An Outline of Islamic Customary Law In Ghana

This is an altogether original work in a virgin field. About two decades ago, the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana (the only in existence at the time in the country), introduced the study of Islamic law as an aspect or jurisprudence. The decision was informed by the reality of a significant Muslim segment of the Ghanaian population. It was a brave decision. The halls of academia had never resounded to Islamic law concepts; for up to that point Islamic law was treated as a Cinderella with no place in the legal curriculum, save for a few passing references in regard to marriage and succession laws. Almost single-handedly, I set about developing a corpus of Islamic customary law relevant to the needs of Ghanaian law students. This small volume is the result of efforts to put my thoughts in essay form and to make available to students and the wider public a book-length manual on the nature of Islamic customary law in Ghana. By obtaining and analysing data elicited from community leaders, ordinary Muslims and clerics and evaluating them in the light of settled principles of Sharia law, a distinctly Ghanaian brand of Muslim law emerges. At appropriate points, material derived from court verdicts is interwoven into the text. No attempt has been made here to deal with other systems of Ghanaian family law other than the Islamic.

The author has attempted to present the Muslim laws of family, property and succession within a reasonable compass to aid appreciation of the personal laws of substantial numbers of Ghanaians; and in a form that will be clearly understood.

Aside from Law 111 and the Marriage of Mohammedans Ordinance, Cap 129 (1951 Rev.), Islamic law has been subject to no comprehensive legislative reform. This is perhaps to be expected as the practised law of Muslims was frequently misunderstood, and hardly recognised and understood by administrators and legislators.

The author’s purpose will have been achieved if this book helps to free Islamic law from misconceptions common in our society.

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Ghana Law of Wills

The succession law of Ghana has undergone enormous change since the enactment of the Wills Act, 1971. Relevant literature has hardly kept pace with changes in statutory and judge-made law. The need for a comprehensive statement of the pertinent law has made itself felt for quite a long time. In response, several eminent jurists have grappled with some of the major problems associated with succession. The present account seeks to provide a detailed assessment, analysis, evaluation and critique of the law of wills of Ghana.

Basically founded upon analysis of the Wills Act, 1971 of Ghana and relevant English principles, the discussion here also traverses a wider field. The end result is an opus that interweaves essentially English concepts of the law of wills with equivalent Ghanaian developments. The topics for discussion are broadened to include indigenous forms of testation.

The book is broken into appropriate divisions and subdivisions to facilitate fuller discussion of each topic, largely along conventional formats for the analysis of the law of wills. The underlying theme is concerned with the devolution of a person’s assets upon death. Both the substantive and procedural laws are considered in some detail and on the basis of consistent principles of law. Various types of wills and rules for the making and revocation of wills as well as laws dealing with privileged wills, incorporation of documents, revival and republication, legacies and the construction of wills are analysed extensively with a view to encapsulating the corpus of the law of wills.

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Law of Landlord and Tenant in Ghana

The present work brings to completion my effort to state the complete law of property of Ghana. It was inspired by my earlier work on the customary land law of Ghana. The customary law remains the heart of the Ghanaian land law, but the story of the property law of Ghana is incomplete without a comprehensive account of the received law of property. The present work, therefore, brings to a full circle my efforts to state accurately and wholly the property law of Ghana. The field of Ghanaian property law is dominated by a combination of foreign and indigenous concepts. Arguably, the theoretical aspects of the property law of Ghana stand in need of resolution of the tensions between the two sources of law.

The development of the English law of property was deeply marked by the early activities of the King’s Court and its administration of a centralised system of law as distinguished from an earlier system of localised customary law, varying from place to place. Modified by equity, its doctrines were developed from a centralised system of records. A course in property law ought to equip the student with the entire range of concepts in the field, closely analysed. Described elsewhere as a rubbish heap that has been accumulating for centuries and understood only by the professors, the English law of property does not lend itself to easy understanding. Imposing structure upon a subject comprising essentially English law of property and applying it to Ghanaian circumstances has not been easy. To help the student grasp the interlocking nature of the concepts, and to gain rounded and more profound insights about the various rights and liabilities attached to interests in land, a persistent effort is made to connect the material to Ghanaian cases and statutes.

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