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Land Law

Land Law (2nd edn)

Ben McFarlane, Nicholas Hopkins, and Sarah Nield
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date: 18 July 2024

p. 613. Personal Rights and Property Rightslocked

p. 613. Personal Rights and Property Rightslocked

  • Ben McFarlane, Ben McFarlaneProfessor of English Law, University of Oxford
  • Nicholas HopkinsNicholas HopkinsLaw Commissioner for England and Wales and Professor of Law, University of Reading
  •  and Sarah NieldSarah NieldProfessor of Law, University of Southampton


This chapter examines property rights in land and personal rights that may allow a party to make a particular use of land. It first considers the distinction between personal rights and property rights before addressing the content question: whether the type of right claimed by a party counts as a property right. To answer that question, a distinction is made between different types of property right. The most important distinction is between legal property rights, on the one hand, and equitable property rights, on the other. The chapter also discusses licences to use land and contrasts their operation and effect with those of property rights in land. It highlights the nature of licences and the controversy over contractual and estoppel licences and concludes with an analysis of the relationship between the law of leases and of licence.

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