Accretion, Reliction, Avulsion

In: Business and Management

Submitted By Arete
Words 2979
Pages 12
Real Property Boundaries Along Bodies of Water

Rivers have been used as boundaries at least as long as civilizations have recorded their history. It is likely that before recorded history, nomadic tribes were bound by waterways. Historically, civilizations have developed on the banks of the world’s rivers for several basic reasons. Rivers create a natural defense against invasion, as well as a source of sustenance and commerce. The primary disadvantage is that a river tends to change its course. Either gradually, through erosion, reliction, and gradual accretion, or by avulsion, violently breaking through one of its banks, creating a new arm at some distance from its previous bed (1). The communities within the river valleys of the Euphrates, Tigris, Indus and Yellow, may have witnessed the first issues concerning shifting boundaries along waterways. While the laws that govern the United States are derived primarily from the common law of England, the solutions that governing bodies have arrived at concerning these shifting boundaries may be rooted along the banks of the Tiberis River of Ancient Rome. Drawing on Roman private property law and continuing through medieval and modern legal practice, common law jurisprudence and legal scholarship developed a distinction between the two processes of accretion and avulsion in order to mediate problems over a shifting river boundaries (2). Although there are references to the issues surrounding the topics contained within this report that date back to ancient civilizations, analysis will begin with English common law. Under English common law, title to all real property vested with the Crown. However, distinction was made between title and control. Control over both land and water was considered a public right, and the Crown granted title of lands to individuals, generally of a certain class. This perceived “public…...

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