Ancillary rights in servitude law

Van Staden, Sonja (2015-12)

Thesis (LLD)--Stellenbosch University, 2015

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT :Servitudes are regulated in South African law by the principles of the common law. One set of principles regulate servitudes ex ante – limiting and controlling the establishment of servitudes. Another set of principles regulate the continued relationship between the parties. They include the principle that a servitude, once granted, includes all that is necessary for the effective exercise of the servitude by the dominant proprietor and the principle that requires reasonable exercise of the servitude rights with due regard for the interests of the servient proprietor. The problem lies in determining the scope of a servitude and establishing whether “what is necessary for the effective exercise of the rights” is a flexible concept, especially when flexible interpretation of servitudes creates tension between the two principles mentioned above. The approach of South African courts is to maintain stability in the system of property law, thus emphasising the principle that servitudes are to be interpreted strictly. A comparative and theoretical overview indicates that a recent shift has taken place in the regulation of servitudes from an ex ante approach focussing on security and stability of property rights, towards a flexible regulation of servitudes by way of ex post controls that allow amendment or termination of obsolete or undesirable burdens on land. This shift is underpinned by the reality of changed circumstances and the need for servitudes, as long-standing property arrangements, to adapt to changes so as to ensure the productive use of land as a resource. With reference to Dutch, Scots, English and Louisiana state law, this dissertation considers ways to incorporate flexibility in servitude law, usually by way of statutory intervention. However, in South African servitude law the possibility of statutory intervention is slim. Accordingly, innovative measures must be developed within the common law framework. The need for flexibility in South African servitude law can be satisfied by development of the common law in the form of ex post application of the existing common law principles. If these principles are applied in a manner that takes account of the current context of the servitude, many of the problems created by the view that servitudes are static and unchangeable can be solved. If properly implemented, this can allow for the amendment of existing entitlements or acknowledgement of new ancillary entitlements, without compromising the security of property rights.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : In die Suid Afrikaanse reg word serwitute gereguleer deur die beginsels van die gemenereg. Een stel beginsels reguleer serwitute ex ante deur geldigheidsvereistes wat hul vestiging beheer en beperk. ʼn Tweede stel beginsels reguleer die verhouding tussen die partye. Hierdie beginsels behels onder andere dat ʼn serwituut alles insluit wat noodsaaklik is vir die effektiewe uitoefening daarvan, asook dat serwitute redelik uitgeoefen moet word. Die omvang van serwitute is onduidelik en dit is onseker of “wat noodsaaklik is vir die effektiewe uitoefening van die regte” ʼn buigsame begrip is, veral aangesien ʼn buigsame interpretasie van serwitute spanning veroorsaak tussen die bogenoemde beginsels. Die uitgangspunt van Suid Afrikaanse howe is dat stabiliteit in die Sakereg noodsaaklik is en hulle beklemtoon dus die beginsel dat serwitute op die mins beswarende wyse vir die dienende erf uitgelê moet word. ʼn Vergelykende en teoretiese perspektief toon aan dat ʼn verskuiwing plaasgevind het vanaf die ex ante benadering, met sy sterk fokus op sekuriteit en stabiliteit in die Sakereg, na ʼn buigbare regulering wat die wysiging of beëindiging van ongewensde of uitgediende regte moontlik maak. Een van die hoofredes vir hierdie verskuiwing is die realiteit van veranderende omstandighede en die noodsaaklikheid vir serwitute om aanpasbaar te wees ten einde die effektiewe gebruik van grond te verseker. Met verwysing na Engelse, Skotse Nederlandse en Louisiana-reg, oorweeg hierdie proefskrif verskillende wyses waarop buigsaamheid verseker kan word in die regulerende raamwerk wat op serwitutevan toepassing is, meestal deur statutêre ingryping. Aangesien statutêre ingryping in die Suid Afrikaanse stelsel onwaarskynlik is, sal innoverende maatreëls binne die gemeenregtelike raamwerk ontwikkel moet word. Die behoefte aan buigsaamheid in die Suid Afrikaanse serwituutreg kan bevredig word deur die gemenereg sodanig te ontwikkel dat die bestaande beginsels ex post toegepas word, met klem op die huidige konteks en omstandighede. Hierdie ontwikkeling sal baie van die probleme oplos wat ontstaan as gevolg van die standpunt dat serwitute staties en onveranderbaar is. Indien dit behoorlik geïmplementeer word, kan hierdie ontwikkeling verseker dat bestaande bevoegdhede gewysig of nuwe bevoegdhede erken kan word, sonder om die sekuriteit van saaklike belange in gedrang te bring.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/97790
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