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Southampton Law School
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Professor Peter Sparkes LLB Solicitor

Professor of Property Law

Professor Peter Sparkes's photo

Professor Peter Sparkes is Professor of Property Law (2002-) within Southampton Law School at the University of Southampton.

LLB (Exeter, 1975, First Class Hons), Solicitor (1979)

Author of

Peter speaks on all aspects of the land law of Europe and the EU, notably






Older Publications


Research interests

EU land law, conveyancing and registration

  • P Sparkes European Land Law (Hart, 2007)
  • Cross-Border Acquisition of Residential Property: Problems that Arise for Citizens (European Parliament, PE356.936, 2016) (lead author)
  • Property and Trusts - England and Wales - in the International Encyclopaedia of Laws (Kluwer, in press, 2018)
  • Conference papers on cross border acquisition
  • ‘Will Blockchain Technology Simply Cross-Border Property Transactions?’ (Washington DC, World Bank, December 2016) (contributor)
  • Conference contributions on blockchain in Galway and elsewhere (2017)

Comparative land law

  • Protection of Immovables in European Legal Systems (Cambridge UP, 2015) (co-editor with Prof Sonia Martín Santisteban)
  • Residential Immovables in European Legal Systems (ongoing common core (‘Trento’) project 2015-) co-editor with Prof Matti Niemi and Dr Michael Milo
  • Land in 2- and 3- Dimensions in European Legal Systems (ongoing Trento project, 2016-)
  • Author of report on ‘England and Wales’ in the International Encyclopaedia of Laws (2107)
  • Comparative Land Law of Europe (in progress)

European Tenancy and Housing Law

  • P Sparkes A New Landlord and Tenant (Hart, 2001)
  • TENLAW project, an EU funded investigation of tenancy law in EU-27 states (, 2012-2015) (team leader for England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland)
  • Supervisor of PhD dissertation of Mark Jordan on an aspect of tenancy law in Britain and Ireland (current) and two previous dissertations on aspects of tenancy law
  • ‘Homelessness Prevention in the Context of Evictions’, EU FP-7 funded project (member of Scientific Advisory Board)
  • ‘Tenancy law and Renovation of Energy Systems in Residential Homes’ (German Construction and Housing Agency, 2014) (co-reporter on United Kingdom with Mark Jordan)
  • Housing Law Research Network and European Network of Housing Research (contributor to symposia and conferences)

Modern English land law

  • P Sparkes A New Land Law (Hart, 2nd edn, 2003)
  • ‘Reserving a Slice of Cake’ [2015] 79(4) Conveyancer 301-315, a critique of Scott v Southern Pacific Mortgages [2014] UKSC 52
  • numerous articles, book chapters and conference papers
  • teaching for nearly 40 years

History of land law

  •  Conference papers, book chapters and journal articles on the history of specific performance, ejectment and declarations 

Chair of Special Considerations Board

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Book Chapters

Working Paper

Current teaching:

Land Law and Equity.

SUSU choice as Outstanding Lecturer in the Faculty of Law Business and Arts, 2015.

He is interested in supervising research into comparative law.

Conference Presentations 2013-2018


  • Common Core of European private Law, 24th meeting, Palermo, November 2018 
  • Tenlaw + 3, Valetta , October 2018
  • 'Registration of the Beneficial Ownership of Trusts - Transparency, Curtain or Transparent Curtain?', Society of Legal Scholars, QMUL, September 2018


  • ‘Levelling Land Holdings: the Ineffectiveness of the Universal Franchise’, Montaigne centre, University of Utrecht, November 24th 2017
  • ‘Formalities and Electronic Wills’ at SLS Conference to prepare a response to Law Commission Consultation Paper 231 (2017) on Making Wills, Reading, October 27th 2017
  • ‘Implications of the Grenfell Tower Fire’ Centre for Law Policy and Society, Southampton, October 18th 2017
  • ‘Black Market Phenomena in the London Rental Market’ TENLAW +2, University of Groningen, September 28-29th 2017
  • “England and Wales”  & ‘Cross-border Conveyancing’, University of Bonn, September 18-20th 2017
  • “Nature of Immovables in European Legal Systems” with Prof Matti Niemi and Dr Michael Milo, Common Core of European Private Law, 23rd General Meeting Turin, July 7th-8th 2017 (ongoing project 2015—2019)
  • “Blockchain Conveyancing?” and ‘The Future is Now! - eConveyancing and Title Registration’, NUI Galway, April 7th-8th 2017
  • “Blockchain Conveyancing?”, Housing Law Research Network, Mälmo, March 24th 2017
  • “The Epistemology of Comparative Questionnaires”, Legal Research Methodology, Montaigne Centre, University of Utrecht, February 17th 2017


  • “Blockchain in Cross-border Transactions” in session on ‘Will Blockchain Technology Simplify Cross-border Property Transactions?’
    Law Justice and Development Week 2016, World Bank, Washington DC, December 7th 2016
  • “What is Mortgage Credit?” ‘The Impact of Directive 2014/17 (the Mortgage Credit Directive), Views from Greece, Ireland, Malta, Portugal, the Netherlands and Spain’ Facultat de Dret, University of Barcelona, October 20th-21st 2016
  • “EU Property Law and BrExit: Goodbye to All That?” ‘TENLAW One Year On’ Tarragona, Catalonia, September 29th-30th 2016
  • “Adverse Possession – a response to the Law Commission Consultation Paper (CP 227) on Updating the Land Registration Act 2002” Society of Legal Scholars/ Cambridge Property Law Centre Lincoln’s Inn, June 1st 2016
  • “The Pre-history of Declarations of Title”, Legal History Symposium, Queen Mary and Westfield College, London, April 12th 2016.
  • “Cross Border Acquisitions of Residential Property in the EU: Problems Encountered by Citizens “, Conference on Cross Border Conveyancing, Bavarian representation to the European Parliament, Brussels/ University of Heidelberg , March 16th 2016
  • “Penalties after ParkingEye v Beavis [2015] UKSC 67”, Housing Law Working Group of the European Network of Housing Researchers Coimbra, Portugal, February 26th 2016


  • Framework Revision”, Promoting Protection of the Right to Housing – Homelessness Prevention in the Context of Evictions, closing conference, Brussels, October 2015
  • TENLAW – closing conference, Budapest, September 17-18th 2015
  • Declarations of Title – 1883 And All That”, Society of Legal Scholars Conference, York, September 3rd-4th 2015
  • Common Core of European Private Law 21st General Meeting, Gothenburg , June 12th 2015
  • European Network of Housing Research 2015, Lisbon, June 29th-July 1st 2015
  • TENLAW working meeting, Tallinn/Tartu, Estonia, March 2015


  • TENLAW meeting, Ljubljana, Slovenia, October 16-17th 2014
  • Promoting Protection of the Right to Housing – Homelessness Prevention in the Context of Evictions, working meeting, Leuven, September 11th-12th 2014
  • TENLAW meeting, Delft, February 6th-7th 2014


  • Protection of Immovables, Common Core of European Private Law 19th General Meeting, Turin, November 15th-16th 2013
  • Property and Trusts section (acting chair), Society of Legal Scholars, Edinburgh, September 2nd-5th 2013.
  • European Network of Housing Research, annual Conference, Tarragona, June 20-21st 2013
  • TENLAW meeting
    Tarragona, June 18th-19th 2013


Conferences 2010

  • Conference on Europeanisation of Private Law: Theory and Practice, a Leicester/Durham Duo-Colloquium at Leicester; paper ‘European Contract law: How to Exclude Land?’ (see publications), December
  • Staff seminar ‘Draft Common Frame of Reference; How to Exclude Land’, November
  • Society of Legal Scholars Conference, Southampton,
    Paper at Comparative Law Section, topic ‘Certainty of Property: Numerus Clausus or the Rule With No Name’ September
  • Common Core 16th General Meeting, Turin
    Convened with Prof Sonia Martin Santisteban group on ‘Protection of Immovables’ (see edited book), June
  • Staff seminar, Southampton Law School, ‘Who Owns A Tree?’, May
  • Modern Studies in Property Law Conference at Queen’s College, Cambridge, 
    Paper on ‘Territorial Extremism in Awards of Specific Performance’ (see publications), March

Conferences 2000s

  • Common Core 15th General Meeting, Turin, June 2009
  • SLS Conferences at Durham and LSE,2007-2008 
  • SLS Keele Conference
    Paper on ‘English and European Undue Influence’, September 2006 
  • Conference on ‘Real Property in the EU’, EUI Florence
    January(?) 2003 SLS Seminar at All Souls College, Oxford,September 2005 
  • SPTL Conference, Glasgow,
  • Society of Legal Scholars (SLS), Subject Sections Secretary
    Organised subject sections programmes for conferences at Glasgow, Leicester De Montfort, Oxford, Sheffield and Strathclyde, 2000-2006 - 
  • SPTL Convenor of the Property Law & Trusts Group at UCL
    Chaired session including Sir Robert Walker (Robert Walker LJ), September 2000
  • Third Reading Property Conference
    Paper on ‘Towards A Structure For The Law Of Landlord And Tenant’ (see publications), March 2000

Conferences 1990s

  • SPTL Convenor of the Property Law & Trusts Group at Conferences at Warwick and Manchester ,1998-99
  • Second Reading Property Conference
    Paper on ‘Reimbursement of Tenant Sureties’ (see publications), March 1998
  • Conference Cambridge,September 1996
  • SPTL Conference Cardiff,. Property and Trusts Section,
    Paper on ‘Land Registration and Notice’ (see publications), September 1995
  • SPTL Conference, Norwich
    1992-95 Member SPTL Property Law and Trusts Group panel, September 1994 
  • SPTL seminar on Knowing Receipt and Knowing Assistance at All Souls College, Oxford, October 1992
  • Society of Public Teachers of Law (SPTL) Conference at Oxford, September 1992
  • Trans-Manche Technologie Vector, a collaboration between the  University of Southampton, Portsmouth Polytechnic, and Caen University. Les Aspects Juridiques, Fiscaux et Financiers de l'Implementation des Enterprises en France et au Royaume-Uni,
    Held in Caen
    Paper on Business Leases, jointly with a French speaker.July 1991

Conferences 1980s

  • First National Conference on Law, Computers and Artificial Intelligence, Exeter;
    Paper on ‘AI Models of Legal Reasoning’ (see publications), November 1988
  • Attendance at BILETA Conference and working groups on Computer Assisted Learning, Leicester, March 1988

Publications in English land law etc 1986-1999

University of Southampton 1989-1999

27 articles 1989-1999 range over most aspects of property law (that is land law, conveyancing, landlord and tenant, and equity) as well as capital taxation, local taxation 
52 ‘Towards A Structure For The Law Of Landlord And Tenant’ in Modern Studies in Property Law vol 1, ed EJ Cooke, (Oxford: Hart, 2001) ch 13, 219-238
51 ‘Reimbursement of Tenant Substitutes’ in Contemporary Property Law (eds. P Jackson & DC Wilde (Dartmouth: Ashgate, 1999), 342-361
50 Reform of Perpetuities (1998) 12 Trust Law International 148-157
49 Note on Barclays Bank plc v O'Brien [1995] Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 250
48 How to Simplify Perpetuities [1995] Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 212
47 Certainty of Leasehold Terms (1993) 109 Law Quarterly Review 93-113
46 Case-note on Crago v Julian [1992] Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 375-383
45 Definitional Issues Arising from the Council Tax Proposals          [1992] British Tax Review 305-322
44 Informal Short-term Leases Pt 2 [1992] Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 337-342
43 Informal Short-term Leases Pt 1 [1992] Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 252-262
42 Establishing Easements Against Leaseholds [1992] Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 167-179
41 Death Bed Gifts of Land [1992] Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly 35-52
40 Computer Assisted Learning tutorials on the "Matrimonial Homes Act 1983" and on "Covenants Affecting Land" published with Information Technology in Legal Education ed Abdul Paliwala 1992  
39 Community Charge on Completion of New Houses [1991] Construction Law Journal 131-135 
38 Direct Covenants by Assignees of Building Leases; a note on Vaux Group v Lilley [1991] Journal of Business Law 494-496
37 Implied Terms Relating to Reinstatement After Fire Damage; a note on Vural v Security Archives Ltd [1991] Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 294-297
36 ‘AI Models of Legal Reasoning’ in ME Bennun Computers  Artificial Intelligence and the Law (Chichester: Ellis Horwood, 1991) pp 40-59
35 Tenant's Remedies Against Landlords Who Retain the Domestic Rates Element of Inclusive Rents (1991) 10 Civil Justice Quarterly 62-77
34 Service Charge Variations (1991) 11 Rent Review & Lease Renewal 249-257
33 Casenote on Owen v Elliott  [1991] British Tax Review 385-388 
32 Exclusive Burial Rights [1991] Ecclesiastical Law Journal 133-151
31 The Quantification of Beneficial Interests Arising from Mortgage Advances and Mortgage Contributions (1991) 11 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 39-62
30 Morality, Amorality and Equity [1990] Denning Law Journal 91-104.
29 Casenote on Lewis v Rook [1990] British Tax Review 260-262
28 The Standard Community Charge and the Conveyancer [1990] Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 263-274
27 Effects on the Land Market of the New System of Local Government Finance (1990) 2(3) Land Management and Environmental Law Reporter 38-40 
26 Land Registry Subsales (1990) 140 New Law Journal 1077-1078
25 Beneficial Interest or Licence for Life?  Casenote on Ungurian v. Lesnoff [1990] Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 223-226
24 Drafting Covenants to make Good Inherent Defects (1990) 10 Rent Review and Lease Renewal 218-225

Bristol Polytechnic/University of West of England 1986-1989

23 articles 1986-1989 covering aspects of property law (land law, conveyancing, landlord and tenant, and equity) as well as capital taxation, local taxation, and computing

23 Co-tenants, Joint Tenants and Tenants in Common (1989) 18 Anglo-American Law Review 151-164
22 Community Charge Residence [1989] British Tax Review 411-423
21 Computer Assisted Learning Using Turbo Pascal (1989) 33 Law Teacher 265-278
20 The Discoverability of Occupiers of Registered Land [1989] Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 342-354 
19 Breaking Flat Sharing Licences [1989] Journal of Social Welfare Law 293-307
18 The Language of Cohabitation [1989]] Family Law 328-329
17 Off-the-Shelf Company Lets (1989) 52 Modern Law Review 557-560
16 Backdating Specific Performance [1989] Journal of Legal History 29-36
15 Sexual Secrets (1989) 105 Law Quarterly Review 37-40 
14 Purchasers and Rights of Occupation under the Matrimonial Homes Act 1983 (1989) 52 Modern Law Review 110-114
13 Essexcrest v Evenlex casenote [1988] Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 445-448
12 The 1925 Property Legislation: Curtaining Off the Antecedents. [1988] Statute Law Review 146-159
11 Class Closing and the Wait and See Rule (with R Snape) [1988] Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 339-345
10 Walsh v Lonsdale - The Non-Fusion Fallacy (1988) 8 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 350-363
9 A Caution About Flegg [1988] Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 141-143
8 Leasehold Terms and Contractual Licences (1988) 104 Law Quarterly Review 175-178
7 Forfeiture of Equitable Leases (1987) 16 Anglo-American Law Review 160-173 
6 Inferior Fusion - Equity in the County Courts (1987) 6 Civil Justice Quarterly 304-308 
5 The Derivation of Capital Sums [1987] British Tax Review 323-336
4 Occupiers of Business Premises Pending Completion (1987) 84 Law Society's Gazette 2850-2856
3 Purchasers in Possession [1987] Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 278-286
2 Occupiers: When Do They Bite?  [1986] Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 309-319
1 Car Clamping - A New Life for Distress Damage Feasant [1986] Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 107-121

Professor Peter Sparkes
Southampton Law School, Building 4 University of Southampton Highfield Southampton SO17 1BJ UK

Room Number: 4/4021

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