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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8 of 11: Private Rights and Public Resources in Roman Law [No. 86]

How did the Roman system address the tension between private property and access to public resources? Professor Richard Epstein explains how the Romans restricted private property rights around common resources, such as a river. People were not all ... How did the Roman system address the tension between private property and access to public resources?

Professor Richard Epstein explains how the Romans restricted private property rights around common resources, such as a river. People were not allowed to form blockades, damage the resource, or exploit the materials in a way that excluded others. Preserving a resource as public maximized the productivity and enjoyment of all of the citizens.

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.

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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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