21 Apr 22 Apr
09:30 - 16:00

Back to the Future of Property Law - Reimagining Sustainable Property Law


Sustainability is one of the largest challenges we are confronted with in our time. Approximately 30% of our planet’s surface comprises land and of that 30% the vast majority (estimated at +80%) is held in private ownership. The way in which we use land and therefore regulate the use of land – both in private law and in public law – has caused significant problems in the 21st Century.

Land use means looking at the way in which we hold our land. Almost every piece of land in the world is owned by someone. In the past the ownership paradigm has been of freedom and autonomy. Ownership has provided us with wealth, income, and prosperity. However, it has also led to massive extractive use, inequality and directly caused greenhouse gas emissions. Rethinking this means more regenerative use, equality and more eco-sustainably land use, contributing to the planetary flourishing.

At this conference the speakers and participants together take on the challenge of reimagining property law through the lens of sustainability. What if a legislature or court had incorporated sustainability thinking in their process? What would property law and therefore the world look like today?
We can use these very valuable insights into our work revising and reforming the law of property in the future.

This conference is part the new research agenda on sustainable property law and will be combined with the inaugural lecture of the new professor of property law. The research of sustainability is a core research area at Maastricht University. The conference is sponsored by the UM-Fund SWOL, the Faculty of Law and the Maastricht European Private Law Institute (M-EPLI).

The conference is bilingual with (grouped) contributions in Dutch and in English.

Provision programme (subject to change)


Thursday 21 April 2022

  Part 1 - In Dutch / Nederlands
09.30 Registratie en Koffie
10.00 Welkom en opening - Prof. Dr. Bram Akkermans LLM
10.15 Sprekers:
  • The call-girl in het appartementsrecht revisited - Hoe ver kan men gaan met beperkingen aan het recht van gebruik en genot van een appartement? - 

    Charlotte Willemot
  • Starheid of flexibiliteit in het appartementsrecht  en de rol van de rechter - 

    Arnaud Willod Versprille
  • Mogelijke registratie en kenbaarheid van duurzaamheidsrechten en -verplichtingen in 3D - Jacques Vos
  • Duurzaamheid in het appartementsrecht - Het blijkt eenvoudiger de wet te slopen en renoveren dan een appartementsgebouw - 

    Nicolas Carette
  • Scheert de Belgische wetgever hoge (boom)toppen met zijn nieuwe goederenrecht? - Jonathan Schenk
12.15 Lunch
  Part 2 - In English
13.15 Welcome and opening - Prof. Dr. Bram Akkermans LLM
13.25 Speakers: 
  • Practice What You Preach: On the Habituation of a 'Social Mortgage' - 

    Katja Zimmermann
  • Navigable rivers and sustainability - 

    Andrew Steven
  • Why deer management in Scotland cannot be left to Scots property law alone -

    Malcolm Combe 
  • Circular fashion initiatives and exceptions to the rei vindicatio

    Elsabe van der Sijde
  • The Fundamental Rights of Seals - 

    Björn Hoops
  • Toward a shared responsibility principle for abandoned property - 

    Daniel On
15.25 Coffee break
15.45 Speakers:
  • Towards a Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities and what the Acquisition of Movable Goods has to do with it - 

    Jan Smits
  • Property and Place - Jessica Shoemaker 
  • Is the Environment a Naked Owner? Sustainability and the Usufruct of Timberlands - 

    John Lovett
  • Dephysicalised Property and Songspirals: reimagining Milirrpum v Nabalco (1971) 17 FLR 141 - 

    Nicole Graham
17.05 Closing of day 1 - informal get together and dinner (at own costs)

Friday 22 April 2022

  Part 3 - In English
09.00 Speakers:
  • Waar we gebleven zijn? Reflecties van het TPR Colloguium over Privaatrecht en Duurzaamheid - dr. Benjamin Verheye (KU Leuven)   
  • Are Transferable Development Rights (TDRs) Good for Sustainability? - 

    Amnon Lehavi  
  • Re-materialising land: Re-imagining England's Land Registration Act 2002 - 

    Lorna Fox O’Mahony
  • The Duty to Support Ecosystems - 

    Jill Robbie
10.20 Coffee break
10.45 Speakers: 
  • The Resiliency Gap and Land Reform Challenges - 

    Mark Roark
  • Complexity and Unintended Consequences - 

    Susan Bright  
  • Reimagining Johnston v O'Neill: Towards a Sustainable Future for Lough Neagh - Brona McNeill  
  • Rethinking Easements and Covenants in Sustainable Terms - 

    Rachael Walsh  
  • A Wake-up Call for the European Patent Office: Sustainable Governance is more than Adopting an Environmental Policy - 

    Esther van Zimmeren
12.25 Lunch
  Part 4 - In English
14.00 Speakers:
  • Dividing up relationship property: what’s love got to do with it? - 

    Elise Goossens
  • Ferae naturae, “sufficiently enclosed” and disasters - 

    Gustav Muller
  • Aloha ʻāina: Reimagining Hawaiian Homes Commission Act - Mark Kawakami 

15.00 Coffee break
  • Reclaiming wetlands in Iceland - Vidir Smari Petersen

  • Sustainable apartment ownership: tenement law in Scotland - Frankie McCarthy


  • General discussion 
16.00 Closing

The Inaugural Lecture - "Sustainable Property Law - Reckoning - Resilience - Reform" by Prof. Dr. Bram Akkermans LLM in the Aula at Minderbroedersberg

17.30 Reception

If you want to follow the Lecture online via livestream, you can use the link below.