Land Disputes

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Land Disputes


disputes over the right of land use between land users and other organizations or persons in connection with the appropriation or withdrawal of land from the users, with the system of land management, and with the exercising of other functions of disposal and control of the land.

A special feature of land disputes in the USSR is that they are not disagreements over the right of landownership, since the land in the USSR belongs exclusively to the state. The disputes over the right of land use concern all the kinds of authority the land user has that define the substance of the right of land use as a specific institution of land law— possession, utilization, and, in relation to the socialist organizations, also the internal economic management of the land. The main land disputes in the USSR are disputes between the agricultural and nonagricultural land users in connection with the withdrawal of land from use or with the arbitrary use of agricultural land for industrial buildings, construction, and other nonagricultural purposes; disputes in connection with damages inflicted on agricultural land or its not having been kept in a suitable condition for agricultural use; disputes connected with the tardy return of temporarily allocated land; and disputes among several land users regarding the bound-aries of the land parcels. Often land disputes become entangled with civil law disputes when the land users erect buildings or installations on the land allocated to them that are essential for their economic activity, or use the land as sowing or planting areas. The violation of the right of land use in such cases results in property damage.

The classification of the disputes into particular categories defines the procedure of its settlement. The property disputes that are connected with the violations of the right of land use include (1) disputes over the right of possession of buildings and crops on the land lot at issue, (2) over the right to compensation for a loss inflicted by the unlawful use of the land parcel, and (3) over the right to compensation for labor input into land that has been withdrawn from use.

In accordance with the Basic Principles of Land Legislation of the USSR and the Union Republics of 1968, land disputes between kolkhozes or sovkhozes and other state, cooperative, or public organizations, as well as institutions and citizens, are settled by the councils of ministers of the Union or autonomous republics or by the executive committees of krai, oblast, okrug, raion, city, village, and settlement Soviets of working people’s deputies. The land codes of the Union republics define the jurisdiction of the organs entrusted with the settlement of the land disputes (that is, which organ will settle the particular land dispute).

Courts are called upon to settle the disputes between the coholders of individual buildings on land that belongs to cities, workers, health resorts, or suburban settlements or those on land allocated by the executive committees of the village Soviets of working peoples’ deputies in rural populated areas.

The existing Soviet legislation establishes a certain procedure for the settlement of land disputes. The disputes are examined on the request of one of the parties to the dispute at the meetings of the executive committees of the respective local soviet of working peoples’ deputies. The parties participating in the land dispute have the right to examine the documents of the case concerning the land dispute, to participate in the meetings of the executive committee, to submit petitions, and so forth. The law also establishes the procedure of the execution of the decisions resulting from the settlement of the land disputes.

In foreign socialist countries the procedure for settlement of land disputes depends on the degree of the land nationalization (complete or partial). All disputes over land owned by the state are settled by state organs that exercise general control over the land reserve. (For example, in the German Democratic Republic, the disputes are settled by the services of real property attached to the district councils.) In the Mongolian People’s Republic, where the land belongs exclusively to the state, land disputes are settled in the first place by the local government agency that allocated the land to the user, and from this decision an appeal can be taken to the respective higher agency.

In the countries where land nationalization was partial and private land ownership is still preserved, a legal procedure for the settlement of land disputes involving privately owned land is established. Thus, the civil code of Poland provides a legal procedure for the settlement of disputes over the delimitation of land lots, over the right of way through a particular lot on foot or by vehicle, and over the partition of the agricultural real property. In Bulgaria, the property right is established by legal procedure, as well as the right of possession and use of separate land lots for pasture.

In the capitalist states, as a rule, land disputes are subject to a settlement in general courts. In some countries, because of the complexity of land relations, special land courts exist. In Great Britain, for example, land tribunals settle disputes in connection with compensation for the sequestration of land and examine appeals taken from the decisions of the government and other agencies, as well as decisions passed in local courts. In the USA, disputes in connection with the establishment of land property rights are subject to settlement in courts. The disputes between the lessees and the landowners are examined either in general courts or in special intermediary courts attached to farm organizations or to local government agencies. Some of the land disputes are examined by district committees on soil protection and reclamation. In France, disputes over land tenure are settled by commissions on land tenure, and disputes resulting from lease relations by parity courts on agricultural lease. (These agencies are headed by the justices of the peace.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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