Family Holdings, Trusts and Clan Holdings
Arable land in the New Territories was in held in trusts either by the landholder or the trustee. Some of them lasted in perpetuity and others were temporary. These trusts restrained the current landholder if he or she wanted to sell the land. Since these trusts were established by oral agreements, it was often difficult for the village community to be sure that land being proposed for alienation by an individual villager was actually land held absolutely by him. In the colonial Block Crown Lease, the subtleties of the trusts and holdings were ignored and in the New Territories Ordinance of 1905, the managers of customary trusts were declared to be the sole owners of the trusts: the purpose was merely to make it easier for the trusts to go to courts, the ownership was still being vested in the members, not the manager.
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