| || || Futaiasi, Derek Lauta G.|
| || || A study of customary methods dealing customary land disputes in Malaita, Solomon Islands |
Author:Futaiasi, Derek Lauta G.
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Subject: Land tenure -- Solomon Islands -- Malaita Province, Solomon Islanders -- Land tenure -- Claims, Customary law -- Solomon Islands -- Malaita Province
Call No.: pac HD 1289 .S6 F882 2011
Copyright:Under 10% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission
Abstract: In Malaita one of the provinces in Solomon Islands, during traditional times, the most important traditional decision making mechanisms that dealt with disputes were traditional priest, big-man, a warrior, and chiefs. In contemporary Malaita their roles in dispute settlement had been affected due to foreign influences such as Christianity and the protectorate government. However, chiefs and traditional leaders which are often referred to as chiefs’ settlement or houses of chiefs, are given recognition in 1985 by Parliament to deal with customary land disputes before such is referred to the formal courts. The legal recognition of chiefs or traditional leaders is timely against the increasing customary land disputes due to factors such as lack of clear records, migration, confusion over inheritance and ownership, lack of consultation about land transaction, population pressure and economic activities on customary land. The conduct of proceedings by chiefs and traditional leaders are not regulated by an Act of Parliament. The ways in which the houses of chiefs deal with customary land disputes are by way of negotiation and mediation or by way of using court like procedures to determine an outcome of a customary land dispute. The latter is the main method when houses of chiefs deal with customary land cases. However, in some instances, before customary land disputes go to the houses of chiefs, if that dispute is between people of the same clan their leaders assisted by religious leaders, usually settled the matter between the clan members. In Malaita, though there are advantages of custom dispute settlement such as chiefs are knowledgeable in custom, people feel that they own the system, the system is cheap, the system entails a common understanding between parties which reflect the interest of parties and traditional leaders are independent, there are also challenges facing custom dispute settlement. Some of these challenges include chiefs adopt court like procedures, participation of chiefs from other areas, questions as to validity of chief’s position, conflicting decisions of chiefs, lack of government support, lack of independence of chiefs, lack of fair hearing and decisions are dominated by men. Therefore, much needs to be done to invigorate the work of the houses of chiefs or chiefs’ settlement as recognised by the 1985 amendment of the Local Court Act. Some v of the most important proposals are the need for government support in terms of remuneration for those who settle customary land disputes at the house of chiefs and the need to introduce and devise a program to train chiefs on legal concepts such as natural justice and relevant human rights issues. The need for a clear constitutional recognition of chiefs and traditional leaders as an important body to deal with customary land disputes is very important to ensure proper legitimacy. Apart from these proposed reforms; the inclusion of the chiefs, traditional leaders and the use of custom to deal with disputes as envisaged by the Tribal Land Dispute Resolution Panel Bill 2008 is a step in the direction in the resolution of customary land dispute. However, there is a need to address the challenges and problems inherent in Tribal Land Dispute Resolution Panels Bill 2008 in order to ensure it is developed into a proper Act of Parliament.