12 November 2016
Quick Guide to the Changes in Timor-Leste's Transitional Land Law
ETLJB Source: Scribd The Special Regime for the Determination of Property Ownership, or the ‘Transitional Land Law’ as it is commonly referred to, has been re-drafted a number of times over the last eight years. The law which aims to establish first title recognition of property rights in Timor-Leste also lays down: a hierarchy of claims to land; mechanisms for identifying property owners in a national cadastre; decision making structures for disputed cases; and a limited recognition of community property rights. The law was originally prepared for the Ministry of Justice in 2008 by legal advisors working on the USAID funded Ita Nia Rai programme and was released for public consultation in 2009. After being vetoed by then President Jose Ramos Horta in early 2012 the law went through further public consultation and re-drafting.
A number of improvements were made to the law at this stage, including: the expansion of the special protection against eviction for those being evicted from the ‘family home’ (Articles 56-66, version 6) and a rebalancing of the definition of state land (Article 9.2, version 6). Version 7 of the Transitional Land Law was submitted to the Council of Ministers for consideration in early 2016.
The Council of Ministers made a number of changes to the law, and finally approved version 8 of the law on the 29th of March 2016. Version 8 of the law was sent to Parliament as part of a package of three laws, including the Expropriation Law and the Territorial Planning Law. This briefing note outlines some of the key changes made to the Transitional Land Law by the Council of Ministers.