Henry S. Barnes

Publication Date


Document Type

Survey Article


A goodly number of cases involving some phase of real property law reached the appellate courts during the year, however, the great majority turned on a question of pleading or practice rather than of real property law. Since a detailed analysis and discussion of all the cases will not be possible, only those decisions which indicate the establishment of new, or the growth, extension, or clarification of existing, principles will be mentioned.

Williams v. Thomas County is in line with the modern doctrine that any present interest in land is alienable. A possibility of reverter or a right .of entry for breach of a condition subsequent has always been thought of as a present interest in land. At the common law an attempt to convey to a stranger a right of entry for breach of a condition subsequent, before the breach occurred, destroyed the right and left the estate subject to the condition free and clear of the encumbrance. The doctrine was based primarily on the inability of the owner of the right to make livery of seisin. However, such an interest could, at all times, be released to the terre tenant. Since livery of seisin is no longer necessary, there is no reason why such an interest should not be passed by deed or will. And since our courts make little or no distinction, so far as alienability is concerned, between a possibility .of reverter and a right of entry upon condition broken, the same rule is applied to both interests. This case is logically and historically sound because the conveyance was to the terre tenant.