LAWS 2201 V - Persons and Property

Origins and scope of the concept of person in law and how concepts of legal personality change over time. Origins and scope of the concept of property and how concepts of property change over time. Precludes additional credit for LAWS 2003 [1.0] (no longer offered). Prerequisite(s): LAWS 1000.

Although grounded in Private Law (as distinct from say, Criminal Law or Constitutional Law), many of the concepts linked to 'persons' and 'property' have wide relevance to the study of law. In the law of persons we find ideas of personal autonomy and choice. In the law of property we find the foundation of the market economy. We see the role of law as providing identity and agency to persons, to create an information system that identifies and secures property rights. To paraphrase a leading scholar in this area, Roger Cotterell, we also find that these concepts allow legal doctrine to spin complex webs of interpretation of social life, to define individuality and humanity and the relations between collective and individual life.

We can harvest human tissue, freeze human eggs and sperm, donate organs and act as surrogate mothers. What are the legal implications? Should we think of human tissue as property to be bought or sold? Hundreds of years of law have steadfastly found that the human body is not person or property…is it time to change those laws? Can anything be bought and sold in the market? What about water? What is (or should be) the status of water in 'property law' terms? Is it a Commons? A public trust? A commodity that can be owned (and sold) as private property?

This course examines the origins and scope of the concept of person and property in law and how concepts of legal personality and property change over time. We'll explore how law has responded to social and economic change and the role of legal concepts (and taxonomies) in shaping how we think about and respond to changes and challenges.

CRN for section V: 13253

CRN for section VOD (optional Video On Demand service): 13254

In-class lecture time & location:
Tuesdays, 2:35pm to 5:25pm, 624 SA

Instructor: Craig McFarlane

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