Journal of Civil Law Studies


trespassing, water access, recreation, Louisiana Civil Code, Louisiana Revised Statutes, navigability, original intent, Roman law, corpus iuris civilis


Since the birth of the civil law tradition, the public’s right to access and use running waters has been recognized and protected through written legal sources, statutes, and codes. However, although the State of Louisiana is often lauded as the “Sportsman’s Paradise,” the current judicial interpretation of water access rights has restricted the public’s ability to use waterways, in particular running waters, for recreational pursuits such as fishing and hunting. The purpose of this essay is first to highlight the trajectory of the development of the law relative to the public’s right to access and use running waters. The analysis ranges from the time of Emperor Justinian to present day Louisiana in order to underline the deviance of Louisiana’s current jurisprudence, which steps away from the original and/or legislative intent regarding running waters. This Article also aims at offering legal solutions with minimal impact to address the aforementioned discrepancy in the law moving forward.

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