Volume 6

Freedom in Property: From the Magna Carta to Land Reform in Jamaica

Janet Bush Handy

The Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference provides a unique opportunity for members of the practicing bar and academia to explore recent developments in the laws that affect property rights. In 2016, this opportunity was expanded to consider international themes with the joint sponsorship of William & Mary Law School and the Grotius Centre of International Legal Studies at the Thirteenth Annual Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference at the Peace Palace in The Hague. The recent law developments herein addressed concern the continuing evolution of land reforms in Jamaica and the lessons that they provide about the continuing importance of the work of this year’s Brigham-Kanner Prize winner, Hernando de Soto. This essay attempts to place those land reform efforts in a historical context. A short essay can only skim the surface of a history of people who have faced untold challenges, but it is offered as a tribute to those who end their national pledge with an invocation of hope, asking that Jamaica may “increase in beauty, fellowship and prosperity, and play her part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race.”

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