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Preface

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 May 2022

Björn Hoops
Affiliation:
University of Groningen, The Netherlands
Ernst J. Marais
Affiliation:
University of Johannesburg
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Summary

It was during the annual conference of the Common Core of European Private Law, held in Lecce in the autumn of 2016, when we decided to launch a project – under the auspices of the Common Core – on acquisitive prescription. As both of us specialise in acquisitive prescription law in our respective jurisdictions, we wanted to undertake a major comparative project on this legal field in collaboration with a group of reporters from across the globe.

By the spring of 2017, we had gathered an excellent team of reporters, who, including the two editors, eventually represented 19 legal systems. We have been fortunate to work with extremely reliable and diligent reporters. Prior to the 2017 Common Core meeting, the reporters had already provided us with an outline of how non-owners who use another person’s land could acquire ownership of it through the mere passage of time. It quickly became apparent that in Europe, and beyond, acquisitive prescription and adverse possession, its common-law equivalent, were not common to all the jurisdictions under investigation and there were several different ways in which users could acquire other people’s land through the passage of time. As such, the overarching theme of the project became the acquisition of immovables through long-term use. Based on the outlines we formulated, in conjunction with the reporters, we developed a case-based questionnaire on this topic. This questionnaire was approved by the general editors of the Common Core at the 2017 annual meeting.

In the following two years, the reporters provided solutions to the ten cases in the questionnaire from the perspective of their respective jurisdictions. Where necessary, we adjusted the questionnaire and went through several rounds of editing. We have very fond memories of the conference on acquisitive prescription that we hosted in Groningen during 2018. The discussions on the project and acquisitive prescription, as well as the memorable Sardinian dinner, gave this project a boost and resulted in the publication of a book (B. Hoops & E.J. Marais, New Perspectives on Acquisitive Prescription (2019) Eleven International Publishing), which contains chapters on various problems concerning acquisitive prescription and adverse possession.

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Publisher: Intersentia
Print publication year: 2022

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