Sjef van Erp holds a law degree from Tilburg University (1977) and studied at the Faculté Internationale pour l’Enseignement du Droit Comparé and the The Hague Academy of International Law. After working as a junior lawyer and adviser at the Netherlands Royal Society of Notaries, he started working as an assistant professor at the Faculty of Law of Tilburg University. As a visiting scholar, he did comparative legal research at the Max-Planck-Institut für ausländisches und internationales Privatrecht (Germany), Wolfson College Cambridge (UK) and Berkeley (US). In 1990, he completed his doctorate thesis and continued his work at Tilburg University as an associate professor. He continued his research abroad and was visiting professor at Université Laval (Quebec, Canada) and Cornell University (US), and Socrates visiting professor at Trento University (Italy). In 1997, Sjef van Erp was appointed Professor of Civil Law and European Private Law at Maastricht University. From October 2004 until October 2006 he was Marie Curie Fellow and visiting professor at the Institute for Law and Politics at Bremen University (Germany).
In 2009 he was elected fellow at the South African Research Chair in Property law at the University of Stellenbosch and in 2011 he was elected titular member of the International Academy of Comparative Law and Member of the American Law Institute (www.ali.org). He is Deputy Justice at the Court of Appeals of ‘s-Hertogenbosch (the Netherlands), advisor for European law to the Royal Netherlands Society of Notaries and to the European Land Registry Association (www.elra.eu), past President of the Netherlands Comparative Law Association, Vice-President of the World Society of Mixed Jurisdiction Jurists, member of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Legal Science, co-founder and Advisory Editor (until 2014: Editor-in-Chief) of the European Journal of Comparative Law and Governance (continuation of the Electronic Journal of Comparative Law, www.ejcl.org), co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the European Property law Journal (published by DeGruyter in Berlin), Editor-in-Chief of the Ius Commune casebook “Property Law” (www.casebooks.eu), member of the Advisory Board of the Edinburgh Law Review, coordinating programme leader “property law” of the Ius Coummune research school (www.iuscommune.eu), co-founding Council Member and Member of the Executive Committee of the European Law Institute (ELI, www.europeanlawinstitute.eu), chair of the ELI’s International Relations Committee, one of the initiators of the International Alliance on Land Tenure and Administration, foreign expert member of the Collegio dei docenti del Dottorato in Studi giuridici comparati ed europei of Trento University (Italy), and he is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Law, Property and Society. In his capacity as Deputy Justice he was a member of the EU Common Frame of Reference Network of stakeholders, responsible for evaluating the proposals for a European sales and property law.
Other professional activities include: lecturing comparative and European property law at the China-EU School of Law in Beijing, the University of Stellenbosch (South Africa), the Universities of Bremen and Oldenburg (Germany) and the Russian School for Private Law (connected with the Institute for State and Law) in Moscow. He was a member of a Dutch group of experts to assist Armenia, the Baltic States, Belarus, Eritrea, Hungary, Mongolia, Poland, the Russian Federation and Ukraine during the redrafting process of civil and commercial law (including the training of judges). Sjef van Erp has been head consultant in the revision process of the Armenian Civil Code. He was a member of the board of trustees of the Dutch Inter-University Foundation ‘Centre for International Legal Cooperation’ in The Hague. He evaluates research proposals for government funding agencies in the Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain, Italy, Switzerland and South Africa. His research focuses on comparative and European private law, particularly property law, comparative private international law and the comparison of the American federal experience with European integration.