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 research assistant 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 at Cambridge (UK), Berkeley (US), Quebec (Canada), Harvard (US), Osnabrück and Hamburg (Germany).
He 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. In 2009 he was elected fellow at the South African Research Chair in Property law at the University of Stellenbosch.
He is Deputy Justice at the Court of Appeals of ‘s-Hertogenbosch (the Netherlands), President of the Netherlands Comparative Law Association, member of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Legal Science in Paris, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Electronic “Journal of Comparative Law”, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the “European Property law Journal” and Editor-in-Chief of the Ius Commune casebook “Property Law.
From September 2004 until October 2006, he was Marie Curie Fellow at the Centre of European Law and Politics at the University of Bremen (ZERP) and continues to teach comparative and European property law at the Universities of Bremen and Oldenburg as part of the Hanse Law School programme.