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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11 of 11: How Do Roman Property Rules Deal with Beaches? [No. 86]

Professor Richard Epstein explains how and why, in the Roman system, beaches were always publicly accessible. A strip of land along a waterway could not be claimed by a private owner because that would hamper the ability of people to use the body of ... Professor Richard Epstein explains how and why, in the Roman system, beaches were always publicly accessible. A strip of land along a waterway could not be claimed by a private owner because that would hamper the ability of people to use the body of water as a means of transportation or for other resources. Common access and public ownership improved the overall efficiency and productivity of the community.

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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