Document Type



Quintin Johnstone Prize in Real Property Law. Established by the CATIC Foundation. T. Zhang, R. Ellickson, C. Rose To the student in his second or third year at the Law School who has demonstrated excellence in the area of real property law.


Public authorities, at all levels of government, have been using a little-known land-use power to acquire property. This power, known as a right of first refusal, enables the government to acquire private property as long as it matches the price of any third-party offer. In this Note, I show how governments use rights of first refusal in areas as diverse as transportation, conservation, and affordable housing. I argue that public rights of first refusal can, under certain conditions, provide a means of balancing individual and collective needs that is superior to both eminent domain and regular purchasing.

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