Bradbrook and Neave’s “Easements and Restrictive Covenants”, Lexis Nexis Butterworths, Australia 2011

Bradbrook and Neave’s Easements and Restrictive Covenants has been the standard Australian text in the area since the publication of the first edition in 1980.

The book is divided into two parts with Adrian Bradbook taking responsibility for easements and Susan MacCallum updating the work of Marcia Neave, now a member of the Victorian Court of Appeal, on restrictive covenants.

The preface to the third edition claims there is still not a sufficient corpus of Australian material to justify the exclusion of some cases from other common law jurisdictions, but the breadth of its analysis of more parochial decisions is nonetheless impressive.

From a Victorian perspective, the book not only covers the traditional jurisdiction of the Property Law Act 1958, but the Planning and Environment Act 1987, the Subdivision Act 1988 and the various planning schemes too.

This is particularly helpful, for the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal is now dealing with the lion’s share of easement and restrictive covenant matters and if the recommendations of the Victorian Law Reform Commission final report Easements and Covenants (2010) are accepted, VCAT’s jurisdiction in this area will only grow.

If you have the second edition published in 1999, you will find the latest edition most helpful, if only for charting the degree to which various divisions of the Supreme Court have applied or declined to follow Justice Morris’ landmark decision in Stanhill v Jackson [2005] VSC 169, a decision that aimed to re-write the way in which restrictive covenants are modified or removed under section 84 of the Property Law Act 1958.

This is a well written and thoroughly researched text. The respect it has developed is evident in its widespread citation by Judges and Tribunal Members alike. No one who practices in this area should work without it.

Matthew Townsend