Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
How to find us prof. mr. dr. L.C.A. (Leon) Verstappen

prof. mr. dr. L.C.A. Verstappen

Hoogleraar privaatrecht, in het bijzonder notarieel recht
prof. mr. dr. L.C.A. Verstappen
050 36 35762 (+31503635762)

Curriculum Vitae Prof. Dr L.C.A. (Leon) Verstappen  

Key qualifications / Fields of Expertise

Professor Verstappen has been working since 1990 as (assistant and later full) professor at two universities, developing new curricula and learning methods, giving lectures on different legal subjects, developing and conducting research, and supervising (PhD-)students. He is leading expert in developing university programmes and professional training for notaries (Radboud University of Nijmegen, University of Groningen, Grotius Academy, Foundation for professional training of notaries ‘SBN’). In the past, he was Dean of the Faculty of Law and Head of the Department of Private and Notarial Law.

Professor Verstappen has been working in notary legal practice since 1989, making notarial deeds, and since his appointment as full professor of private law, especially notarial law, supporting legal procedures and advising clients of the same law firm (Hekkelman advocates and notaries in Arnhem/Nijmegen). He has been appointed as deputy judge at the Court of Appeal in Leeuwarden/Arnhem and currently at the Court of Appeal in The Hague, and he advises legal professionals.

Professor Verstappen is a leading expert in private and notarial law (family law and property law), in terms of theoretical and practical knowledge. He holds positions as editor in chief of a considerable amount of book series and journals.

Professor Verstappen is an expert in legal knowledge systems (developed a new notary knowledge system, practical manuals for notaries, to which approximately 80 authors contribute and which is distributed among notary offices in the Netherlands; it contains four comprehensive manuals). 

One of his major achievements is the drafting of four bills on behalf of the Dutch ministry of Safety and Justice and three political parties of the Dutch Second Chamber of Parliament on the modernisation matrimonial property law. All four laws have been accepted in parliament; the last one took effect as form 1st of January 2018. This project lasted over 20 years. 

Professor Verstappen has initiated/(co-)founded a number of (inter)national initiatives and networks, such as: Groningen Centre for Law and Governance, Netherlands Institute for Law and Governance, International Alliance on Land Tenure and Administration (IALTA), Foundation The Land Portal, Expropriation Expert Group, Dutch-Belgium Research Community on Family & Law. IALTA is member of the International Land Coalition (ILC) and the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN).

His international activities concern land rights issues. He participates in the multi-stakeholder Dialogue on Land Governance (MSDLG) organised by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, contributing to the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forestry in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT). In the context of his interest in ‘Land’, he and his team organised in cooperation with scholars from South Africa international conferences on expropriation law.  As a follow-up of these conferences, two of his PhD researchers conducted extensive empirical and comparative research under his supervision into the legal procedures and safeguards regarding expropriation and forced eviction in 50 countries. Moreover, he founded and chairs Foundation ‘The Land Portal’, a Dutch legal entity that takes care of the website, which is world leading in resource for information, data and knowledge-exchange on land governance issues. The social impact is to improve the quality of decision-making by making all types of data and information on land issues easily accessible to the international land community. 


1. Educational record

  • Secondary education: Gymnasium-B, St. Thomascollege in Venlo (1977-1983).
  • University: Radboud University Nijmegen (former Catholic University Nijmegen), Law faculty (1983-1989); Dutch Law and Dutch notary Law. February 29th 1996 PhD (doctor in law) on the thesis ‘Universal succession in title’ (‘Rechtsopvolging onder algemene titel’).

2. Employment record


  • From January 1990 to 1998: part-time assistant professor section Notary Law at the former Catholic University Nijmegen, now Radboud University Nijmegen.
  • 1 December 1998 to date: professor of private law, especially notarial law at the Department for Private and Notarial Law of the Faculty of Law University of Groningen (0,8 fte).
  • From 1 September 2001 to 1 January 2004: head of the Department of Private Law and Notary Law.
  • From 1 September 2006 to 1 September 2010: Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Groningen.
  • From 1 September 2010 to 1 September 2014: Academic Director Groningen Centre for Law and Governance.
  • From 1 September 2016 to 1 Februari 2020: head of the Department of Private Law and Notary Law.

2. Practical experience 

  • From 1 August 1989 to 1 October 1991: associate at Dijkstra-de Graaff, notaries in Apeldoorn.
  • From 1 October 1991 to date: associate and advisor at Hekkelman, advocates and notaries in Arnhem and Nijmegen.

3. Secondary positions

Editorial positions

  • Editor “Weekblad voor Privaatrecht, Notariaat en Registratie”
  • Annotator “Nederlandse Jurisprudentie”
  • Editor “Modellen voor de Rechtspraktijk”
  • Editor-in-chief practical manuals for notaries
  • Editor “Tekst & Commentaar Erfrecht”
  • Editor-in-chief “Netherlands Institute for Law and Governance”-series (NILG-series), as well as NILG-sub-series on Family and Law, on Real estate, environment and law
  • Editor open access journal “Family & Law”
  • Editor, Rethinking Expropriation Law series (Expropriation Expert Group)

4. Other secondary positions 

  • Legal advisor to legal professionals
  • Deputy-judge of the Court of Appeal Leeuwarden/Arnhem and later Court of Appeal The Hague
  • Board member of the Foundation Gewin Storm de Grave trust
  • Board member of Foundation for Professional Training of Notaries, section Family Law (Stichting Beroepsopleiding Notariaat, ‘SBN’ (non-remunerated)
  • Secretary of the Foundation of Product History (Stichting voor Produktgeschiedenis, formerly Stichting Industrial History and Design) (non-remunerated)
  • Member of the board of governors of the Grotius Academy (Stichting Grotius Academie) (non-remunerated)
  • Member of the Supervisory Board of the Foundation for the advancement of Notarial Science in Amsterdam (Stichting tot Bevordering der Notariële Wetenschap) (non-remunerated)
  • Chair Trust Foundation Practical Notarial Manuals (Stichting Beheer Auteursrechten Praktijkhandboeken Notariaat) (non-remunerated)
  • Co-founder and member of the Board/academic director from 2009 to 2014 of the Netherlands Institute for Law and of the Governance and the Groningen Centre for Law and Governance (non-remunerated)
  • Chair of the International Alliance on Law and Governance (IALTA, (non-remunerated)
  • Chair of the Foundation The Land Portal (Land Portal, (non-remunerated)
  • Fellow of the European Law Institute (non-remunerated)
  • Member of the Board of Advice of the Association of Notary Specialists on Real Estate (Vereniging Notariële Registergoed Specialisten, (non-remunerated)
  • Member of the Board of Advice of the Young Property Lawyers Forum (YPLF, net) (non-remunerated)
  • Member of the Board of the Dutch Association for Comparative Law (non-remunerated)
  • Member of the Board of Foundation Family and juvinile law Groningen (non-remunerated)

5. PhD projects



Realised PhD projects



1. Wilbert Kolkman

Debts of the inheritance (2006)

2. Gert van Rijssen

Transfer of contracts (2006)

3. Hisashi Owada

Doctor honoris causa (2010)

4. Birgit Snijder-Kuipers

Transition of legal entities (2010)

5. Yongjun Zhao

China’s rural development challenges: land tenure reform and local institutional experimentation (2010)

6. Dolf Plaggemars

Competition between notaries (2011)

7. Noortje Vegter

Association of home owners (2012)

8. Hans ter Haar

Asset management of minors (2013)

9. Fokke Jan Vonck

Leasehold (2013)

10. Irene Visser

Foreclosure (2013)

11. Ronald Brinkman

Fideicommis in notary practice (2014)

12. Lan Huong Nguyen 

Land tenure security for agricultural growth and rural poverty reduction in China and Vietnam (2014)

13. Linlin Li

Transformation of the law on farmland transfer in China (2016)

14. Martijn Albers

Taxation on real rights (2017)

15. Peter Ng’ang’a Mburu

Modernisation of Land registration in Kenya (2017

16. Bjorn Hoops

Legitimate Justification of expropriation (2017)

17. Nicholas Tagliarino

Comparative study on expropriation (2019)

 Ongoing projects

1. Rutger Timmer

Landregistratie en third party protection


2. Leon van den Broeke

The law on funerals and religion


3. Arie Mes

3-D property


4. Peter Blokland

Exclusion clause


5. Jan Hein Lieber

Division of property


6. Tiddo Bos

Riscs of transactions and the role of the notary


7. Joe van Anken 

Fixation principle and insolvency of an estate 


8. Arnaud Wilod Versprille

Company law


6. Languages

  • Dutch: fluent, native speaker
  • English: proficient in speaking, reading and writing
  • German: proficient in speaking, reading and writing
  • Spanish: basic

7. Awards

  • In 2009 elected by peers as the best notarial lawyer of the Netherlands


Laatst gewijzigd:03 juli 2020 11:26

Contact information

Oude Kijk in 't Jatstraat 26
9712 EK Groningen
The Netherlands

Harmonie building

Working hours:
Absent at Monday
+31 50 36 35762 (+31503635762)