Property and the Common Law

Property and the Common Law

What kind of rule provides stable property possession within a complex system of property ownership and leasing?  Professor Richard Epstein of NYU School of Law gives a basic definition of the rules of property, then goes through a variety of cases and examples integral to Anglo-American property law.  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.

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10 of 11: Sovereignty Over the Waterways: Roman vs. Modern Views [No. 86]

Professor Richard Epstein discusses what it means for governments to hold public waterways “in trust.” Modern societies must develop and enforce rules to govern shared waters because of the high demand for the resource. Professor Epstein explains ... Professor Richard Epstein discusses what it means for governments to hold public waterways “in trust.” Modern societies must develop and enforce rules to govern shared waters because of the high demand for the resource. Professor Epstein explains that a simple natural law system, such as Roman law, did not require this governmental oversight. The Romans had limited private usage of water and sparse population, so waterways were never overburdened.

Professor Richard Epstein is the inaugural Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law at NYU School of Law, a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and Professor of Law Emeritus and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago.

As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.

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