The Many Faces of Adverse Possession: Economic and Empirical Analyses of Laws in 156 Jurisdictions

49 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2020

See all articles by Yun-chien Chang

Yun-chien Chang

Academia Sinica - Institutum Iurisprudentiae (IIAS)

Date Written: March 22, 2020

Abstract

Acquisitive prescription, a broader concept than adverse possession, is adopted in at least 130 jurisdictions in the world, and the doctrine dates back to Roman law. This article first surveys the wide variety of designs of acquisitive prescription in the world, and then uses economic analysis of law to further examine the merits of these various designs. Contrary to many prior works, this article argues that the most justifiable form of acquisitive prescription is a registration-based one with title and good-faith requirements — Possession, however, is redundant, even creating undesirable results. Given that boundary disputes can be left for another doctrine, possession-based acquisitive prescription, no matter whether possessors are in good faith or bad faith, can hardly be justified in economic terms in countries with well-functioning registrars, if they do not have title. Possession-based acquisitive prescription can only be justified in countries with dysfunctional registrars.

Keywords: Acquisitive prescription, registration of title, recording (recordation), hostile possession, color of title, ownership, liability rule, mechanism design

JEL Classification: K11

Suggested Citation

Chang, Yun-chien, The Many Faces of Adverse Possession: Economic and Empirical Analyses of Laws in 156 Jurisdictions (March 22, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3558800 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3558800

Yun-chien Chang (Contact Author)

Academia Sinica - Institutum Iurisprudentiae (IIAS) ( email )

128 Academia Sinica Rd., Sec. 2
Nankang
Taipei City, 11529
Taiwan

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
52
Abstract Views
253
rank
422,855
PlumX Metrics