PUBLICATION OF LAND TRANSACTIONS IN CAMEROON: A STUDY OF THE COMMON AND CIVIL LAW SYSTEMS.
This article springs from the adage that each land transaction is a law potential law suit. In this regard there is no distinction between the common and civil law systems. Land as a natural resource is static and therefore susceptible to the existence of concurrent rights. Both systems have however evolved systems of publicity of land transaction to keep potential dealers informed of the status land. Land as a factor of production and symbol of economic and political power is liable to be the source of major conflicts if its alienation is not well managed. In both the common and civil law systems applicable in Cameroon due to an historical accident, the system of registration of instruments or deeds occupies an important place. It serves as the medium through which transactions between two parties are made known to the public. Social peace would be jeopardised and economic development compromised, in the absence of such a system. By persons who get into transactions for the acquisition of lands which, have unknown to them, been alienated to other persons. In such cases, the second acquirer finds that he cannot take possession, while the first acquirer, during the period of litigation, cannot go ahead with any intended development of the land.
What actually exists as the law on registration of instruments in the country can only be ascertained by putting together isolated provisions drawn from a number of land legislation. This state of affairs explains the goal of this article which intends to publicise the concept, and serve as a bait to Legislators and the Judiciary, who could then be drawn out of their reserve to take an interest in the area. To do so, we intend to study what exists as law in the area, in the Common Law and Civil Law Jurisdictions of the country. Despite the purported harmonisation of land laws in the country, courts in Anglophone Cameroon continue to lean heavily on the Common Law and those in Francophone Cameroon on the Civil Law.
Guided by the practice in both parts of the country, we propose at the end of the article to make some suggestions towards the enactment of a truly national legislation in the area of registration of instruments, a law which must take into consideration the local circumstances of the country.