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Harvard legal expert to discuss property law as the infrastructure of democracy at UF Law’s Wolf Family Lecture

GAINESEVILLE, Fla. – The fourth annual Wolf Family Lecture on the American Law of Real Property will explore how American property law helped serve as the foundation for democracy in the United States.

Harvard Law School Professor Joseph Singer, a nationally recognized expert in property law, will deliver the lecture titled, “Property Law as the Infrastructure of Democracy,” on Tuesday April 5, at 11 a.m. in the Martin H. Levin Advocacy Center at the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

“The subprime crisis has confronted us with the problems that come from too little regulation,” Singer said. “But debates about how to prevent a reoccurrence are hampered by the libertarian idea that regulations inevitably take away our freedom. On the contrary, freedom is not possible without the rule of law.”

Singer said regulation is just another word for law: “To see how law promotes freedom, we have only to consider the legal framework of property in a free and democratic society.”

Singer argues that regulations do not take away our freedom, but are what makes us free. He said markets work only because of consumer protection and other regulatory laws. The history of American property law and its protections are also important in understanding and appreciating the democratic society we live in today.

“The history and structure of property law give us a better understanding of the legal framework of a free and democratic society that aspires to treat each person with equal concern and respect.”

“We are delighted to have Professor Singer visit UF law,” said UF Law Professor Christine Klein. “His work is always thought-provoking and insightful, making him one of today’s preeminent property law scholars.”

The Wolf Family Lecture in the American Law of Real Property was endowed by a gift from UF Law Professor Michael Allan Wolf and his wife, Betty. Wolf, the Richard E. Nelson Chair in Local Government Law, is the general editor of a 17-volume treatise, Powell on Real Property, the most referenced real property treatise in the country, which is regularly cited by the courts, including several citations in the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I am thrilled that Professor Singer will have the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with our impressive students and our first-class faculty,” said Wolf.

Past scholars who have delivered the Wolf Family Lecture in the American Law of Real Property include, Thomas W. Merrill, Charles Evans Hughes Professor of Law at Columbia Law School; Gregory S. Alexander, A. Robert Noll Professor of Law at Cornell Law School; and Lee Fennel, professor of law at the University of Chicago.

This event is free and open to the public.

For additional information:
Matt Walker, UF Law Communications
352-273-0650 or

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Published: March 30th, 2011

Category: News

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