An overview of Taiwanese land law and dispute resolution

Po Fang Tsai, Duan Lin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


People in Taiwan rarely look to land law to resolve land disputes, because for centuries such disputes were settled without recourse to formal law. There were no clearly defined land laws in Taiwan before 1949. The Qing Dynasty had no land laws that resembled land titling in Western legal systems, and the Japanese colonial government confined land governance to the colonial system. Clearly defined and generally applicable land laws were not introduced until the Kuomintang (KMT) government after 1949. Unfortunately, over the past sixty years of KMT land governance, the land laws did not function well. This chapter suggests two reasons for this failure. First, rather than amending the land law to address regulatory problems, the KMT government introduced confusing and contradictory special laws. Second, the land law did not remain relevant to rapid social and economic changes during this period. To understand how these two factors have influenced land governance, it is necessary to examine how land law functioned in different historical periods. Land law and dispute resolution in Taiwan have been decoupling since the nineteenth century. The state system governing dispute resolution evolved separately from the land law system. The legal systems (prior to 1945) followed the traditional Chinese law system and colonial law, which lasted from the late Qing Dynasty to the Japanese colonial regime, and the legal system of the authoritarian regime of the KMT underwent a democratic transformation in the last decade of the twentieth century.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResolving Land Disputes in East Asia
Subtitle of host publicationExploring the Limits of Law
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781107589193
ISBN (Print)9781107066823
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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