The Concept of Ownership and the Relativity of Title
Jurisprudence, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 191-203, 2011
13 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2011
Date Written: November 9, 2011
What does the relativity of title tell us about the concept of ownership in the common law? The traditional answer is that the common law protects not ownership but rather rights to possess of varying strength. There are no owners on this view, just possessors. A modern version of this story, equally reductionist, is that there are no possessors, only owners. The law resolves conflicts between owners by privileging pre-existing rights. Neither version of the story adequately locates the place of ownership in a system of law that also treats title as relative. This paper sets out the beginnings of an account that attempts to do just that.
Keywords: property, ownership, relativity of title
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