Henry E. Smith

Document Type



Self-Help and the Nature of Property, 1 Journal of Law, Economics and Policy 69 (2005)


Self-help and the law's response to it lie at the center of a system of property rights. This has become all the more apparent as questions of property - and whether to employ property law at all - have arisen in the digital world. In this Article, I argue that self-help comes in different varieties corresponding to different strategies for delineating entitlements. Like property entitlements more generally, the law does not regulate self-help in as detailed a fashion as it could if delineation were costless. Both property entitlements and self-help show far less symmetry and a far lesser degree of tailoring than we would expect in a world in which we did not face delineation costs of devising, describing, communicating, and enforcing the content of rights and privileges to use resources.

Date of Authorship for this Version


Included in

Law Commons