UCL Faculty of Laws


Empowering the Poor: Turning De Facto Rights into Collateralised Credit

10 May 2018, 6:00 pm–7:00 pm

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Distinguished Visiting Professorship Lecture

Event Information

Open to



UCL Laws


UCL Laws, Bentham House, 4-8 Endsleigh Gardens, London WC1H 0EG


Professor Steven Schwarcz (Duke University School of Law)

About the talk:

The shrinking middle class and the widening gap between the rich and the poor constitute significant threats to social and financial stability. One of the main impediments to upward mobility is the inability of the poor to use their property—in which they sometimes hold only de facto, not de jure, rights—as collateral to obtain credit. Prof Schwarcz will argue that commercial law should recognize those de facto rights, enabling the poor to borrow to start businesses or otherwise create wealth. Recognition would be consistent with, if not compelled by, the innovative trend of commercial law to disentangle commercial and property law to reflect important commercial realities, rather than the arbitrary shifting of rights based on property.

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