12 July 2009

The Applicable Indonesian Land Law in East Timor

The applicable land law of East Timor is based on the Indonesian land law system. The most fundamental of the land laws of Indonesia that apply in East Timor is Law No 5 of 1960 on the Fundamentals of Agrarian Principles (the Basic Agrarian Law 1960).

Other principle land laws include those relating to the maximum areal limitations on land ownership and those regulating land reform through redistributive equity.

Certain laws enacted by the Indonesian state during the illegal occupation from 1974 through to 1999 include some speficically relating to East Timor. The main one of these is Indonesian Government Regulation No 18 of 1991 on the conversion of land rights in the Province of East Timor in accordance with the Basic Agrarian Law of 1960. But see also See also Law No 7 of 1976 on the legalisation of the integration of East Timor into the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia and the Formation of the First-Level Province of Timor Timur

Also of significant interest is Government Regulation No 24 of 1997 on land registration which introduced, amongst other things, the principle of the acquisition of a land title through long term good faith possession which could extinghish a documentary title to a land right.

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