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Towards a sustainable future for the rule against perpetuities

Honey, R. (2011) Towards a sustainable future for the rule against perpetuities. In: Carruthers, Penny, Mascher, Sharon and Skead, Natalie, (eds.) Property and sustainability: Selected essays. Thomson Reuters, Australia, Pyrmont, N.S.W., pp. 303-329.

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The rule against remoteness of vesting, otherwise known as the modern rule against perpetuities, has few admirers these days. Within universities, property law teachers conscientiously discharge their obligation to explain, as clearly as possible, this infamously abstruse rule. Mystified students struggle to comprehend it- motivated solely by a potent (although usually unfounded) fear that it will be assessed. Beyond law school, the rule against perpetuities is regarded by many practitioners as an anachronism - a lingering remnant of 18th century property law invariably circumvented by the stipulation of a statutory perpetuity period. Each Australian jurisdiction has implemented legislative reforms to simplify the rule and ameliorate its operation. However, it is submitted that these reforms have had only limited success and, indeed, have sometimes compounded the problems. This chapter briefly examines three key areas of concern and puts a case for undertaking coordinated legislative reforms to produce consistent and workable perpetuity laws throughout Australia.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Business
Publisher: Thomson Reuters, Australia
Copyright: Thomson Reuters, Australia
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