The LSE Private Law Forum presents: Book talk for James Penner’s Property Rights: A Re-Examination. Commentary by Rowan Cruft, Yael Lifshitz, and Ira Lindsay.
The book pinpoints and addresses a number of problems at the heart of property theory. Part 1 reconsiders and rejects the bundle of rights picture of property and the related nominalist theories of property, showing that ownership reflects a tripartite structure of title: the right to immediate, exclusive, possession, the power to license what would otherwise be a trespass, and the power to transfer ownership. Part 2 explores in detail the Hohfeldian theory of jural relations, in particular liberties and powers and Hohfeld’s concept of ‘multital’ jural relations, and shows that this theory fails to illuminate the nature of property rights, and indeed obscures much that it is vital to understand about them. Part 3 considers the form and justification of property rights, beginning with the relation between an owner’s liberty to use her property and her ‘right to exclude’, with particular reference to the tort of nuisance. Next up for consideration is the Kantian theory of property rights, the deficiencies of which lead us to understand that the only natural right to things is a form of use – or usufructory – right. Part 3 concludes by addressing the ever-vexed question of property rights in land.
James Penner is the Kwa Geok Choo Professor of Property Law at the National University of Singapore. He is one of the world’s leading experts in the philosophy of property and the law of trusts, and writes widely in the areas of private law and the philosophy of law.
Rowan Cruft is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Stirling. His work, including his recent book Human Rights, Ownership, and the Individual, focuses on the nature and moral foundation of rights and duties.
Yael Lifshitz is Lecturer in Property Law at KCL. Her scholarship examines the diverse set of rules and institutions that govern access to resources, focusing on questions of property law and theory.
Ira Lindsay is Senior Lecturer at the University of Surrey School of Law. His research interests include taxation, property, jurisprudence, and political philosophy.
Please contact Nick Sage if you would like to attend.