The Relevance and Need to Reinstate District Land Tribunals in Uganda.
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From the commencement of the Land Act, courts, other than the High Court, ceased to have jurisdiction over land disputes. Instead, for each District there shall be a District Land Tribunal and for each Sub-county, gazetted urban area and division of the city there shall be respectively a Sub-county Land Tribunal and Land Tribunal. All these members are to be appointed by the Judicial Service Commission. The Act however is silent on which body will be specifically responsible for administering and funding the running costs of the Tribunals. The Land Tribunals have jurisdiction over land disputes relating to the grant, lease, repossession, transfer or acquisition of land whether arising under the Act or otherwise and whether between individuals or involving the Land Commission or other authorities with responsibility relating to land. This is a very large jurisdiction for taken literally, it would mean that the Land Tribunals would have jurisdiction over land in forests and national parks if issues concerning the above noted topics arose. Tribunals also have jurisdiction over amounts of compensation payable for land compulsorily acquired. District Land Tribunals hear cases on appeal from Sub-county and urban Tribunals and appeals lie from the DLTs to the High Court. Special rules of procedure are to be made for Land Tribunals by the Chief Justice. Land Tribunals ceased to exist around the year 2006 and on December 1, 2006, the Chief Justice issued Practice Directive No. 1 of 2006, allowing magistrates of Grade One and above to exercise land-related jurisdiction in accordance with Section 95 (7) of the Land Act, until new chairpersons and members of District Land Tribunals are appointed or otherwise. As a result, from December 1, 2006, magistrate courts regained jurisdiction over land matters. With both the National Land Policy and the National Land Use Policy advocating for the reinstatement of these District Land Tribunals, it should be noted that land disputes have continuously increased in Uganda. Justice Catherine Bamugemereire (2020) further recommends the establishment of a Land and Environment Court, reinstatement of District land Tribunals. The land and environment court which shall have circuits in all regions shall entertain appeals from District Land Tribunals as well as have original jurisdiction in environmental matter and land acquisition compensations and this research is majorly focused on whether district land tribunals should be reinstated and their relevance (MLHUD, 2013).