Rights of Private Property in the Civil Code of the Russian Federation and in the Civil Code of Quebec

In: Review of Central and East European Law
Author: David Lametti
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Private property entails a relationship between people through objects. The objects of property rights form a necessary part of the property equation, and provide an understanding of the rights and obligations allowed and required in the exploitation of any given object. This often comes through the civilian notion of destination: the idea that certain resources have a specifi c teleology or accepted way of being properly exploited or used finds expression in various legal rules. The manner in which the destination is determined may vary: it may be formal, legal or merely tacit. This basic theme is amplified in this comparative study of the basic structure of private property rights and obligations in the Civil Code of the Russian Federation and in the Civil Code of Quebec. Other themes also become equally apparent in the course of this study. First, the Russian code contains a very rough approximation of the general structure of civil law property rights: a fullest right of ownership and different lesser entitlements or dismemberments. The dismemberments, however, are quite unique to the Russian context. Second, both property rights and obligations are articulated much more explicitly and elaborately in the Russian code than in the Quebec counterpart. Third, this express enunciation of obligations and limitations on all entitlements in turn is founded on the idea that ownership is a limited concept. This foundation is in no way in contradiction to the theory of ownership in Western legal theory and practice. Finally, as a general observation, the continuing role of the state in the Russian private property system as articulated in the Russian code is much more pronounced. This is true both in its role as a legislator and enforcement agent of property limitations, as well as its express role as an actor in certain of the lesser entitlements.

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