Land and Neighbour Disputes


Are you taking advantage of blockchain tech, satellite images or other (mobile) tech to enable a reliable and cost-effective land registration and transaction management system?

Have you devised a way of providing citizens with crucial information regarding land ownership?

Can you solve issues such as land grabbing, missing/unclear/disputed land titles, and slow/outdated/ineffective procedures?

Can you design dialogue and empathy between neighbours to prevent disputes?

Have you developed mechanisms to offer relief to neighbours trapped in a situation of escalated conflict?


The 2018 HiiL Innovating Justice Challenge is looking for new and innovative solutions to land and neighbour issues. The aim is not to uproot existing systems, but to complement and strengthen the existing systems to efficiently provide for the needs of both citizens and the often ineffective and overburdened administrations.

Through our Justice Needs and Satisfaction (JNS) reports, we have discovered that the justice problems experienced in this area are:

  • Land titles are often missing, unclear or disputed.
  • Land ownership is often unclear, leading to clashes between different rules or land grabbing. For instance, disputes over land ownership and land grabbing collectively account for over half of all land related justice issues in Uganda.
  • Gender discrimination, race relations and the income divide also influence land rights and disputes. Women do not hold the same social standing as men and their ability to own land is severely limited; in South Africa, white people own a much higher amount of land than black people; and those with more monetary means have a competitive advantage both in land acquisition and in land disputes, often regardless of fairness.
  • Access to information and to dispute resolution platforms in neighbour disputes is limited, thereby creating a heavier burden on the parties. At the same time, neighbour disputes are important and cause high amounts of stress to the parties – in Ukraine, Uganda and Tunisia, neighbour disputes fell within the top 4 justice needs.
  • Inefficiency: in The Netherlands, there are 4000 neighbour disputes each year which, due to inefficiency, can each take a whole year to resolve.


How can these issues be solved? Check out these startups in our portfolio for inspiration:

  • FAMALIA – an SMS-based solution for land title transfers.
  • JustFix – empowers tenants in neglectful housing situations to take legal action by providing legal information and connections to advocates.
  • WestNile Mediation Center – an alternative dispute resolution platform for a variety of problems, including land-related issues.


Want to now more? Check out our JNS reports for more country-specific information, and our trend reports for general and globally observable information.