Cambodia is located in South-East Asia north of the Equator and next to Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and the Gulf of Siam. The history of land management and administration in Cambodia goes back to the Civil Code of 1920, which established the system of French land law that recognized private property rights.
During the 1960s there was an adequate system of land management, including confirmation of private property rights with land records including cadastral map and land titles.
In 1979, all land registration documents were lost. At that time all land belonged to the state. In 1989, the government re-introduced private property rights, with ownership rights issued for residential land of a size up to 2000 sq. meters, possession rights for cultivated land less than 5 ha, and concession rights for plantation land larger than 5 ha.
In the 1990s, land markets were not yet sufficiently developed and, as an institution, did not work efficiently. Illegal land transfers were the rule. They undermined legal security and led to many land conflicts which were mainly settled by the local authorities. Others have been taken to the courts.
Out of the estimated 7 million parcels, the cadastre covers approximately 720,000 parcels (both sporadically and systematically registered land) including privately owned land and state land. There are more than 600,000 parcels that have been registered since 1990 through sporadic registration and around 120,000 parcels registered since 2000 through systematic registration.
During 2004 to 2005, many state lands were encroached leading to many land conflicts on state land. Therefore, state land should be priority registered to prevent encroachment and dispute between people and local authorities or people and powerful persons.