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Land Justice

Moussa cannot properly access and make use of his land. He is worried, because he has mouths to feed. Moussa needs to find solutions to his problems, in order to move on with his life.

This page shows data on land justice problems, the impact of the problems, the kind of help people look for, examples of outcomes that people get, knowledge on what works in order to solve land problems and bottlenecks to solving problems.

Meet Moussa

My livelihood might be in danger if my problems continue to exist. I want to find a solution, because these problems have a major impact on me and everyone who depends on me.


This is what Moussa wants to achieve

My life will look different when my problems are resolved. I imagine peace and justice and no stress and violence. The kind of outcomes that I need are:

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The outcomes that people get

People want to reach agreements on how to use their land. They want land to be owned in a fair way.

So far, people in Uganda and Ethiopia were asked about the kind of outcomes that they are getting, when dealing with a land justice problem.

This graph shows data from Uganda. More countries will follow soon.

Most land problems that people experience relate to boundaries, rights of way or access to property, to ownership or use of land and to land grabbing. Not all of these problems are fully resolved.

Land problems cause stress and loss of income

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How many new land problems appear every year?

There are more people like me, who experience problems such as land grabbing.

This is the average number of new land problems in a country, per year. The number is extrapolated from the JNS survey conducted in 17 countries.

A legal problem is a problem that takes place in daily life. It could be a dispute, disagreement or grievance for which there is a resolution in the (formal or informal) law.

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The impact and consequences of dealing with land problems

I experience loss of income and time. My problem has caused severe negative effects. I can see its impact on my own well-being as well as that of those who depend on me.

The first graph shows that loss of time, stress, loss of income and damage to important relationships can be a consequence of land problems. 

The second graph points out that in some countries, many lives are negatively affected by land problems.

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To what extent are problems being resolved?

I need a solution that is fair and effective. Only then I can move away from the negative impacts.

This graph shows percentages of people whose problems were resolved, are ongoing or are partially resolved.

People were asked about high-impact problems that they experienced in the last four years.

The graph shows that in Tunisia and Bangladesh, many land problems are still ongoing.

People get help in different ways. Some go to court. Others take action by themselves.

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These are the justice providers people go to for help.

There are many ways to resolve land problems. This is where people go if they need a solution.

The steps that people take to resolve a problem is a justice journey

This graph shows dispute resolution mechanisms they may use during a journey.

As the data shows, in Ukraine most people take self-action. In Bangladesh people make use of the available neutral dispute resolution mechanisms.

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These are the most helpful justice providers

I want a fair resolution. Where do I go?

Data shows that in Morocco, courts and lawyers were perceived the most helpful in resolving people’s land problems. Other countries show different data.

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Evaluating experiences

Do people with land problems get justice? The broad idea of justice can be broken down in a number of elements. Respect, voice and procedural clarity are things that people value in a procedure. In outcomes, they want fair distribution of land, harm should be undone, the outcome should be explained and it should work. Ideally, procedures are low cost, cost little time and not too stressful. We can see here that land procedures are seen as rather stressful (bigger = better procedure). 

Data shows that there can be a difference in how people assess their justice journeys within the same region. See data from Lebanon and Jordan for example. These data ask for more exploration.

Bottlenecks in protecting land rights

For people who cannot access or use their land, it is difficult to find the right help. The data show that people go to a wide range of helpers: courts, their family and friends, religious persons, social workers, mediators, lawyers or the police. In some countries, there is no clear trajectory for issues on boundaries, use of property, or for complications such violent land grabbing.

Innovations in land justice

As the data on this page show, many people do not succeed in resolving land problems. The above recommendations showcase good practices that have the potential to deliver fair outcomes to people. Along with recommendations, there also exist innovations that are actively providing solutions to land problems.

Here are some examples of innovations that are successful in reimagining justice delivery in land disputes: