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.
Prerequisite(s): LAWS 1001 and LAWS 1002.

We explore how law has responded to social and economic change through concepts of the person and property and the role of legal concepts (and taxonomies) in shaping how we think about and respond to new challenges.
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 foundations of the market economy. Law provides identity and agency to persons, and to creates an information system that identifies and secures property rights. Who and what counts as person or property has been contested in every period including our own. In this way legal doctrine to spins complex webs of interpretation of social life, defines individuality and humanity and frames the relationship between collective and individual life (per Cotterrell).

We can harvest human tissue, freeze human eggs and sperm, and donate organs. 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 the wilderness, eco-systems and nature? What is (or could be)its status? Should it be seen as a Commons (for everyone), as public property held by the state? A commodity that can be owned (and sold) as private property? Could it even be seen as a legal person?

CRN for section V: 20943

CRN for section VOD (optional Video On Demand service): 20944

Instructor: T. Brettel Dawson

T. Brettel Dawson

About the instructor: My work is informed by a 'law in context' approach. In addition to ongoing work feminist legal studies, I have become interested in links between judicial education and judicial process. I am examining the development and scope of 'social context education' in Canada. Judicial decision-making (and reasoning) is a closely related area of consideration. These areas are closely aligned with my long-standing interest in curriculum design and development in law. I was born in New Zealand and came to Canada for my graduate work in law. I have been on faculty at Carleton since 1986.

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