Professor David Carey Miller (1941–2016) held the Chair of Property Law at the University of Aberdeen, and in that capacity inspired generations of students to explore a range of questions and problems that interested him. Among his eclectic writings, his contributions to comparative law, Scots Property law and to land reform in South Africa were recognised as being of particular importance in his lifetime.
In Northern Lights: Essays in Private Law in Memory of Professor David Carey Miller, colleagues, friends and students of Professor Carey Miller seek to honour his memory by advancing those core lines of enquiry that featured so prominently in his research. Some, writing on comparative law, display the remarkably different consequences that follow from the divergent ways in which the civilian and the common law traditions classify legal questions, problems and claims. Others, writing on land law in South Africa and Scotland, reflect on changing concepts of “ownership”. For example, it is suggested at one point that landowners in Scotland are increasingly expected to do something productive or useful with their land in order to continue as owners. Still other contributors focus on Scots law, a system that has traditionally been seen as “mixed”, that is to say influenced by both the civilian and the common law traditions. Research into Scots Private law draws attention to the merits of rigorous research into core principles of the legal system, so as to facilitate the deduction of answers to new legal questions when they arise. In addition, some writers explore the use of established legal principles to evaluate proposed changes to the law in response to factors such as changing and social commercial reality. All of the essays in the volume seek to pay tribute to a great friend and scholar.