The Scope of Conversion: Property and Contract

21 Pages Posted: 4 May 2011

See all articles by Simon Douglas

Simon Douglas

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: May 2011


The article asks whether the tort of conversion should be expanded so as to protect contractual rights. The suggestion, found in recent case law and academic texts, that conversion should protect contractual rights because such rights belong to the law of property is rejected. It is argued that this approach is purely semantic and ignores the fact that contractual rights have different characteristics to other kinds of rights that we typically class as ‘property rights’. The better approach, it is argued, is to ask whether it is actually possible to protect contractual rights through the tort of conversion. The article attempts to show that the absence of certain features from contractual rights, in particular the fact that such rights do not relate to a physical object and are not exigible against the world, makes the expansion of conversion extremely difficult.

Suggested Citation

Douglas, Simon, The Scope of Conversion: Property and Contract (May 2011). The Modern Law Review, Vol. 74, Issue 3, pp. 329-349, 2011, Available at SSRN: or

Simon Douglas (Contact Author)

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