Young property lawyers encouraged to learn from each other

Dr Ernst Marais (co-organiser of the third YPLF), Prof Eugene Cloete (SU’s Vice-rector: Research and Innovation), Prof Sonia Human (Dean of the Faculty of Law at SU) and Dr Bram Akkermans (co-organiser). Photo: Pia Nänny

Young property law researchers from across the globe were encouraged to use the third Young Property Lawyers Forum (YPLF), hosted in Stellenbosch this week, to learn from each other and to strengthen the international network of young property lawyers.

They and senior property law scholars from countries like South Africa, the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Israel and Australia gathered at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) on Monday 29 October 2012. It is the first time that this forum is taking place outside of Europe and it is also the first time that such a large number of young property law scholars are attending the event.

The YPLF is an initiative of young property researchers from the Ius Commune universities (Amsterdam, Utrecht, Maastricht, Leuven, Edinburgh and Stellenbosch). The property lawyers attending the event are all young people currently busy with their masters’ or doctoral research in property law, or persons who obtained a degree in this field of law in the past five years.

The group had a busy schedule, with more than 30 presentations over two days.

On Monday, they were welcomed by Prof Eugene Cloete, Vice-Rector: Research and Innovation at Stellenbosch University (SU), and Prof Sonia Human, Dean of the Faculty of Law.

Prof Cloete said the ownership of basically everything is a big topic of debate. “Property, history and ownership are intrinsically linked,” he added. “The world, to a large extent, is about who owns what.”

He encouraged the attendees to learn from each other. “It is important to bring people from different countries and cultures together. When you bring a diverse group of people together they will talk and they will create intersections,” Prof Cloete said.

“Find the intersections because that will bring new and fascinating ways of doing. Your mind will be stretched and a mind that was stretched will never go back to its original dimensions.”

Prof Human welcomed the young property law researchers as well as the senior property law scholars and said her faculty was proud to be associated with the event.

The organisers, Dr Bram Akkermans of Maastricht University and Dr Ernst Marais of Stellenbosch University encouraged the attendees to enjoy the forum, to network and to continue their discussions over coffee, tea, wine, e-mail – even after the conclusion of the event.

The forum is hosted by the South African Research Chair in Property Law (SARCPL), situated at Stellenbosch University, in honour of its 5th anniversary. The main aim of the Research Chair is to transform South African property law by developing a new theoretical paradigm for property law that reflects the values of the post-apartheid, constitutional era. This is in line with the broader vision of the YPLF, which is to develop property law.

The YPLF will be followed by a Master Class on Wednesday, 31 October, where 11 senior property scholars from over the world will be giving presentations on their latest research. Senior scholars attending both the YPLF and the Master Class include:

  • Prof AJ van der Walt (Stellenbosch University, Holder of the South African Research Chair in Property Law)
  • Prof Sonia Human (Dean of the Faculty of Law at Stellenbosch University)
  • Prof Kevin Gray (Dean of Trinity College, Cambridge)
  • Prof Sjef van Erp (Maastricht University)
  • Prof Vincent Sagaert (University of Antwerp and at the University of Leuven)
  • Prof Susan Bright (New College, Oxford)
  • Prof Brendan Edgeworth (University of New South Wales)
  • Prof Kenneth Reid (Professor at Edinburgh University)
  • Prof Joseph Singer (Harvard Law School)
  • Prof Hanri Mostert (University of Cape Town)


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