Property in the common law

Categorisation of property in the common law can be quite complex, so here’s a diagram to illustrate the different types of property that can exist:

Property in the common law

Each set of subcategories in the diagram above is an exhaustive division of its parent category. All property is either real or personal property. Personal property consists of chattels real (which includes leaseholds) and chattels personal. Chattels personal can be divided into choses in possession (such as pens and cars) and choses in action (such as copyright and a debt).

The diagram captures the main divisions, but it is possible to further subcategorise: for example, choses in action can be divided into legal and equitable choses in action. For some areas of the law, other categorisations might take centre stage, such as the distinction between corporeal and incorporeal property, and moveable and immoveable property.



  1. Dan’s avatar

    Nice. What did you use to do the diagram?

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