Tag Archives: civil law

Real rights

In the philosophy on property, one will soon encounter the bundle theory of property. Rather than being a single right, property consist of a set of rights, such as the right to use a good, to exclude others from using a particular good and to transfer ownership to others. Different authors differ on what rights could be distinguish, but virtually all agree on property being a set of rights. Continue reading Real rights

Hire-purchase: a few remarks

We are in favour of stimulating home-ownership through hire-purchase instead of mortgage loans. Simply states hire-purchase is a mixture of renting and buying.

If Alice owns a certain good, such as a house, which Bobs wants he could either sell or rent it from her. In case Bob buys Alice’s house, then he becomes its owner. Usually Bob will not have enough money pay the price in one time, so he has to loan the money.

Alternatively he could rent rather than buy Alice’s house. In this case she will remain the owner of the building, while he obtains the right to use it. Once Bob wants to leave he simply end its rental contract and returns his keys to Alice. And in certain circumstances Alice may end the contract as well, for instance if Bob does not pay the rent.

However, if Alice and Bob agree to a hire-purchase of her house, then the following is the case. Suppose the both agree on a price of 75,000 talents and that Bob will pay Alice 500 talents a month [this will take 12.5 years to pay off the total 75,000]. As long as Bob has not pay the entire 75,000, Alice will remain the legal owner. Ownership is only transferred [1] once the total price has been paid.

The fact that Alice remains the owner has several consequences. If Bob fails to fulfill his duties, such as failure to pay the monthly installments, the house acts as a security. That means that Alice can reclaim the house and dissolve the contract, though Bob might be entitled to some compensation. For Bob, however, is rest-debt will no more than the non-paid rent.

Example: Suppose that Bob has paid for 36 months his rent, than defaults on this duty for the next 6 months after which Alice ends the contract. In this case Bob’s outstanding debt would be 3,000 talents, but if he had a bank loan he would have a rest debt [after closure] of 57,000 talents. For Alice the benefit is that she can seek another hire-purchaser and has earned 18,000 talents.

Another consequence of Alice remaining the owner is that she could sell her property to a third party. It is clear that Bob is in need of some legal protection here, otherwise no one would dare to hire-purchase a house. Alice should be entitled sell the house hire-purchased by Bob, to Carol, provided that this sale does not affect the terms of the contract with Bob. In this case the only thing which would change for Bob is that now he has to pay Carol instead of Alice.

The possibility for home-owners to sell the hire-purchase contracts to third parties could be advantageous. In above example it will take Alice 12.5 years to get her 75,000, if she could her house to, for instance, a bank or a governmental institution, she will be able to receive [a large part of] this sum earlier.

Further the hire-purchaser should be protected by law against inappropriate dissolution of the contract by the hire-seller. We propose that only structural default by the purchaser should be reason the end the contract by the seller.

[1] Home ownership will be registered in a national register. Transfer of ownership means in this context that the data in this register will be updated.

The classification of gender

In most jurisdictions only two genders are recognized by law. However, there are several countries such as Australia, Germany and Pakistan which have passed legislation to recognize a third gender category besides man and woman. In Australia and Germany people can be assigned “undefined”, whereas Pakistan has given legal status to their existing practice of “Hijras”.

Some people believe that biological gender is one’s “true” gender. Only what is meant with biological gender? Genetic or phenotypic gender? From a genetic perspective some one with two X-chromosomes is female, and one with one Y and one X-chromosome is male. But there are people who are XXY or X0 or some other combination. Further some genetic males, have full female appearance complete with full female sex organs (so-called XY-women). And what about XX-men?

In general people are assigned a gender based on their phenotype, whether they have male or female sex organs. But some people are born with both male and female organs. How to classify them?

Then we have people who don’t identify with their biological gender, but with the other gender. The people are usually called transgenders. Some of them seek to undergo a sex-change operation, the transsexuals. Many jurisdiction allow these people to change their legal gender as well.

We propose a four gender classification rather than a three gender one. Beside female and male, we propose to introduce intersex and neutral as legal gender. Intersex are those people with both female and male characteristics, while neutral are those who lack both male and female characteristics.

People are assigned any of these four genders at birth. However, people who feel that their legal gender does not fit with them, will be allowed to request the civil registry to change their legal gender. No operation would be required to have one’s legal gender changed.

Another idea would be to abolish official gender registration at all. But we believe that will cause certain awkward situations. Whatever system will be chosen, we believe in equal rights for everyone regardless of one’s gender.

A Proposal for Name Law

We propose that: 1. all persons should have at least three given names. 2. Family names or patronymic names are not mandatory. 3. Further persons should be allowed to change their name simply by registering such change by the civil authorities.

Ad 1. The three name rule will reduce the likelihood of persons having the same name, and if there any persons with identical names, additional names can be added.

Ad 2. Abolishing mandatory surnames should end all discussions whether people should get their father’s or mother’s surname, or a combination thereof. Further family names are not universally accepted outside the western world.People who desire to have or to give their children a “family” name, can use one of the given names for this purpose.

Ad 3. Consistent with liberal ideal of self-determination, people should have control over as much aspects of their own life, including their own name(s). Persons who don’t like the names given by their parents should be free to change those as they see fit. The government’s role in this is registering any name change in its registers. The only reason to refuse this, is to prevent identity theft.

Life insurance policies

Unfortunately it’s a common trope for people to kill their relatives or spouses, just in order to collect the insurance policy. In this post we will propose some rules aimed to deter people from killing people for the reason mentioned above.

1. Only the person whose death is covered by the policy is allowed to purchase a life insurance policy, provided that this person is an adult and mentally competent.

2. The maximum benefit which the insurance company is allowed to pay is equal to five times the annual income of the person who purchased the policy, at the time of purchase.

3. All life insurance policies have to be registered by the national financial authorities, in order to prevent people from buying multiple life insurance policies.

Ad 1. Too often someone purchase a life insurance policy on another person, possibly without the knowledge of this individual, only with the intent of of killing the insured. Since a life insurance policy is typically purchased to compensate the next of kin for the loss of income as a result of the death of the insured, there’s no reason to insure those who are not economically active.

Ad 2. Even if a life insurance policy is purchased in good faith, a beneficiary might be tempted to kill the insured for financial gain. By putting a limit on the benefits to be paid, the incentive to kill someone for financial gain is reduced.

Ad 3. In order to prevent people from circumvented rule 2 by purchasing multiple life insurance policies, it’s necessary that there’s a central registry of such policies. When a person wants to purchase a life insurance policy, the insurance company is obliged to check whether the applicant has already purchased such policy, if so the new application has to be refused.