LAND LAW REFORM IN EASTERN AFRICA: TRADITIONAL OR TRANSFORMATIVE? A CRITICAL REVIEW OF 50 YEARS OF LAND LAW REFORM IN EASTERN AFRICA 1961–2011 by PATRICK McAUSLAN

DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6478.2014.00670.x
AuthorAMBREENA MANJI
Date01 June 2014
Publication Date01 June 2014
LAND LAW RE FORM IN EAS TERN AFRI CA: TRADI TIONAL OR
TRANSFORMATIVE? A CRITICAL REVIEW OF 50 YEARS OF LAND
LAW RE FORM I N EAS TERN A FRI CA 196 1±2 011 by P ATR ICK
McAUSLAN
(London: Routledge, 2013, 286 pp., £80.00)
I originally drafted this review of Patrick McAuslan's book in the summer of
2013. It was with profound sadness therefore that I learned of his death on 11
January 2014 before the review had been published. East African land law
has lost its foremost scholar and advocate at a time when his knowledge and
humanity is most needed. Whatever the field ± urban planning, the reform of
community land, matrimonial property ± Patrick McAuslan's tireless work
was a constant reminder of how a commitment to social justice can underpin
legal scholarship. Often caustic about the meaning and evaluation of
`impact', Patrick led by example: through his teaching and writing he has
transformed the scholarship of public law and land law and, indeed, legal
education itself, in ways that contemporary impoverished models of impact
cannot hope to capture.
In this important book, the author reflects on his longstanding involve-
ment in land law in Eastern Africa as a teacher, researcher, and adviser. As
with many other distinguished legal scholars ± William Twining, Patrick
Atiyah, Phil Thomas, Jill Cottrell, Sol Picciotto, Yash Pal Ghai ± McAuslan
began his career at an African law school. Britain has been hugely enriched ±
in my view, too little recognized ± by those who returned to teach and
research in its law schools having spent their early careers in Sudan, Nigeria,
Zambia, Tanza nia, and Kenya .
1
Indeed when McAu slan attende d a
workshop at the British Institute in 2011, he was told by a law student to
whom I introduced him that at the University of Nairobi they still use Yash
Pal Ghai and Patrick McAuslan's Public Law and Political Change in
Kenya, published in 1970, as their main textbook. This remains the locus
classicus on constitutional development under British colonialism and in the
crucial first decade of independence, combining an authoritative reading of
legal materials with an incisive and hard-hitting critique of the enduring
legacy of repression and authoritarianism. All over East Africa, law students,
members of the judiciary ± including Kenya's Chief Justice, Willy Mutunga
± deans of law schools, government ministers, and UN officials have been
taught by McAuslan, worked with him, and been profoundly influenced by
his writing.
McAuslan worked as a researcher and consultant in Kenya, Uganda,
Somaliland, Zanzibar, and Rwanda and in many countries outside Africa. He
wrote of Land Reform in Eastern Africa that it constitutes `the culmination
327
1 J. Harrington, and A. Manji, `The emergence of African law as an academic
discipline in Britain' (2003) 102 African Affairs 109.
ß2014 The Author. Journal of Law and Society ß2014 Cardiff University Law School

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