The meaning of Property...

There are a number of different definitions, making finding the meaning complex .

When lawyers talk about property they re usually referring to rights that people have to things.

A distinction is made between a right in rem and a right in personam. This distinction is based on the enforceability of rights, a right in rem is enforceable generally, a right in personal is enforceable only against a specific person or group of people.

Another distinction can be made between a choses in possession and a choses in action, a choses in possession is something that one has rights to merited by possession, a choses in action is something that one has to take legal action to have the rights to it.

At other times lawyers can be concerned with the assignability of rights.

A number of cases illustrate the complexity of trying to discern a meaning of property . While King v David Allen & Sons Billposting Ltd and Grady v HM Prison Service are both asking if a given right is property, they are fundamentally asking different questions.

The King case concerns rights in rem v personam, the question: which type of right is the plaintiff s to post bills on a wall? Held that it was a right in personam and the cinema didn t need to allow Allen & Sons to continue posting

The Grady case questions whether a claim for unfair dismissal is an assignable right. The Court of Appeal holds that the case should go back to an employment tribunal and be judged on its merits, an unfair dismissal claim is personal to the claimant and not apt to vest in her trustee (even though she holds Miss Grady s rights as she is in bankruptcy)

Foley v Hill decided that a bank account is a choses in action as a contractual inverse loan with the bank.

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