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The Oxford History of the Laws of England: Volume XII1820–1914 Private Law$
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William Cornish, J Stuart Anderson, Ray Cocks, Michael Lobban, Patrick Polden, and Keith Smith

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199258826

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199258826.001.0001

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Changing the Nature of Real Property Law

Changing the Nature of Real Property Law

(p.179) V Changing the Nature of Real Property Law
The Oxford History of the Laws of England: Volume XII

Stuart Anderson

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses assimilation, conveyancing, and land transfer in the 19th century. Assimilating the law of real property to that of personalty was a common theme among reformers during the 19th century, but, as Maitland pointed out, it was ‘the one steady tendency of our law’ for centuries past, nothing new. What was new was a feeling that the process was near its end. It became feasible to propose without risking ridicule that the concept of the law of real property should be abolished, or that freeholds be converted to million-year leaseholds — so that real property law would no longer have anything to attach to — or, tamely in comparison, that a new land law be drafted that would take its features from the ways in which transactions concerning personalty were commonly constructed. Removal of land's privileges was also a major cry in 19th-century politics, one that had its counterpart in more mundane law reform.

Keywords:   assimilation, land transfer, conveyancing, real property law, legal history

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