Published On: 23 April, 20222.4 min read

EVICT Seminar on Property and Proportionality

April 21st, 2022

Property, Proportionality and Marginality: Assessing the Impact of Non-Ownership Rights

By Dr. Rachael Walsh

Property rights are often characterised as entailing robust exclusionary powers that are not diluted by conflict with non-ownership rights. However, at ECHR and national court levels, there is increasing evidence that the enforcement measures available to owners are influenced by the rights of non-owners, including unlawful occupiers. This paper assesses these developments through the lens of the rights of vulnerable non-owners, considering how the home rights of members of the Travelling Community may re-shape laws that have previous penalised unlawful occupation of land by such individuals.

Property versus Proportionality: how the ECHR Changed the Dutch fight Against Squatting

By Prof. Dr. Michel Vols

In the Netherlands, the public prosecution service is allowed to evict squatters as squatting is illegal. Yet, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled that Article 8 ECHR requires that squatters must have the opportunity to have the proportionality of the upcoming eviction tested by a court before the eviction takes place. In most cases, the squatters lose, but in some cases they win. The talk discusses the ECHR’s impact on the handling of squatting, and a new piece of legislation that aims to speed up the eviction proceedings.

The Meaning of Just and Equitable Evictions in Terms of the South African Constitution

By Dr. Sarah Fick

This talk will consider the protection against evictions from one’s home in terms of the South African Constitution. Section 26(3), read with section 172(1)(b), of the Constitution provides that no one may be evicted without a court order. A court may only grant an eviction order if, considering all of the relevant circumstances, the eviction would be just and equitable. The talk briefly compares this protection to that provided by the ECHR.

About the speakers

Dr. Rachael Walsh is Assistant Professor at the School of Law, Trinity College Dublin, researching and teaching on the interface between public and private law in the context of property. She is the author of Property Rights and Social Justice: Progressive Property in Action (Cambridge University Press, 2021).

Prof. Dr. Michel Vols is the Principal Investigator in the EVICT project and full professor of law at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. His main fields of research are housing law, human rights, public safety, and legal methodology. He received several grants and awards including an ERC Starting Grant (1.5 million euros) and a Dutch VENI-grant (250.000 euros).

Dr. Sarah Fick is a senior lecturer at the University of the Western Cape, in Cape Town, South Africa. Her research focus in the protection against eviction in terms of the South African Constitution. She has written a number of articles with Prof Michel Vols comparing the South African situation with that of Europe.

For more events and the Monthly Talk Series, please see our event page for further information.

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