Common Law

Course Description

In law school, the four major branches of the Common Law, property, contract, tort, and restitution are treated as distinct subjects with arbitrary rules. Professor Richard Epstein of NYU School of Law argues that this approach misses the mark, that there is a deep intellectual unity among these subjects.

Professor Epstein provides an alternative to the conventional view that property rights are arbitrarily created by the state, and therefore can be changed at will by the state; a few simple rules, he argues, are universal principles of social organization, consistent across time and culture, which form the basis of social gains.  

This course explores in four parts:

About this Course

Total run time:

1h 23m


Common Law

Total videos:



First Year


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Course Teachers

Frequently Asked Questions

The material is for first-year law students who are being exposed to the Common Law for the first time in their Property, Contracts and Torts classes. It’s also relevant for anyone interested in learning about the Common Law more generally.
In law school, Property, Contracts and Torts are taught as separate subjects, but Professor Richard Epstein explores and argues for the foundational unity among them. This course presents a different way of thinking about those subjects, and the cases and principles therein, than you might hear in class.
Watch short, digestible videos - on the No. 86 website, on Youtube, or delivered to you in your email inbox!
A course is a full academic subject, and a module is a subsection of a course. Modules are composed of individual videos on related subjects.
This material is designed as a supplement to classroom learning. No credit is offered.
All material is 100% free!