Substantivity as an Attribute of Property


Property is also said to have the attribute of substantivity. Every piece of property is individual or capable of existing by itself, that is, independent of another thing. This quality is sometimes referred to as “individuality.”  Hence, as long as one thing depends on another thing for existence, it cannot by law be considered property. The moment it gets separated from that from which it derives its existence, it become property.

However, it is the author’s humble view that this concept is, purely, legally abstract. In reality, a thing can be considered property even if its existence still depends on another thing. A domain name, a website, for example, is property even if it cannot exist without databases, servers and hosts.

Nevertheless, academically, it is worth to note that some examples have been offered to illustrate substantivity as a legal requisite of property. Blood, hair and teeth of a human are said to have no capability to exist independent of the body. De Leon and De Leon, Jr. (2016) is of the opinion that they become property only when separated from the body of the person to who they belong.

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