The Evolution of Land Law: some French and Scottish Perspectives

The Evolution of Land Law: some French and Scottish Perspectives

This is a past event

This event is inspired by a book entitled La propriété foncière du Code civil. Un sol surface appelé à devenir volume (translated as Land ownership of the French Civil Code: when land surface area in 2D becomes a 3D object). The book – written by one of the speakers at this event, Maître David Richard – was published by Edilivre in Paris in 2019. The main objective of the book is to explain how the legal concepts of property rights in land have evolved since the French Civil Code entered into force in 1804. The Code founded a new era regarding the relationship between man and goods, and particularly land, which was seen at that time as the prime resource.

At this event, Maître Richard will offer perspectives from a French lawyer on the evolution of land law, with those perspectives tailored for a Scottish audience. The event will be chaired by Malcolm Combe, who will respond with some Scottish perspectives on the evolution of land law and policy. The event will be conducted in English.

The first part of the presentation will explain how French lawyers adapted the concept of “absolute property”, which up until that point applied perfectly for land when perceived as a two-dimensional surface area. The original concept was associated with a materialistic vision of land. Whilst such an approach was very powerful in some respects, it was also limited and partially false thus requiring a new way of perceiving land and, ultimately, the concept of absolute property. This conceptual evolution, driven by many factors, therefore allowed the organisation of real estate not only horizontally but also vertically. A response from a Scottish perspective will then be offered.

In the second part of the presentation the focus will be on social changes that were imposed on lawyers to adapt the legal concept of property. At the beginning of the 19th century, France, like the rest of Europe, was moving from a predominantly rural society to a country driven by urban development, resulting in land no longer being viewed as a surface area for agricultural purposes but rather as a three-dimensional object. Several changes can be identified to characterize this evolution, each of them producing tensions within the concept of immoveable property and, consequently, forcing it to be extensively modified. At this stage, a further Scottish response will be offered, then contributions will be invited from guests.

Malcolm Combe and Dr David Richard
Hosted by
The School of Law
Taylor C11

No Booking required.  All are welcome.