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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Artificial law, the real law and an end to the distress of the widow and orphan in matriliny in Ghana
Author:Adinkrah, Kofi Oti
Periodical:Jahrbuch für afrikanisches Recht
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:customary law
family law
law of inheritance
Abstract:In Ghana, the concept of community property among spouses is completely foreign. As the notorious case of Quartey v. Martey and Anor (1959) shows, a woman is left empty-handed on occurrence of the death intestate of the husband. This paper, however, shows that either this has never been the true customary law rule or that, if it ever was, there is observable evidence to show that the rule has changed. Although in customary law the woman had no share in her deceased husband's property, she had the right to be 'housed, fed and clothed' until remarriage or death. The observable practice today unambiguously shows a change and a wife is entitled to be given a share of the proceeds of the landed property or part of the property itself. The discrepancy between law and practice can be explained as the result of a misunderstanding by the colonial courts of the family and marriage institutions of the Akan (who are the subject of this study). The author is no champion of changing the law. This would have too many disadvantages in present-day Ghana. Notes, ref.