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About us Faculty of Law Research Centres of Expertise Groningen Centre for Empirical Legal Research

Björn Hoops

My empirical research investigates the context and the application of private and public law norms concerning land. Two of my empirical studies concern the unauthorised use of municipal land in the Netherlands. In the first empirical study, five case studies draw on field work to set out the original functions of the land used by citizens without authorisation, for what purpose the land is used, and the size of the occupied piece of land. The case studies show that a substantial number of citizens use small pieces of municipal land with various functions to expand their own properties. As citizens will acquire public land by prescription if they have possessed that public land for ten (if acting in good faith) or 20 years, this research highlights the need for municipalities to manage and monitor their land. However, the second empirical study shows on the basis of a questionnaire that fewer than half of all Dutch municipalities have a policy in place to search for unauthorised use actively.

My third empirical study concerns the climate-proofing of buildings through insulation and the installation of renewable energy facilities. To the extent that market mechanisms, carbon taxes, and subsidies fail to bring about the required reduction, the state may have to compel owners to climate-proof their buildings in order to reach climate targets. In the Netherlands, municipalities have the power to compel owners to insulate their buildings, albeit under very narrow conditions. By means of a questionnaire, this study asked municipalities to indicate whether they have exercised this power. If they have not exercised it, the municipalities are asked to specify the reasons for why the power has not been exercised. The responses show that the power is rarely used. Particularly interesting are the reasons for not exercising that power. A third of the municipalities do not perceive compelling owners to insulate their buildings as appropriate. Another third of the municipalities were not aware of that power.

Een of twee (empirisch-juridische) kernpublicaties
B. Hoops, Illegal Land Use in the Netherlands, The Hague: Boom, 2018.

B. Hoops, J.M.R. Exterkate & Y. Hasnaoui, ‘Het afdwingen van de verduurzaming van gebouwen op gemeentelijk niveau: art. 7a en 13 Woningwetonder de empirische loep’, Gemeentestem 2020/54, 280-286.

Last modified:14 May 2020 2.50 p.m.