Property, Doctrinal Issues In

Few legal terms are so commonly used in popular parlance as the word property: property talk helps to make sense of much of the world about us. Yet for all but the most casual observer, the notion of property—as a social and legal institution—has long proved highly elusive. On deeper analysis, the phenomenon of property is much more fragile—much less constant or absolute—than is generally supposed. One of the common law world's most distinguished supreme courts, the High Court of Australia, wrote that the “ultimate fact about property is that it does not really exist: it is mere illusion” (Yanner v. Eaton, 1999, 201 CLR 351).

Some of the larger questions faced by every modern liberal democracy center on the scope and content of the property ...

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