Bailment and the Property/Contract Interface

42 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2015

See all articles by Christopher M. Newman

Christopher M. Newman

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School

Date Written: September 2, 2015


This article seeks to contribute to both the theory of private law and our understanding of bailment doctrine. Building on earlier work by Thomas Merrill and Henry Smith, I offer a revised model of the interplay between property and contract, one that incorporates the concept of license. Applying this model to bailment doctrine, I find that it resolves certain problems that have long vexed the field, including the nature of a constructive bailment and the standard of liability for so-called “contractual deviation.”

Keywords: bailment, property, contract, property theory, private law theory, property/contract interface

JEL Classification: K11, K12

Suggested Citation

Newman, Christopher M., Bailment and the Property/Contract Interface (September 2, 2015). George Mason Legal Studies Research Paper No. LS 15-12, Available at SSRN: or

Christopher M. Newman (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

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