Property and the Law of Finders
By Robin Hickey
This is the first book to explain the body of English law that surrounds the question "Are finders keepers?" This most simple of questions has long evaded a satisfactory legal answer. Generally, it seems to have been accepted that a finder acquires a property right in the object of his or her find and can protect it from subsequent interference, but even this turns out to be the baldest statement of principle, resting on obscure and confused authority. This full-length treatment of finders sets them in their legal-historical context, focusing on a fascinating area of law lying at the crossroads of crime, obligations, and property. That, on the same facts, a finder might be a thief, a bailee, and/or a property right holder has clouded conceptual analysis and prevented the simple stating of rules about finding. Nonetheless, when the applicable doctrines and policies of property law, particularly the central concept of possession, are explored and understood in the light of countervailing rules of crime and tort, it can be argued confidently that, despite centuries of doubt and confusion, English law has succeeded in producing a body of law that is theoretically and practically coherent. Property and the Law of Finders makes this argument. It is an important source of information for anyone interested in the law of personal property and also for those with broader concerns about the evolution of common law concepts.
Publication Date: 1/31/2010