Property as Prophesy: Legal Realism and the Indeterminancy of Ownership,
49 Case W. Res. J. Int'l L.
Available at: https://scholarlycommons.law.case.edu/jil/vol49/iss1/13
Property law, like all law, is indeterminate. This means that ownership itself is indeterminate and every owner is vulnerable to challenges based on unexpected legal rules or newly created ones. Even the most seemingly secure rights can be defeated or compromised if a clever-enough lawyer is retained to mount a challenge. The casebooks used in first-year property courses are full of examples. In the case of particularly valuable property, such as works of art, the motivation to fashion arguments to support ownership challenges is obvious. Short and strictly interpreted statutes of limitations can mitigate the risks to ownership by cabining the time-frames from which title challengers can draw facts to support their claims.