What is Property?

AuthorRobert Chambers
The law of property is the most commonly encountered area of law but
perhaps the least understood. It can b e complicated and counterintui-
tive, yet we rely on it every day. The simple act of getting dressed in
the morning involves having the right to some clothes to wear and the
right to be in some private space in which to put them on. Chi ldren can
own things long before they are able to make contr acts. Property law i s
important to us because it def‌ines and protects our rights to things and
provides a framework for sharing them w ith others.
Most law students begin their study of property law in their f‌irst
year, and many f‌ind it to be the most challeng ing part of the f‌irst-year
program. Property law is an old subject in which ancient concepts and
terms are stil l in use. It is also a broad subject, intruding on other areas
of law. It intersects with the law of contracts whenever people buy and
sell things. The wrongful interference with property may be a tort or a
crime. The power to make laws concerning property involves constitu-
tional law, as does the protection of Aboriginal title.
This book provides an introduction to the law of property that is
meant to be accessible to law students and l ay people. The key to under-
standing property l aw is to acquire a solid grasp of its fundamental
concepts and to keep them in mind when exploring the topic in detail.
And there is a lot of detail. This is one area of law in which it is very
easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees.

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