Court Makes Landmark Ruling on Customary Land


A court in Solomon Islands has for the first time ruled on the customary ownership of the land below the high water mark or foreshore. The ruling is contained in a judgment handed down by Chief Magistrate Leonard Maina last week on a dispute over the Auki seafront. In his ruling, Mr. Maina said the court has found that the people’s customary practices and continuous use or occupation from time immemorial on the land below the high water mark or foreshore, established or vested in them the right to own in custom the Auki foreshore. Chief Magistrate Leonard Maina’s decision and judgment relates to an Acquisition Appeal from five groups of people who claimed ownership of the Auki seafront.