The doctrine of benefit and burden: reforming the law of covenants and the numerus clausus “problem”

Bevan, Chris (2018) The doctrine of benefit and burden: reforming the law of covenants and the numerus clausus “problem”. Cambridge Law Journal, 77 (1). pp. 72-96. ISSN 1469-2139

PDF - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (315kB) | Preview


The doctrine of benefit and burden - an indirect method for enforcing the burden of positive freehold covenants – developed as an exception the strict Austerberry rule that the burden of positive covenants cannot bind successors directly at law. Three recent Court of Appeal cases (Davies v Jones; Wilkinson v Kerdene and Elwood v Goodman) confirm the continued existence and application of the doctrine but also reveal its deficiencies and limitations. This article explores the contemporary application of the doctrine, identifies its theoretical, historical and elemental frailty and, drawing on recent reform proposals of the Law Commission, highlights the case for reform. In so doing, this article argues that a vital theoretical issue has been overlooked in the reform debate: the numerus clausus principle.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been published in a revised form in Cambridge Law Journal []. This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. © Cambridge Law Journal and contributors 2018.
Keywords: property; benefit and burden; freehold covenants; positive obligations; numerus clausus
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Law
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2018 10:54
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2018 13:58

Actions (Archive Staff Only)

Edit View Edit View