25 terms

Customary Land Law (Ghana)

What are the different interests in land in Ghana?
Per PNDCL 152 s. 19:
1. Allodial Title
2. Freehold Title
3. Leasehold
4. Lesser interests
Allodial Title
The highest title capable of being held in land in Ghana and is subject to only such restrictions as may be imposed by the laws of the country.
Nature of the Allodial Title
1. The basis for the customary law scheme of interest
2. All other interests emanate from the Allodial title
3. Vested in stools/skins, families, clans and individuals.

Amodu Tijani v Sec. Gov. Of Southern Nigeria
Incidents of Allodial Title
(Vacant Virgin Communal Land)
1. Members are entitled to the land, fruits on the land and to farm on the land
2. When a member reduces a portion to his occupation, he gains the customary freehold title
3. It can be transferred to strangers
4. Member's rights are limited by legislative interventions
Incidents of Allodial Title
(Land owned by members)
1. The individual is entitled to his fruits on the land and he's entitled to live in the house he has built on the land.
2. The members can enjoy the natural fruits on the land
3. The individual has to perform customary services to the Allodial owner
4. Performance of customary services is not an incident of land tenure
5. The state is not obliged to perform customary services
6. Stools in urban areas do not demand payment of customary services
Incidents of Allodial Title
(Land owned by strangers)
1. When AT is transferred to a stranger it extinguishes all rights to the land
2. If a lesser title was conveyed, stranger needs to perform customary services
3. Community may sue as a third party for declaration of title
Acquisition of Allodial Title
1. Conquest and settlement thereon
2. Discovery by hunters and other pioneers of the stool and subsequent settlement thereon and use thereof
3. Gift
4. Purchase

Ohemeng v Adjei
Transfer of Allodial Title
1. Gift or Purchase by another stool/skin, clan, family or individual

2. Compulsory acquisition by the state

State Lands Act, 1962 Act 125(1)

Land Administration Act , 1962 Act 123(7)
Relevant Cases
1. Amodu Tijani (stool ownership )
2. Dennis and Arthur v Ababio (individual ownership)
3. Ohimin v Adjei (acquisition)
Customary Freehold
An interest in land acquired by a person by virtue of his being a subject /member of a stool/skin, family or a clan
Nature of Customary Freehold
1. The individual should be a member of the community
Incidents of Customary Freehold
1. Security of Tenure
2. Right to unlimited use of land
3. Power of alienation
Creation of Customary Freehold
1. Implied Grant
2. Express Grant
Implied Grant
The express permission is not sought from the Allodial title holder. Individual cultivates a portion of the land as of right
Express Grant
This is when permission is sought from the Allodial Title holder and a portion of the land is demarcated for his occupation
Termination of Customary Freehold
1. Abandonment
(Total Oil Products Ltd. v Obeng and Manu)

2. Forfeiture, if you deny the title of the Allodial owner

3. Sale

4. Failure of successors
(Mansu v Abboye and another)
Modern Position
The principle that establishes that a member of the stool can cultivate land to the extent that his cutlass will take him does not confer to the individual, the unlimited license to cultivate indiscriminately. The subject needs the express grant of the stool for that purpose.

(Frimpong v Poku)
Customary Tenancies
A tenancy is an interest which a stranger and a member or a community can obtain from a customary freeholder of that community or from the Allodial title holder of the community.
It confers on the tenant, the rich to occupy and use the land for the purpose for which it was obtained for an indefinite period or a limited period, subject to performance and observation of the terms and conditions under which he was given the land.
Creation of Customary Tenancy
1. Creates a limited interest in land usually for a consideration
2. Created mostly in respect of farmlands except for Building Licences.
3. Consideration is usually in kind, but with the introduction of the money economy, it could be created with monetary consideration
Types of Customary Tenancies
1. Tenancies for Consideration
2. Gratuitous Tenancies
Tenancies for Consideration
1. Cash
- Seasonal / Annual

2. Kind
- Abunu / Abusa
Gratuitous Tenancies
Customary licenses for farming / building
Seasonal Tenancy
Arrangement where land is granted to a tenant farmer to grow only food crops for a farming season, for payment of valuable consideration. Amount of consideration depends on the size of the farm and not the yield.
Annual Tenancies
Renews itself at the end of each year, unless it is terminated under customary law.
Abusa Tenancy (traditional view)