Property law is the sphere of law that covers various kinds of property possession and occupancy within the domain of real estate and personal property, inside of the civil law legal system. There is a clear dividing line between movable and immovable property within the common law legal system. Personal property falls under the category of movable property, whereas real estate or real property and the affiliated rights and obligations on that comes under immovable property.
One of the first governments to introduce the notion of absolute ownership into legislative act was the Napoleonic code that paved the way for other nations to follow suit. However, history also points out to mediaeval Islamic law and jurisprudence that was also instrumental in ensuring personal property rights. Similarly, early modern England also had common courts of law that implemented property laws.
Between 1790 and 1791, James Wilson, the US Supreme Court Justice and Prof of Law at the University of Pennsylvania took on a study of the philosophical foundations of American property law. In his treatise, ‘On the History of Property’, Wilson helped to retrace the history of property and articulated his theories on the distinction between personal property and immovable property.
Although the term property, in everyday language, concerns with a thing owned by a person, such as a vehicle, a book or an instrument and the relationship the person has to it, in terms of legalese, property takes on a more nuanced interpretation. Some of the important elements to note include the essential quality/character of the thing, the connection between the person and the thing, the connection between the numbers of people with regards to the thing, and how the thing is considered inside the reigning form of government. In short, property in the legal terms, concerns itself with the rights of the people in or over specific articles or items.