Fellow and Tutor in Law

Luke Rostill

  • I am Associate Professor of Property Law in the Faculty of Law.

  • I specialise in private law, particularly the law of property.

  • I teach undergraduate and postgraduate courses on property law, trusts, and property theory.

  • I am Mooting Coordinator in the Faculty of Law.

Luke Rostill


On the undergraduate Law course, I teach Land Law and the Law of Trusts (which are compulsory subjects) as well as Personal Property (an optional subject for final year students). I give tutorials in these subjects at Trinity and lecture on them in the Law Faculty. I also teach the postgraduate BCL/MJur course, Advanced Property and Trusts. I supervise doctoral dissertations on a wide range of topics in private law, including the nature of property rights, the functions and justifications of trusts, and the nature of digital assets.

Dr. Rostill talking about Oxford interviews


My work is concerned with legal rights in respect of things (particularly land and goods): the nature and grounds of these rights, how they are acquired and transferred, and how they are protected.

A major focus of my recent work has been the relationship between possession (roughly, physical control), property rights, and ownership. The questions that I have tried to answer include: how and why does the law protect possessors? Does a possessor acquire a property right in respect of the thing? And, if so, what is the relationship between the possessor and other individuals who have rights in respect of the thing, including the ‘true owner’? I am currently writing a book on this topic, to be published by Oxford University Press in 2021.

There are three other projects that I am currently working on. The first concerns the circumstances in which the law will hold a person responsible for interfering with another’s property. If I take home, and use, your laptop, on the basis of a reasonable (but mistaken) belief that it is mine, and return it to you when I discover the mistake, is it right for the law to treat me as a wrongdoer?

The second concerns conflicts between property rights and the rights, needs, and interests of others. It focuses on the circumstances in which it is legally justifiable to use another’s land or goods without their consent, and examines whether the law is satisfactory.

The third focuses on the remedies that are available to proprietors when other persons interfere with their rights.

Selected Publications

Terminology and Title to Chattels: A Case Against “Possessory Title”’ (2018) 134 LQR 407

Relative Title and Deemed Ownership in English Personal Property Law’ (2015) 35 OJLS 31

Lehavi’s Construction of Property’ (2014) European Property Law Journal 256

The ownership that wasn’t meant to be: Yearworth and property rights in human tissue’ (2014) 40 Journal of Medical Ethics 14

Thinking about Title: who “owns” Banksy’s The Drinker?’, Oxford Property Law Blog

Dr Rostill