The Legal Status of Customary Land Tenure Systems and the Protection of Communal Property in Cameroon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes


The ownership and utilisation of communal property are very much tied to the modern land tenure systems of most sub-Saharan African countries, which nevertheless still rely on the customary land tenure system to operate. But how exactly do the customary land tenure systems which remain operational in many parts of Africa fit into contemporary land ownership and use structures? Drawing on a broad interpretation of (African) customary land tenure and its elements, including its communal interest element, this chapter assesses the extent to which law and practice in Cameroon is developing and protecting communal property. Using developments in the protection of collective forest rights as an example, it demonstrates the continuous difficulty in reconciling western land law principles on the ownership and use of communal property with customary land tenure systems in post-colonial sub-Saharan African societies, and the implications this may have on the wider rule of law in contemporary sub-Saharan Africa.

Bibliographic note

Happy for it to be made OA if the publisher allows.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLegal Strategies for the Development and Protection of Communal Property
EditorsTing Xu, Alison Clarke
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2018
EventLegal Strategies for the Development and Protection of Communal Property - Leopold Hotel Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 May 201624 May 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of the British Academy


WorkshopLegal Strategies for the Development and Protection of Communal Property
CountryUnited Kingdom


  • Customary law, land tenure, communal property, forest , Cameroon