Instructor(s): James Penner

For graduate students, the course number is LAW5018HF.

Course Location: Please see the "Intensive Course Schedule" under Schedules and Timetables

Note: Students may enroll in an intensive course that conflicts with a regular course as an exception to the general rule that students may not take courses which conflict on the timetable. Attendance at intensive courses is mandatory for the duration of the course and takes precedence over regular courses.

This course explores the way in which the concept of property has figured in political and legal theory.

For better or worse the concept of property figures centrally in many theories of the state and of legitimate political authority. For example, in his seventeenth century work the Second Treatise of Government John Locke claimed, roughly, that men leave the state of nature and enter into civil society under a political authority in order to ensure the protection of their property rights. To take another example, GWF Hegel, writing in the 19th century, (again, roughly) argued that the initial recognition of one person by another as a property owner was the foundation of the entire system of the law and the state. Our purpose in this first part of the module will be to see what the attractions are of locating the concept of property so centrally in political theory, and weighing the success of different ways of doing so.

In the second part of the course we shall turn to property and legal theory, exploring questions such as: What sort of right is a property right? What is ownership, and in particular, what powers (such as the power to transfer property) are essential powers that go with having title to property? What is the significance of possession for property rights? How is property described or misdescribed by Hohfeld’s famous analysis of legal norms into ‘correlative’ and ‘opposite’ ‘jural relations’? Whilst these questions have been discussed in the legal literature since time immemorial, there has been a burst of excellent recent literature making these and related topics really cutting edge stuff.

will be by way an essay of approximately 2500 to 3000 words. Essays can be on any subject so long as they are related to one or more of the course topics. Papers must be delivered to the Records Office by 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 23, 2017.

At a Glance

First Term


20 JD


Monday, October 23, 2017: 2:10 - 4:00
Tuesday, October 24, 2017: 2:10 - 4:00
Wednesday, October 25, 2017: 8:50 - 10:20
Thursday, October 26, 2017: 10:30 - 12:20
Monday, October 30, 2017: 10:30 - 12:20
Tuesday, October 31, 2017: 4:10 - 6:00
Wednesday, November 1, 2017: 2:10 - 4:00
Thursday, November 2, 2017: 12:30 - 2:00