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Property rights and their violations - La propriété violée

Expropriations and confiscations, 16 th –20 th Centuries- Expropriations et confiscations, XVI e –XX e siècles

Edited By Luigi Lorenzetti, Michela Barbot and Luca Mocarelli

Interest in the history of ownership rights is growing and spreading to different disciplines. Historians are turning their attention mainly to the rise of private and individual ownership as it was codified in 19 th -century liberal Europe. In writing this history, however, their perspective has too often ignored the other side of the coin, namely the restrictions which the sovereign imposed on such rights, allegedly in the interest of the community.
The papers collected in the present volume suggest that private property is not necessarily the most safeguarded legal model, hence it is not less vulnerable to violation. They construct a close analysis of the most common forms of abuse of private property on record – expropriation, seizure, and confiscation – perpetrated by public authorities. They also seek to define the uneasy, often intricate relation between legal and legitimate. In a perspective of lights and shadows, the role of confiscation and expropriation changes : now seen as powerful instruments of change, now as enduring factors of conservation in the evolution of private ownership rights.
Les droits de propriété sont depuis longtemps au cœur de l’intérêt de diverses disciplines. L’attention des historiens s’est focalisée surtout sur la naissance de la propriété privée et individuelle telle qu’elle a été codifiée dans l’Europe libérale du XIX e siècle. Toutefois, son histoire a trop souvent négligé l’autre face de la médaille, à savoir les limites fixées à ce droit par le souverain au nom de l’intérêt de la collectivité. Les contributions figurant dans ce volume suggèrent que la propriété privée individuelle ne représente pas le modèle juridique le plus apte à la protéger face aux risques d’infraction. Au cœur des analyses il y a les formes historiques de la violation de la propriété privée – expropriations, saisies, confiscations – perpétrées par les autorités et le rapport, souvent complexe et ambigüe, entre les dimensions de la légalité et de la légitimité. Dans un jeu d’ombres et de lumières, les confiscations et les expropriations se dessinent à la fois comme de puissants instruments de changement et de tenaces facteur de conservation dans l’évolution des formes de propriété.

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Illegitimate Appropriation or just Punishment ? The Confiscation of Property in ancien régime Criminal Law and Doctrine - Annamaria Monti 15

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Illegitimate Appropriation or just Punishment ? The Confiscation of Property in ancien régime Criminal Law and Doctrine* Annamaria Monti Introduction In ancien régime criminal law, the confiscation of the whole of a property was a punishment for serious crimes, especially for those of a political nature1. As Cesare Beccaria wrote, it had been one of the baleful and authorised injustices carried out and approved for centuries, even by educated men and in free republics2. It was usually a consequence of conviction of a crime, which was inflicted together with the death penalty or, often, with banishment3. It could, how- ever, also be used as a single penalty. Technically, it was a provision of the judicial authority, who seized the guilty party’s estate. Confiscation punished the criminal who ostracised himself from the community, by committing a crime : the guilty party was no longer part of the civitas and even his family suffered a loss of status. * I would like to thank Professor Laurent Mayali, Director of the Robbins Collection, Boalt Hall School of Law, U.C. Berkeley, for granting me a fellowship to do this research at the Robbins Library, in March 2010. Thank you also to Ed Tyrrell, for helping me with the English text. 1 Pertile Antonio, Storia del diritto italiano, vol. V, Storia del diritto penale, Torino, Utet, 1892, pp. 228–248 ; Calisse Carlo, “Svolgimento storico del diritto penale in Italia”, in Pessina Enrico (a cura di), Enciclopedia del diritto penale italiano, Milano, Società Editrice Libraria, 1905–1906,...

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