Modern Real Property

Publication Date01 Jan 1956
AuthorA. D. Hargreaves
DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2230.1956.tb00341.x
MODERN REAL PROPERI’Y
ENGLISH
land law has been unfortunate in its textbooks.
It
has
given us a vocabulary and a language which, however distasteful it
may be to the superficial, is unsurpassed in the world of law as a
vehicle for precise thought.
In
that language have been written
learned volumes
on
conveyancing, some brilliant monographs
on
speci6c topics, much valuable history and too much pseudo-history.
But where is its Pollock, its Anson, its Salmond? Not since Littleton
has there been a serious attempt to isolate its principles from their
historic origins, to examine them as living contributions to contem-
porary thought, and to apply them in the construction
of
a
systematic analysis of the whole field which would satisfy the
demands of scientific jurisprudence and prove worthy
of
the greatest
system of property law that the world has ever
known.
Since
1925
the literature of land law has been dominated by
Cheshire’s
Real
Property,
a book
on
which every teacher relies and
to which every serious student turns
for
information and enlighten-
ment.
It
has now reached its seventh edition,’ and the new edition
is very different from its predecessors. There has been much
rewriting and much new material has been incorporated, including
an eighty-page appendix
on
the Rent Acts by
Mr.
J.
B. Butter-
worth. These changes alone deserve detailed consideration, but
they are overshadowed in importance by the radical rearrangement
of the basic material, reflecting a fundamental revolution in the
author’s attitude to the subject as a whole. This emphasis
on
approach suggests that the time has come
to
examine the place
of Cheshire in the literature of the law, and in particular to
attempt an assessment
of
its relation to that ideal systematic
analysis of land law which was indicated in the previous paragraph.
Much can be learnt of a book’s basic philosophy from
a,
study of
its table
of
contents.
On
that test alone, all previous editions
of
Cheshire-brilliant as they were in exposition-are revealed as little
more than commentaries upon section
1
of the
Lnw
of Property
Act,
1925.
That section, with its list
of
legal estates and interests,
was held out as the foundation of modern land law, and that list
was used as the key to its exposition. No doubt this was inevitable
in a book first written in
1924,
when the still undigested mass
of
the
1925
legislation overshadowed every discussion
on
land law.
But from the start there were diificulties-one thinks of the way
in which restrictive covenants were to be bandied about in succes-
sive editions between Terms of Years and Easements, finally coming
a.
C.
Cheshire,
D.o.L.,
P.D.A.
With
nn
Appendix
on
the Rent Act8
b
J.
d.
Butterworth,
Y.A.
London:
Butterworth
&
Co.
(Publiehere),
Ltd.,
&4,
Ixi
and
880
and
(index)
K4
pp.
14
1
The
Modern
Lou,
of
Real
Property,
7th ed.,
b

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