A History Of Water Rights At Common Law

Paperback | August 22, 2006

byJoshua Getzler

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Water resources were central to England's precocious economic development in the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries, and then again in the industrial, transport, and urban revolutions of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Each of these periods saw a great deal of legalconflict over water rights, often between domestic, agricultural, and manufacturing interests competing for access to flowing water. From 1750 the common-law courts developed a large but unstable body of legal doctrine, specifying strong property rights in flowing water attached to riparianpossession, and also limited rights to surface and underground waters. The new water doctrines were built from older concepts of common goods and the natural rights of ownership, deriving from Roman and Civilian law, together with the English sources of Bracton and Blackstone. Water law is one of the most Romanesque parts of English law, demonstrating the extent towhich Common and Civilian law have commingled. Water law stands as a refutation of the still-common belief that English and European law parted ways irreversibly in the twelfth century. Getzler also describes the economic as well as the legal history of water use from early times, and examines theclassical problem of the relationship between law and economic development. He suggests that water law was shaped both by the impact of technological innovations and by economic ideology, but above all by legalism.

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Water resources were central to England's precocious economic development in the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries, and then again in the industrial, transport, and urban revolutions of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Each of these periods saw a great deal of legalconflict over water rights, often between domestic,...

Joshua Getzler is a Fellow and Tutor in Law at St Hugh's College, Oxford.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:448 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.96 inPublished:August 22, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199207607

ISBN - 13:9780199207602

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgementsAbbreviationsTable of CasesTable of LegislationRegnal YearsIntroduction1. The Exploitation of Water in Historical Perspective2. Servitude Doctrine in Early Law3. The Common Law of Riparian Rights 1580-17004. Blackstone and Hale's Doctrines of Land and Water Use5. Appropriation Theory in the Courts6. The Modern Origins of the Riparian DoctrineConclusionBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

`...to read Getzler's book as a legal historian was a humbling experience. The research is exhaustive and meticulously executed, and the resulting analysis is clearly and articulately communicated... Through the medium of a study of water rights, Getzler has articulated a masterful andilluminating account of the development of the common law as a whole.''Charlotte Smith, Journal of Environmental Law