When the British came…their concern was to justify expropriation of land which did not belong to them and they way they did it was to use their own legal system. They did this precisely through a [piece of] advice that was given to the colonial government on the 13th of December, 1897, that said that in countries where there is no settled form of government the land belongs to the Queen of England. Having declared that there was no settled form of government they appropriated ultimate title to the land. They passed laws that said so, and then they were able to give settlers freehold interests, 999 year leases, and other forms of leasehold.
H.W.O. Okoth-Ogendo, Professor of Law, Kenya