Rights of Dominion

We consider that there are three distinct classes of land rights: rights of occupancy, rights of use and rights of dominion.

Rights of occupancy and use arise, primarily, from the individual’s need for somewhere to live and for somewhere to obtain the necessities of life.

Rights of dominion, on the other hand, are essentially a creation of human society; they derive from the need an ordered society has to recognise a particular person as the ‘owner’ of a particular piece of land, to judge how appropriately it is being used, and to constrain that use if necessary.

Rights of occupancy and rights of dominion both contain a right to exclude people from the land in question, but those rights of exclusion are fundamentally different in nature. Rights of occupancy contain a right of exclusion in order to protect the holder’s enjoyment of the land. Rights of dominion, on the other hand, are essentially administrative, and the right to exclude people derives primarily from a need to protect land from over-use or misuse.


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