Lisa Austin, ‘Property and the Rule of Law’

This paper offers a new framework for thinking about the relationship between the common law of property and the rule of law. The standard way of framing this relationship is within the terms of the form/substance debate within the literature on the rule of law: Does the rule of law include only formal and procedural aspects or does it also encompass and support substantive rights such as private property rights and civil liberties? By focusing on the nature of common-law reasoning, I wish to question the form/substance dichotomy that frames this debate and to show that the formal aspects of the rule of law are in fact principles widely adopted within the practice of common-law reasoning and as such play a large role in shaping the substantive content of common-law property rights. Understanding this has implications beyond the relationship between property law and the rule of law.

Lisa Austin, ‘Property and the Rule of Law’. Legal Theory, Volume 20, Issue 2, June 2014, pp 79-105. Published online: 7 August 2014.

First posted 2014-08-08 06:05:17

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