- Last Updated on 21 November 2013
The Central Agricultural Tribunal determines appeals from decisions of the Agricultural Tribunal on matters relating to the legal relations between a landlord and tenant of agricultural holding. The power of the Central Agricultural Tribunal is derived from the Agricultural Landlord and Tenant Act (ALTA) which came into effect on the 29 December, 1967.
The intention of ALTA is to impose uniform rights and obligations in all contracts of tenancy of agricultural land within the Act (Colonial Sugar Refining Co. Ltd v The Attorney-General and the Manager, NLTB, Ref. E & CD 8 & 9 of 1969 [1 October 1969]).
ALTA safeguards the interest of a tenant farmer by providing security of tenure for a bona fide tenant who is in occupation and cultivating the agricultural land. A person who is in occupation and is actively cultivating an agricultural holding for a period of not less than 3 years without objection from the landlord raises a rebuttable presumption of tenancy. However, the onus is on the landlord to establish that occupation was without his or her consent and if the landlord fails to satisfy such onus of proof, a tenancy shall be presumed to exist. Therefore some occupiers may be elevated to the status of tenants when they have no title at common law (Dharam Lingam Reddy v Pon Samy [Fiji Court of Appeal]  28 FLR 69, 77). Where there is a declaration of tenancy, the agricultural holding is vested in the tenant and his interest is registered by the Registrar of Titles.
The protection of a tenant farmer under ALTA extends to relief against eviction or forfeiture, termination of tenancy, reassessment of rent, fixing of boundaries, compensation and other matters relating to agricultural land.
When hearing and determining any appeal, the Central Agricultural Tribunal can exercise all the powers of the Agricultural Tribunal. Hearing by the Central Agricultural Tribunal is conducted on a quarterly basis.