Blackacre, Whiteacre, Greenacre, Brownacre, and variations are the
Placeholder names are words that can refer to things or people whose names do not exist, are temporarily forgotten, are not relevant to the salient point at hand, are to avoid stigmatization, are unknowable/unpredictable in the context in wh ...
s used for fictitious estates in land
The names are used by professors of
Law is a set of rules that are created and are enforceable by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity'', 90. with its precise definition a matter of longstanding debate. It has been vari ...
in common law
jurisdictions, particularly in the area of
In English common law, real property, real estate, immovable property or, solely in the US and Canada, realty, is land which is the property of some person and all structures (also called improvements or fixtures) integrated with or aff ...
and occasionally in
A contract is a legally enforceable agreement between two or more parties that creates, defines, and governs mutual rights and obligations between them. A contract typically involves the transfer of goods, services, money, or a promise to ...
, to discuss the rights of various parties to a piece of land. A typical
A law school (also known as a law centre or college of law) is an institution specializing in legal education, usually involved as part of a process for becoming a lawyer within a given jurisdiction.
Law degrees Argentina
In Argentina, ...
A bar examination is an examination administered by the bar association of a jurisdiction that a lawyer must pass in order to be admitted to the bar of that jurisdiction.
Administering bar exams is the responsibility of the bar associat ...
question on real property might say:
Where more than one estate is needed to demonstrate a pointperhaps relating to a dispute over boundaries,
An easement is a nonpossessory right to use and/or enter onto the real property of another without possessing it. It is "best typified in the right of way which one landowner, A, may enjoy over the land of another, B". An easement is a property ...
Riparian water rights (or simply riparian rights) is a system for allocating water among those who possess land along its path. It has its origins in English common law. Riparian water rights exist in many jurisdictions with a common law he ...
a second estate will usually be called Whiteacre, a third, Greenacre, and a fourth, Brownacre.
Jesse Dukeminier (August 12, 1925 – April 20, 2003) was a professor of law for 40 years at the University of California, Los Angeles, and authored or co-authored a significant number of articles and textbooks in the areas of property law, will ...
, author of one of the leading series of textbook
s on property, traces the use of Blackacre and Whiteacre for this purpose to a 1628 treatise by Sir
Edward is an English given name. It is derived from the Anglo-Saxon name ''Ēadweard'', composed of the elements '' ēad'' "wealth, fortune; prosperous" and '' weard'' "guardian, protector”.
The name Edward was very popular in Anglo-Sax ...
. Dukeminier suggests that the term might originate with references to colors associated with certain
A crop is a plant that can be grown and harvested extensively for profit or subsistence. When the plants of the same kind are cultivated at one place on a large scale, it is called a crop. Most crops are cultivated in agriculture or hydroponics ...
The pea is most commonly the small spherical seed or the seed-pod of the flowering plant species ''Pisum sativum''. Each pod contains several peas, which can be green or yellow. Botanically, pea pods are fruit, since they contain seeds and d ...
A bean is the seed of several plants in the family Fabaceae, which are used as vegetables for human or animal food. They can be cooked in many different ways, including boiling, frying, and baking, and are used in many traditional dishes thr ...
Maize ( ; ''Zea mays'' subsp. ''mays'', from es, maíz after tnq, mahiz), also known as corn (North American and Australian English), is a cereal grain first domesticated by indigenous peoples in southern Mexico about 10,000 years ago. The ...
The potato is a starchy food, a tuber of the plant ''Solanum tuberosum'' and is a root vegetable native to the Americas. The plant is a perennial in the nightshade family Solanaceae.
Wild potato species can be found from the southern United ...
Hay is grass, legumes, or other herbaceous plants that have been cut and dried to be stored for use as animal fodder, either for large grazing animals raised as livestock, such as cattle, horses, goats, and sheep, or for smaller domesticated ...
is green"), or with the means by which rents were to be paid, with black rents payable in
Produce is a generalized term for many farm-produced crops, including fruits and vegetables (grains, oats, etc. are also sometimes considered ''produce''). More specifically, the term ''produce'' often implies that the products are fresh and ...
and white rents in silver
. A 1790 treatise by Francis Buller
similarly uses these placeholder names, stating: "If A. have Black Acre and C. have White Acre, and A. has a way over White Acre to Black Acre, and then purchases White Acre, the way will be extinct; and if A. afterwards enfeoff C. of White Acre without excepting the road, it is gone".
In various law journals and treatises in Louisiana, which uses a unique form
of the civil law
influenced by but not identical to the Napoleonic Code
, authors have used the term "
An arpent (, sometimes called arpen) is a unit of length and a unit of area. It is a pre-metric French unit based on the Roman ''actus''. It is used in Quebec, some areas of the United States that were part of French Louisiana, and in Mauriti ...
noir" as a placeholder name for the purpose of discussing rights concerning immovables.
One of the more basic theories is that Blackacre and Whiteacre are related to what professors could draw on dark chalkboards in early law-school settings. A simple outline of the property on the "blackboard" being "blackacre" and a chalk-colored-in property being "whiteacre".
In popular culture
Because of its association with legal education, a number of legal publications and events utilize the name. For example, ''Blackacre'' was adopted as the name of the literary journal at the
University of Texas School of Law
The University of Texas School of Law (Texas Law) is the law school of the University of Texas at Austin. Texas Law is consistently ranked as one of the top law schools in the United States and is highly selective—registering the 8th lowest ac ...
. ''Blackacre'' is also the name of a journal at the University of Sydney Law School
, published annually by the Sydney University Law Society, the name of the open-air courtyard and weekly student social at Vanderbilt Law School
, and the name of a
William Mitchell College of Law
William Mitchell College of Law was a private, independent law school located in St. Paul, Minnesota, United States, from 1956 to 2015. Accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA), it offered full- and part-time legal education in pursuit of ...
The Blackacre Nature Preserve and Historic Homestead
was so named by the donor of the land, Macauley Smith
, who had been a judge on the Kentucky Court of Appeals
. In July 2010, a legal humor website wrote an article chronicling the foreclosure sale of Blackacre. A group of law students in Indianapolis founded a brewery named Black Acre Brewing Co.
in late 2010 as a homage to their legal schooling. Monica Youn
's 2016 book of poetry from
Graywolf Press is an independent, non-profit publisher located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Graywolf Press publishes fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.
Graywolf Press collaborates with organizations such as the College of Saint Benedict, the Mel ...
is titled ''Blackacre'', in reference to the legal concept (Youn has a law degree from Yale).
* Dewey, Cheatem & Howe
, another legal placeholder name
Real property law