Property Rights: A Re-Examination by J. E Penner (Kwa Geok Choo Professor of Property Law, Kwa Geok Choo Professor of Property Law, National University of Singapore)
Ranging over a host of issues, Property Rights: A Re-Examination pinpoints and addresses a number of theoretical problems at the heart of property theory. Part 1 reconsiders and rejects, once again, 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 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.