James Smith, ‘Some Preliminary Thoughts on the Law of Neighbors’

A fundamental characteristic of real property law, one that is definitional in nature, is that its subject matter consists of land parcels. A land parcel, in contrast to an ownership interest such as a fee simple estate, is not an abstraction. Each land parcel has a physical reality, and virtually all land parcels abut other parcels. Each parcel has one particular location, defined by its proximity to other pieces of property. The value of a land parcel depends heavily upon its location, and the nature of neighboring parcels has a major impact in determining that value.

Owners of neighboring parcels have sets of rights, privileges, and duties that define their legal relationships with neighbors. In Anglo-American law, those rights, privileges, and duties are components of real property law, but they are not a recognized category of real property law. Rather, they represent the application of general doctrines and rules to neighbors, instead of a distinct and cohesive body of law of its own. Other legal systems have developed distinct bodies of law to govern relations among neighbors …

Smith, James Charles, Some Preliminary Thoughts on the Law of Neighbors (May 8, 2012). Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, Vol. 39, pp. 757 – 786, 2012; UGA Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-05.

First posted 2012-05-09 20:27:37

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