Expropriation, Public Purpose and the Constitution*

Michael Taggart

in The Golden Metwand and the Crooked Cord

Published in print February 1998 | ISBN: 9780198264699
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682766 | DOI:
Expropriation, Public Purpose and the Constitution*

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Sir William Wade mastered both land law and administrative law, so it is fitting that this tribute examines one important aspect of the intersection of these bodies of law; namely, the taking of private property for public purposes. Different terminology is used in the United Kingdom and the United States to describe this area of law. In the United States it is called ‘eminent domain’, and treated as an important aspect of constitutional law; whereas in the United Kingdom it is known as ‘compulsory purchase’, ‘compulsory acquisition’, or expropriation, and is a highly practical subject, attended by little constitutional fanfare or theorizing. What constitutional consideration has been given to this topic in the United Kingdom has focused on the principle that fair compensation be paid for private property so taken. This chapter explores the neglected companion principle that private property can only be taken for public purposes.

Keywords: administrative law; private property; compulsory purchase; compulsory acquisition; public use

Chapter.  11528 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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