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Being and OwningThe Body, Bodily Material, and the Law$
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Jesse Wall

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198727989

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198727989.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 16 January 2022

The Limits of Property Law

The Limits of Property Law

(p.175) 6 The Limits of Property Law
Being and Owning

Jesse Wall

Oxford University Press

This chapter aims to identify the particular structure of rights and duties that ought to apply to the use and storage of bodily material. This requires an assessment of whether the rights that arise in items of bodily material are conceptually consistent with property rights. It is argued here that a right in bodily material that is in-itself is conceptually consistent with property rights and therefore such rights ought to obtain the legal structure of property rights. However, rights in bodily material that is for-itself or for-others are exclusive but non-contingent rights. In addition, insofar as these items of bodily material are self-ascribed, such rights are ambiguous. Rights in bodily material that is for-itself or for-others therefore ought to adopt a structure that is akin to the common law right to privacy. Hence, the law ought to develop a dualist approach to the legal status of bodily material.

Keywords:   bodily material, property rights, right to bodily integrity, privacy, confidentiality, exclusion strategy, governance strategy, contingent rights, non-contingent rights, latent rights, the ambiguous body

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