Property law in Jersey

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
MacLeod, Rebecca Frances (2012)
  • Publisher: The University of Edinburgh
  • Subject: law | property law | Channel Islands | Jersey | mixed jurisdiction | mixed legal system | feudal land tenure | Jersey conveyancing | voisinage

Jersey law, and within it Jersey property law, has received little academic attention. This thesis seeks to examine, and provide a systematic account of, the Jersey law of property. Specific aspects of substantive law are explored. From these, general observations about the nature and structure of property law are made. Unsurprisingly, given the small size of the island, Jersey has a relatively limited amount of indigenous legal material to offer, much of it in French. Inevitably, there are gaps in the sources and some way of addressing these has to be determined before a systematic account of the law is possible. Juristic writing and modern caselaw demonstrate consistent recourse to the laws of other jurisdictions when gaps are encountered. Norman law, modern French law, and English law (to a much lesser extent and mainly where it conforms to Roman law) are used in the cases on property law, and thus also in this thesis. Reference is also made to the law of Guernsey (Jersey’s sister jurisdiction) but the difficulties encountered in researching Jersey law are no less evident there. In areas such as the law of servitudes, Roman law is often referred to explicitly by the Jersey jurists and by the commentators on Norman law. The influence of Roman law is also evident in the division between real rights and personal rights, sometimes barely visible in Jersey law, and is also a general backdrop to the rules on classification of things. Norman feudal law remains vestigially in place but the structure of the law and its individual rules bear many civilian characteristics. For this reason, in addition to Jersey sources, Norman law, modern French law, and any other materials used by the courts, other jurisdictions with civilian systems of property law are also referred to, specifically mixed jurisdictions, of which Jersey is one.
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