Power & Vulnerability in Land Dispute Resolution

Unfolding analysis reveals two types of land disputes prevalent in postwar northern Uganda: cases that involve a legitimate cause of action and those that do not. Since mediation and alternative forms of dispute resolution rely on parties’ willingness to negotiate in good faith, cases featuring ‘bad faith’ and land grabbing-where powerful parties intentionally exploit another person’s vulnerability in order to illegally claim land-pose a serious challenge for local land dispute mediators.  So far, studies have highlighted the causes, impacts, and reactions to domestic land grabs, but little is known about the on-the-ground efficacy of Alternative Dispute Resolution interventions in these cases.

The purpose of this report is to distill the experiences of victims, offenders, and land dispute interveners to inform current practice and policy advocacy. This investigation-conducted from March to July 2013 in partnership with seven (7) member organizations of the Northern Uganda Land Platform—assumes that better understanding and coordination of ADR approaches will inspire more appropriate responses to the grave nature of these cases.