UCL Faculty of Laws


Ernesto Vargas Weil receives honourable mention in prestigious comparative law essay competition

26 October 2021

Ernesto received an honourable mention in the Colin B. Picker Graduate Prize, awarded by the Younger Comparativists Committee of the American Society of Comparative Law.

Ernesto Vargas Weil

Ernesto Vargas Weil, PhD student and Associate Lecturer (Teaching) at UCL Laws, was awarded an honourable mention for his paper on “The numerus clausus as a constitutional rule of property law: a macro-comparative approach”.

Relying on a micro-comparative analysis, mainstream comparative scholarship tends to agree that, in most modern legal systems, the number and content of property rights available to private parties is limited by the law. This paper takes a different angle, arguing that such conclusion, although correct and meaningful, is essentially incomplete, as it does not account for the implications that the numerus clausus principle has for the wider legal system. Using a macro-comparative approach, the paper analyses the principle of numerus clausus from the perspective of its impact in the role of courts, legislators and the style of legal reasoning in modern Germany, England and the US. It concludes that the numerus clausus principle has notoriously different ‘systemic effects’ in each jurisdiction and that this has relevant implications for the justification of the principle, debunking some myths regarding the differences and similarities across the civil-common law divide.

The paper is part of Ernesto’s dissertation on “Stability and change in property law: a comparative approach to the principle of numerus clausus”, supervised by Professor Ben McFarlane.

The Colin B. Picker Graduate Prize is awarded in recognition of the best paper submitted by a graduate student to the annual YCC Global Conference, which was held online this year on 23 October.