IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Land Law In Ghana: Contradition Between Anglo-American And Customary Conceptions Of Tenure And Practices


  • Agbosu, Lennox Kwame


It would appear that the English common law was grafted onto Ghanaian communal societies without taking into account the differences between the early nineteenth-century capitalist economic structures and the egalitarian communal institutions of Ghana. Both systems of law reflect distinctively different economic structures. That oversight laid the foundations for the conflicts between the customary law and practice and the Anglo-American common law, its notions and conceptions of tenure. The conflict that developed has become one of the most formidable obstacles to socioeconomic development in Ghana since colonial times. One of the objectives of this work is to shed light on the linkages between the exploitative capitalist sector and the traditional communal system. In the process, we hope to show that service by the traditional system of the capitalist sector of the economy lies at the root of economic underdevelopment in Ghana. If we achieve our objectives, then we should be able to demonstrate that legislative measures aimed at establishing a machinery for land registration can neither solve the problems of underdevelopment nor effectively eliminate the manifestations of conflict in the shape of litigation and economic underdevelopment. Instead, it would in its effect consolidate the usurpation and privatization of communal lands to be concentrated in the hands of a minority of the rich, speed up the pace of landlessness and social stratification, and lead to political instability. We seek to demonstrate that the present privatization policies, planned within the framework of the International Monetary Fund's and the World Bank's globalization schemes, would aggravate these problems and sharpen the contradictions.

Suggested Citation

  • Agbosu, Lennox Kwame, 2000. "Land Law In Ghana: Contradition Between Anglo-American And Customary Conceptions Of Tenure And Practices," Working Papers 12796, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Land Tenure Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uwltwp:12796
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.12796

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Richmond J. Ehwi & Lewis A. Asante, 2016. "Ex-Post Analysis of Land Title Registration in Ghana Since 2008 Merger," SAGE Open, , vol. 6(2), pages 21582440166, April.
    2. Austine Ng'ombe & Ramin Keivani & Michael Mattingly & Michael Stubbs, 2014. "Impacts of Privatization of Customary Land Rights in Zambia: A Comparative Study of Rural and Peri-urban Locations," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(6), pages 1985-2007, November.
    3. Benjamin Betey Campion & Emmanuel Acheampong, 2014. "The Chieftaincy Institution in Ghana: Causers and Arbitrators of Conflicts in Industrial Jatropha Investments," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 6(9), pages 1-19, September.
    4. Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah & Clifford Amoako, 2020. "Planning by (mis)rule of laws: The idiom and dilemma of planning within Ghana’s dual legal land systems," Environment and Planning C, , vol. 38(1), pages 97-115, February.
    5. Daniel Domeher & Raymond Abdulai & Eric Yeboah, 2016. "Secure property right as a determinant of SME’s access to formal credit in Ghana: dynamics between Micro-finance Institutions and Universal Banks," Journal of Property Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 162-188, April.
    6. Kidido, Joseph K. & Biitir, Samuel B., 2022. "Customary succession and re-issuance of land documents in Ghana: Implications on peri-urban land developers in Kumasi," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 120(C).
    7. Emmanuel Acheampong & Benjamin Betey Campion, 2014. "The Effects of Biofuel Feedstock Production on Farmers’ Livelihoods in Ghana: The Case of Jatropha curcas," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 6(7), pages 1-21, July.

    More about this item


    Land Economics/Use;


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:uwltwp:12796. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: AgEcon Search (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.