Avihay Dorfman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article seeks to reclaim for property law and theory the centrality of two hitherto neglected questions: when does property matter and, to the extent that it does, precisely how. I argue that, in some cases, the property owner’s entitlement to exclude others has virtually nothing to do with the right to property; property, then, is epiphenomenal. At other times, an entitlement to exclude cannot exist independently of having a right to property. But even then – and this is where the second question concerning how property matters kicks in – there are important differences between excluding others for housekeeping purposes (say, ‘not now’) and denying access categorically (say, ‘not for you’). I therefore argue that the conventional identification of property with exclusion, or with exclusion and inclusion, obscures the difference that the right to property could, and should, make. Addressing the questions of when, and how, does property matter change the way we understand in theory and determine in practice what rights to exclude, and duties to include, do we have.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-124
Number of pages44
JournalUniversity of Toronto Law Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Exclusion
  • Inclusion
  • Normativity
  • Property
  • Trespass


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