I'm happy to announce that my paper "Jurisdiction as Property"
made the top 10 list
for all time most dowloaded papers in legal history on the Social Science Research Network, the standard site for posting scholarly legal papers here in the U.S. Alas, the number of downloads is not quite as overwhelming as this suggests -- academic interest in the crucially important area of legal history is depressingly small -- but then again they are not counting the larger number of downloads of the paper from my own web site. Here's my brief description of the paper:
In medieval and renaissance England jurisdictions were often held as property. Relationships between these jurisdictions were property relations. The basic laws of jurisdiction were trespass and title. Infringement of a jurisdiction was a trespass, and abuse of a defendant by a court could be a trespass. In addition, the king could use his writ of right to challenge title to a franchise. In determining title, a crucial idea was seisin, which for franchises generally meant proper and continual use, and for jurisdictions in particular came to mean the following of proper procedure. Defense of trespass by and seisin of a franchise court came to imply obligations of protecting individual rights and serving the public good as well as private gain. Thus the property relations between franchises played a significant role in the development of English jurisdictional and procedural law.