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Property law: Calabresi and Melamed's Classification of Property - Essay Example

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CASE OVERVIEW: In Miller v. Jackson [1977] QB 966, a conflict between a family known as the Miller's and a cricket team who are owned by a local village, a difference emerged over cricket balls continually getting hit into the Miller's backyard. The Miller's claimed or alleged that this was a nuisance, and their property line was very close to the cricket pitch such that the problem was ongoing…
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Property law: Calabresi and Melameds Classification of Property
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CASE OVERVIEW: In Miller v. Jackson [1977] QB 966, a conflict between a family known as the Miller's and a cricket team who are owned by a local village, a difference emerged over cricket balls continually getting hit into the Miller's backyard. The Miller's claimed or alleged that this was a nuisance, and their property line was very close to the cricket pitch such that the problem was ongoing. The Miller's sought an injunction to prevent this from occurring again, and the decision was appealed three times, and finally, the Court of Appeal in the case, decided that the cricket balls did not constitute a nuisance, and the injunction was therefore not granted by the court. The second ruling in the case by Lord Denning, maintained that because the property for the cricket field or pitch was acquired long before the property owners, and because cricket is a vital or integral part of the community, that the rights of the village cricket team superseded that of the Miller's. Further, the problem was created not by the team itself, but by the very allowance or city ordinance that granted the property developer to build so close to the cricket field in the first place. However, the final ruling by Cumming-Bruce LJ maintained that while there was no need to enforce or enact an injunction, it was nonetheless a matter that required that the cricket team pay the Miller's some compensation for the damages and problems caused by the intrusion onto their property. THREE PRINCIPLES OF CALABRESI AND MELAMED (1972): Property rights or entitlements is one among three types of rights which include also liability and inalienable rights [Calabresi and Melamed, 1972, p. 1089]. Regarding property rights, one of the important dimensions regarding the breakdown into three principles, is the idea that in the absence of any rule of law and third party enforcement of it, there would be a situation of "might makes right" [Calabresis and Melamed, 1972, p. 1090]. The problem concerning the absence of law governing disputes or problems, makes law and the apparatus for dealing with conflicts of a similar nature essential, and thus one of the three principles of property in this regard is the 'collective' nature of dealing with property issues. The collective nature means that there are at least two-parties involved in the dispute or the buyer and seller -- as is often the case, and the collective nature of the first principle of property also involves a third party as a force for over-sight and protection in the first place. A second principle regarding property according to the author's in question, concerns the freedom of the parties entering into the contract or covenant in the first place. By freedom, it is meant that: "no one can take the entitlement to private property unless the owner sells it willingly and at the price at which he subjectively values the price" [Calabresi and Melamed, 1972, p. 1105]. This aspect of a property right is protected by the liability rule [Calabresis and Melamed, 1972, p. 1105], and what is important to this principle is that the parties enter the agreement willingly or voluntarily. In terms of the case in question, the property seller and the property buyer of the home that is directly connected to the cricket field, can both be said to have entered the property ownership or transfer willingly or voluntarily, even if the cricket field is much older than the home-owner in question. ANALYSIS: THE APPLICATION OF CALABRESI AND MELAMED to Miller vs. Jackson [1977]. One of the first and most significant elements to note about the case when considering whether or not the principles used in defining property rights by Calabresi and Melamed (1972), is that the case is not strictly dealing with a buyer and seller in this case. While the buyer and seller relationship is really between the property developer and the village cricket team. Further, the transfer to the cricket team is quite old and not really a direct relationship between buyer and seller either. In regard to the parallel between the case that is the focus of Calabresi and Melamed (1972), and the Miller v. Jackson [1977] situation, is similar to the extent that there is no direct relationship between the plaintiff and the accused in the case in question. The case that is the focus of the two-author's/legal scholars in question is Spur Industries, Inc. v. Del E. Webb Dev. Co., 494 P.2d 700 (Ariz. 1972), and in that, Del Webb was a developer who sought an injunction against Spur Industries for a nuisance also similar to that of Jackson v. Miller, but the injunction was sought because pollution was effecting the retirement community that was established by the developer. However, in this case it is the developer bringing the injunction directly and on behalf of the residents. By contrast, in Miller v. Jackson, it is not the developer who is bringing the case against the organization who is allegedly causing the nuisance. In this case, we do not have two parties individually and freely entering into a direct relationship with each other. There is no willing consent with both parties as to the terms of the selling and buying of the property itself. Rather, the Miller's entered the agreement with the developer and not the village Cricket team. Thus, one of the main problems with applying the Calabresi and Melamed principle to the case in question, is that one of the principles, and indeed, one of the core principles is not directly applicable. It is not the case that we are dealing with a direct relationship between the two parties who have entered a direct contact with one another “willingly” [Calabresis and Melamed, 1972, p. 1105], rather the case involves an indirect relationship established by the two parties. Where the principles do apply, and in a way that could have effected the outcome or decision, is the lack of law or legislation in place in the first place. Where there is a relationship between a buyer and seller there it is also a 'collective decision' as was outlined above. Without some form of law governing the situation, there is nothing to protect the wealthier individual or party to get the upper hand in the situation. In the conflict in question, there were no by-laws that applied. For instance, there was no regulation that determined where cricket fields can be located and how far from residential property lines. That is, neither the developer nor the village cricket team have any recourse in the question as there is no clear form of legislation that either one is in conflict with. Thus, the principle that says that the relationships in question have a collective relationship that not only involves the buyer and seller, but also how that relationship is defined in the first place. In the case in question, there is no third party set of rules that either party is either transgressing or adhering to. Thus, with the application of the principles of property set out by [Calabresis and Melamed, 1972], one of the criticisms that there principles establish, is the lack of rule of law in the situation – both in terms of defining the relationship between them as a circumstance of laws defining rights, but also in terms of there being any direct relationship between the parties as described. In sum, while there is no willingness to enter a direct relationship between the two, the relationship itself is also ambiguous on another level. There are no laws in the first place that can be appealed such that the relationship is a 'collective' in the outset. This paper has argued that two out of three of the principles have a direct relationship or bearing on how Miller v. Jackson [1977] can be interpreted. In terms of what legislation was not in place or that which ought to be in place, the first would be municipal by-laws that defined more clearly what the property perimeters ought to have been. Building permits cover a broad range of construction and property modifications where regulations and guidelines are clearly delineated. For instance, a typical municipal regulation or law governing construction defines how close to a property line a building can be erected; how high a building can be according to zoning and location or whether any given building can be rented or leased as a residential or commercial type. In short, municipal laws, regulations and ordinances have established building codes for almost any construction configuration. As a sport that has been popular for a long time in the U.K., one would assume that where a cricket pitch can be built would already be a part of the municipal code. The first way in which the system can change to accommodate this problem, is through a municipal by-law pertaining to the dimensions surrounding the establishment of any sports field, and cricket pitches in particular where errant balls is common. The converse of this by-law, is where properties can be built in proximity to the cricket pitch. A 'common boundary' would also serve useful in this situation. In common law the principles of The common law doctrines of adverse possession and prescriptive easements, could create a situation where: “the grant of the easement is presumed in favour of the dominant tenement owner from the fact of long use”, and as ruled in these terms in R. v. Oxfordshire County Council (1999) “any legal system must have rules of prescription which prevent the disturbance of long-established de facto enjoyment” [Dixon, 2005, p. 284]. These are the same legal principles that essentially provide for squatters rights where they are granted right or access after a certain many of years of occupation, over and against, a certain of years of negligence by the actual property owner. There ought to be a way in which common boundary disputes are legally dealt with in prescriptive terms that grants an easement to the side of the common boundary that has had a significant period of long use. In this regard, the Court ought to have ruled against Miller. Works Cited: Calabresi, Guido and Melamed, Douglas, (1972), “Property Rules, Liability Rules, and Inalienability: One View of the Cathedral”, Harvard Law Review, 1972, Vol. 85, Number 6, pp. 1089- 1128. Dixon, M. (2005). Modern Land Law. Fifth Edition. London: Cavendish. Miller v. Jackson [1977] EWCA Civ 6 Case No.: 1975 M. No. 173. Available at: Last Accessed: August 14, 2011. THE APPLICATION OF CALABRESI AND MELAMED TO MILLER v. JACKSON. AN ANALYSIS OF THE 3 PRINCIPLES OF PROPERTY. Read More
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