Civil Law Workshops 2018-2020 - The Influences in Private Law
Sarah Worthington (Cambridge University), "The Power of Property in Private Law"
Friday, March 29, 2019, 13:00-14:30, room 202, New Chancellor Day Hall
This lecture will address the reliance that the common law, and equity in particular, place on the idea of property, and in particular what is achieved by that reliance. Of course the practical power of the trust and all that it enables in both commercial and domestic settings is well known. But I want also to move beyond that feature and address the notion that reliance on the idea of property enables difficult policy choices to be injected into judicial decisions in an astonishingly subliminal way. Property law has the reputation for being politically neutral and doctrinally rigorous, with any practical conclusions following from the very nature of things rather than requiring any normative assessment. That view appears flawed. This is an idea I have addressed periodically, but it seems apt to revisit it in the context of this series of lectures.