Environmental Considerations in Property Law

Murray Raff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The international principle of sustainable development requires the integration of ecological considerations into
all levels of decision making. The decision making of private property owners concerning exercise of their powers over their objects
or land is regulated by public environmental and planning laws. The efficiency of their operation can be greatly affected by
assumptions made by a legal system at a jurisprudential level about the nature of the rights of private property. Do private land
owners in fundamental principle have responsibilities for the integrity of ecosystems on their land? This paper reviews and challenges
the widely held view that Common Law systems do not recognise responsibilities in this sense. It contrasts the German legal
system which does recognise such responsibilities and goes on to explore the reception of German land law principles into the
Torrens land title system which operates in many Common Law countries, concluding that this reception supplanted the original
Common Law idea if in its original form it was contrary to environmental responsibility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-31
Number of pages14
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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