Possession Taken by Theft and the Original Acquisition of Personal Property Rights

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


This paper queries the soundness of the view that wrongful possession (eg a thief’s possession of goods he has stolen) should be protected by the standard actions for interference with goods. It uses close historical analysis of the development of the relevant concepts through the cases to argue that this is not a proposition that is compelled on the authorities, nor one demanded as a matter of principle. It then abstracts to consider the implications of this argument at a theoretical level, exposing great need for development in the common law’s basic principles of possessory protection. It argues innovatively that the objects of the law might be better served by the creation of a more limited form of possessory protection, achieved through the possessor’s acquisition of a personal right, and correlatively that the values that underpin and justify our basic rules of possessory protection entail a more nuanced response to matters of property acquisition.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationModern Studies in Property Law
EditorsNicholas Hopkins
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherHart Publishing
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781782251811
ISBN (Print)9781849463218
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


  • Possession, Conversion, Relativity of Title


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