Migratory things on land: property rights and a law of capture

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This article analyses English and Scots law relating to 'migratory things' - ie things which by their own inherent characteristics move to and for across tracts of land - both in terms of what property rights landowners hold in such things and whether the same may be legitimately 'captured' by the actions of others. In reviewing relevant authorities, the article reveals that the law governing this area is opaque and uncertain and displays inconsistencies in approach both within and between different migratory things across the English and Scottish jurisdictions. The analysis suggests that the limitations placed upon rights of ownership in migratory things represents a shot across the bows of general principles of landownership. The article concludes by suggesting that the current state of the law may give rise to a number of practical problems and proposes that there may be a need to reform certain aspects of the law in this area.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages34
JournalElectronic Journal of Comparative Law
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2002


  • law of capture
  • Scots law
  • property rights
  • running water
  • fugacious minerals
  • hydrocarbons
  • rights of support
  • migratory
  • land

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