Compulsory Acquisition of Land – What you need to know!

In circumstances where there is need to acquire land from an individual for public use, guidance is sought from the Land Acquisition Act CAP 226. Although the Act is still in force, its constitutionality in regard to the compulsory acquisition has been challenged. The steps in the Act are as follows;

  1. A person with authorization from the Minister of lands enters upon the land to ascertain its suitability for the public purpose as provided under section 2 of the Act. Section 2(2) further imposes a duty on government to pay compensation to a person who suffers damage as a result of exercise of this power.
  2. Section 3 of the Act is to the effect that if the minister is satisfied that the government requires the land, he/she issues a statutory instrument specifying the location and details of the land. This is served to the affected parties.
  3. Upon declaration that the land is needed, the assessment officer (as appointed by the minister) causes the land to be marked out and measured and a plan to be made if a plan of the land has not already been made.
  4. Section 5 (1) mandates the assessment officer to cause a notice to be published in the gazette. The notice should clearly state that the government intends to take possession and claims for compensation for all interests are to be made to the assessment officer. The notice should give particulars of the land, the persons with interests and the kind of interest and objections if any.
  5. The assessment officer is required to cause a copy of every notice published to be served on the registered proprietor controlling authority and occupier.
  6. The assessment officer then makes inquiries into the claims and objections made and makes an award accordance with section 6. The award specifies the area of the land, the compensation which in the officer’s opinion should be allowed and the apportionment of that compensation among all persons having an interest whether or not they have appeared. While conducting the inquiry and awards, the assessment officer has the same power to summon and enforce attendance of witnesses and compel production of documents as is vested in a magistrates court in its jurisdiction.
  7. The assessment officer causes a copy of the award to be served on the minister and on persons with an interest who were absent when the award was made.
  8. The government pays the compensation in accordance with the award as soon as is possible after the expiry of time in accordance with section 6.
  9. Section 7 provides for taking possession and Registration. The assessment officer forwards to the Registrar of Titles a copy of the declaration with a certificate signed by the assessment officer stating that the officer has taken possession and specify the date when he did so.
  10. The Registrar registers the Land Commission as proprietor on the Register Book.


No information contained in this alert should be construed as legal advice from Centre for Public Interest Law or the individual authors, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.

For additional information in relation to this alert, please contact the following:

Rita K. Atukunda

Legal Officer, Research & Knowledge Dev’t

Land Acquisition Act CAP 226. Although the Act is still in force, its constitutionality in regard to the compulsory acquisition has been challenged.