Rights, Interests and Obligations in Property ­ Articles ­ ISAA

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Rights, Interests and Obligations in Property


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In compiling a submission to the Land Tenure Enquiry held by the Queensland Parliament in 2012, I drew upon an earlier departmental report as a source document. As this source document is not otherwise generally accessible to the public, I have published it on the website for the benefit of scholars and practitioners who are wrestling with the concepts of property rights, stewardship, public interest and duty of care.

The paper was written at a time of intense debate within Queensland about compensation for rural landholders who were denied permission under new regulation to clear native vegetation on their properties; and also about reforms to the administration of water, aimed at introducing tradeable rights to take water for irrigation. The paper was written in 2002 and of course many of the references to legislation and policy are now dated.

Much of the article is a fairly routine explanation of the origin of property in English common law systems and would be well known to lawyers and scholars of property; but the claim that property in Australia rests on four distinct foundations, and the definition of stewardship, are original.