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Columbia Law School

1999

Supreme Court of the United States

Yale Law Journal

Articles 1 - 1 of 1

Full-Text Articles in Law

The Boundaries Of Private Property, Michael A. Heller Jan 1999

The Boundaries Of Private Property, Michael A. Heller

Faculty Scholarship

If your house and fields are worth more separately, divide them; if you want to leave a ring to your child now and grandchild later, split the ownership in a trust. The American law of property encourages owners to subdivide resources freely. Hidden within the law, however, is a boundary principle that limits the right to subdivide private property into wasteful fragments. While people often create wealth when they break up and recombine property in novel ways, owners may make mistakes, or their self-interest may clash with social welfare. Property law responds with diverse doctrines that prevent and abolish excessive ...