Tutorial 4, Monday, October 2, 2017
(Access to publicly owned property)
If everyone has free access to a public beach, who, if anyone, has the
power to control the use of this resource?
(Access to oceans)
Reading “Owning the Ocean”, in what ways do the historical developments described
respond to efficiency and to what extent do they respond to political power and distribution?
(Private Access to water)
pp. 149 - 150
Read the following account of the history of water law on pp. 149
and discuss whether the law appears to have evolved toward economic efficiency.
(Time Limitations on Squatters’ Rights)
Suppose the statute of limitations for adverse possession is 10 years. After
9.9 years of trespass owners retain full rights, but after 10 years of trespass owners lose all
of their rights. Instead of owners losing their rights abruptly at the end of 10 years, the
statute could be written so that the rights depreciate gradually over time. For example, the
trespasser could be granted a 10 percent interest in the property for each year of adverse
possession, so that after one year the trespasser would own 10 per cent of it and after
10 years the trespasser would own all of it. Compare the efficiency of the “discontinuous
rule” and the “continuous rule.”
(Abandoned Property and Estray Statutes) p. 155
If the value of a lost object is low enough, the estray statutes do not apply.
Consequently, the finder has no legal obligation to advertise. Discuss the costs that need to
be balanced to the most efficient lower bound in the value of a lost object for purposes of
the estray statutes.
(Impossible Gifts in Wills)
Suppose that a testator imposes a condition that cannot be met. For
example, the decedent gives her property to be used for a medical school in Lebanon,
Indiana, but after the testator’s death, the State of Indiana abandons its plans to build a
medical school there. In this situation, American courts apply the doctrine of
(pronounced “see pray” and meaning, in law French, “so nearly” or “as near as possible”).
Under that doctrine the court will find an alternative condition that is as close as possible to
the decedent’s intentions. For example, the proceeds from the sale of the decedent’s