BOOK REVIEW - THE OWNERSHIP OF GOODS AND CHATTELS
Associate Professor of Property Law, University of Oxford
Stephen Hackett, Barrister, 3 Hare Court, Temple, London. Hart, Oxford (2020) xiv and 156 pp plus 7 pp Index. ISBN 978-1-78225-856-8. Hardback £40.00.
The aim of this book, according to the abstract, is to set out “in comprehensive and accessible fashion the law on acquiring, surrendering and transferring ownership rights in goods and chattels”. This gives rise to two questions. First, is there a distinction between “goods” and “chattels”? Secondly, what are the “ownership rights” with which the book is concerned? Mr Hackett considers the meaning of the term “chattels” in Chapter 1 (which also considers two other topics: (i) the nature of ownership and (ii) mixtures and combinations of chattels). He explains that “chattels” are “property that is not real property” (p.9); that “chattels real” are to be distinguished from “chattels personal”; and that “chattels personal” can be “divided into two categories: choses in possession and choses in action” (p.11). It is not entirely clear how, for the purposes of the book, the term “goods” is to be construed, though Mr Hackett seems to treat “goods” as “choses in possession”. If this is right, one should not infer from the title of the book that “goods” do not count as “chattels”.