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Time Limited Interests in Land by Cornelius Van der Merwe


Time Limited Interests in Land by Cornelius Van der Merwe

A comprehensive comparative treatment of six instances of time-limited interests in land as encountered in fourteen European jurisdictions. The survey explores the commercial or social origins of each legal institution concerned and highlights their enforceability against third parties, their content and their role in land development. The commercial purpose of residential and agricultural leases is contrasted with the social aim of personal servitudes (and its common-law equivalent liferent) to provide sustenance for life to mostly family members making the latter an important estate planning device. Whereas the ingrained principles of leases and personal servitudes restrain the full exploitation of land, it is indicated that public authorities and private capital could combine to turn the old-fashioned time-limited institutions of hereditary building lease (superficies) and hereditary land lease (emphyteusis) into pivotal devices in alleviating the acute shortage of social housing and in promoting the fullest exploitation of pristine agricultural land.


'The general editors and the contributors are to be commended for undertaking such a bold piece of work that can justifiably claim to be a go-to reference for the comparative study of time-limited interests in land, striking a balance between historical, domestic and comparative scholarship in a pragmatic manner.'
Malcolm M. Combe, Zeitschrift fur Europaisches Privatrecht

About the Author

Cornelius Van Der Merwe read law at Bloemfontein and Oxford and obtained a LLD from the University of South Africa. He held chairs in Private Law at the Universities of South Africa and Stellenbosch, in Civil Law at the University of Aberdeen and is presently a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Stellenbosch. He is the main author of the South African 'Property and Trust Law' in the International Encyclopedia of Laws (Kluwer, 2002) and the co-editor of Introduction to the Law of South Africa (Kluwer, 2004). Alain-Laurent Verbeke is Professor of Law at the Universities of Leuven and Tilburg, teaching contracts, property, estate planning, private international law, comparative law, negotiation and mediation. He is also a Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and at UCP Global School of Law, Lisbon. In addition to his teaching, he is also a founding partner with GREENILLE, a private client law firm with attorneys in Brussels and Antwerp and notaries and attorneys in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. He has vast experience in negotiating large inheritance, divorce and contract cases and is regularly acting as an arbitrator in national and international contract and inheritance cases.

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Book Info

Publication date

28th June 2012


Cornelius Van der Merwe

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Cambridge University Press


576 pages


Land & real estate law



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