may be prescribed are complied with.

   (2) Where an application has been submitted to the committee, a notice in the prescribed form shall be published and posted in a prominent place in the area and on the land which is the subject of the application—

   (a)   specifying the location and approximate area of the land;

   (b)   requiring all persons who claim any interest in the land or in any adjacent land which may be affected by the application, including in respect of any adjacent land claims as to the boundaries of that land, to attend a meeting of the committee at a specified time and put forward their claims; and the time specified shall be not less than two weeks from the date on which the notice is published and posted as required by this subsection.

   (3) On the date specified under subsection (2), the committee shall hear and determine all claims made under that subsection.

   (4) The committee may adjourn any hearing into any claim and request an officer from the district land office, any other person or a group of persons recognised within the area as having knowledge about the land and its incidents of tenure to conduct further investigations into that claim.

   (5) In hearing and determining any claim, the committee shall use its best endeavours to mediate between and reconcile parties having conflicting claims to the land.

   (6) The committee shall—

   (a)   prepare a report on the application, recording all claims to interests and rights in the land or to the occupation and use of the land and its opinion on whether those claims have been proved to exist, setting out its findings and recommendations with reasons on the application, including in all cases whether the application should be approved with or without conditions, restrictions or limitations endorsed on the certificate and forming part of the incidents of customary ownership evidenced by the certificate or refused, and all claims made in relation to the application;

   (b)   give or send a copy of the report to the applicant;

   (c)   submit the report to the board;

   (d)   make a copy of the report available within the area for inspection by all persons who submitted claims to or who were heard by the committee.

7.   Functions and procedure of board on application for certificate of customary ownership.

   (1) The board shall, upon receipt of the report and recommendations of the committee referred to in section 6(6), consider the application in the light of that report and those recommendations and may—

   (a)   confirm the recommendations of the committee and where those recommendations are to issue a certificate of customary ownership with or without conditions, restrictions or limitations, approve the issue of a certificate of customary ownership accordingly and where the recommendations are to refuse to issue a certificate of customary ownership, confirm that refusal;

   (b)   where the recommendation of the committee is to approve the issue of a certificate subject to conditions, restrictions or limitations, vary the recommendation of the committee and approve the issue of a certificate of customary ownership, with or without conditions, restrictions or limitations in accordance with any such variations as it may make;

   (c)   return the report to the committee with directions as to what action, including further investigations or hearings, the committee is to undertake on the application; or

   (d)   reject the report of the Committee and where the recommendation of the Committee is to issue a certificate, refuse the issue of a certificate and where the recommendation of the Committee is to refuse the issue of a certificate, approve the issue of a certificate.

   (2) Where the board rejects or varies a recommendation of the committee, it shall give reasons for its decision.

   (3) Where the committee has recorded under section 5(1)(e) that a person is entitled to the benefit of a third party right, a certificate of customary ownership may only be issued subject to that third party right, a record of which shall be endorsed on the certificate.

   (4) The board shall communicate its decision in writing to the recorder.

   (5) Where the Board approves the issue of a certificate of customary ownership with or without conditions, restrictions or limitations, the recorder shall issue the applicant with a certificate in the terms of the decision of the Board.

   (6) Any person aggrieved by a decision of the board under this section may appeal to the District Land Tribunal against that decision; and the District Land Tribunal may confirm, vary, reverse or modify the decision of the board and make such other order in respect of that decision or as it is empowered to make by this Act.

8.   Incidents of certificate of customary ownership.

   (1) A certificate of customary ownership shall be taken to confirm and is conclusive evidence of the customary rights and interests specified in it, and the land to which the certificate refers shall continue to be occupied, used, regulated and any transactions in respect of the land undertaken and any third party rights over the land exercised in accordance with customary law.

   (2) A certificate of customary ownership shall confer on the holder of the certificate the right of the holder to undertake, subject to the conditions, restrictions and limitations contained in the certificate and subject to subsection (1), any transactions in respect of that land which may include, but shall not be limited to—

   (a)   leasing the land or a part of it;

   (b)   permitting a person usufructuary rights over the land or a part of it for a limited period which may include a period for the life of the person granting or the person granted the usufructuary right;

   (c)   mortgaging or pledging the land or a part of it, where a certificate of customary ownership does not restrict it;

   (d)   subdividing the land or a part of it, where a certificate of customary ownership does not restrict it;

   (e)   creating, or with the consent of the person entitled to the benefit, altering or discharging any easement, right in the nature of an easement or third party right applicable to the land or a part of it;

   (f)   selling the land or a part of it, where a customary certificate of customary ownership does not restrict it;

   (g)   transferring the land or a part of it to any other person in response to an order of a court or a District Land Tribunal;

   (h)   disposing of the land either as a gift inter vivos or by will.

   (3) The holder of a certificate of customary ownership who undertakes any transaction in respect of the land to which the certificate relates shall provide the recorder with a copy or other accurate record of the transaction, and the recorder shall keep all such records in the prescribed manner.

   (4) No transaction referred to in subsection (3)(a), (c) or (f) shall have the effect of passing any interest in the land to which the transaction relates unless it is registered by the recorder under subsection (3).

   (5) For the avoidance of doubt, where a mortgage of land to which this section applies has been made under the Mortgage Act, the mortgagee has the power to sell and execute a transfer of that land to a purchaser in case of default by the mortgagor.

   (6) In this section, "usufructuary right" means the right to use and derive profit from a piece of property belonging to another while the property itself remains undiminished and uninjured in any way.

   (7) A certificate of customary ownership shall be recognised by financial institutions, bodies and authorities as a valid certificate for purposes of evidence of title.

9.   Conversion of customary tenure to freehold tenure.

   (1) Any person, family, community or association holding land under customary tenure on former public land may convert the customary tenure into freehold tenure in accordance with this Act.

   (2) The decision of the board approving the conversion to freehold tenure shall be in the prescribed form.

   (3) An application for conversion from customary tenure to freehold tenure shall be in the prescribed form and shall be submitted, together with the prescribed fee, to the committee of the area in which the land the subject of the application is situated.

   (4) On receipt of the report and recommendations of the committee, the board shall cause the land in respect of which the application is made to be surveyed before approving the application.

   (5) When the board approves an application for conversion, the board may attach conditions to the conversion.

   (6) Any party aggrieved by the decision of the board may appeal to the District Land Tribunal; and the District Land Tribunal may confirm, reverse, vary or modify the decision and make such orders as it is empowered to make by this Act.

10.   Application for grant of land in freehold.

   (1) A person who wishes to be granted a freehold shall apply in the prescribed form to the board.

   (2) The application referred to in subsection (1) shall be lodged with the committee.

11.   Functions of the committee on application for freehold tenure.

   (1) Upon receipt of an application made under section 9 or 10, the committee shall, subject to this section, exercise in respect of the application all its functions under section 5.

   (2) The committee shall when exercising the functions set out in section 5(1)(c) consider or take into account the question whether the customary law applicable to the land the subject of an application to which this section applies recognises or provides for individual ownership of land.

   (3) In respect of an application made under section 9, the committee shall, when exercising the functions set out in section 5(1)(d) record whether the person or persons referred to in that paragraph are prima facie entitled to have their customary tenure converted to freehold tenure and in any case where two or more persons are prima facie entitled to convert their customary tenure to freehold tenure shall record whether they own or are entitled jointly or in common and in the latter case, the share of each.

   (4) Any person who holds a certificate of customary ownership shall be exempted in respect of that land from the verification described by section 5.

12.   Procedures for application for freehold tenure.

   (1) The committee shall, subject to this section, in respect of an application made under section 9 or 10, comply with all the procedures set out in section 6.

   (2) Where the applicant is in possession of a certificate of customary ownership—

   (a)   Section 6(2)(b), (3), (4), (5) shall not apply to the application;

   (b)   the committee may, when preparing a report on the application to which section 9 applies, make use of any report prepared under section 6(6)(a) but shall, in so doing, have regard to section 11 and whether, in the circumstances of the application, there are any new or additional matters not dealt with in the report submitted under section 6 that should be brought to the attention of the board.

13.   Functions of board on application for freehold tenure.

   (1) The board shall, upon receipt of the report and recommendations of the committee referred to in section 12(2)(b), consider the application in the light of that report and those recommendations and, subject to section 12(1), may—

   (a)   confirm the recommendations of the committee and where those recommendations are to approve the application, with or without conditions and restrictions, confirm that approval and refer the approval to the Commissioner to issue the applicant with a certificate of title or, as the case may be, a limited certificate under the Registration of Titles Act and where the recommendations ar

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