LAW 7123 - Perspectives on Property Law & Society

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2024

Property law, in Australia as elsewhere, lies at the very heart of any society and its legal system. This subject aims to give students an understanding of Australian property law, using South Australian legislation as the example. The first week challenges students to ask 'what is property, how is it justified, and why is it so central to social relationships'? This theoretical background is then explored via a practical consideration of the varieties of property found in the legal system. Whilst the relationship and distinctions between non-property, personal property and real property are examined, the focus of the rest of the course is on the law relating to landholding and land occupation- the definition and boundaries of land, their creation and transfer at general law and mainly now under the Torrens system (including the current reform in South Australia as it and other states move towards electronic conveyancing), and the relationships within the main forms of landholding in Australia, particularly the landlord and tenant relationship. The course will also examine the law in relation to property financing, investment and security; planning and development, valuation, taxation (in outline) and (in outline) safety regulation and sustainability (e.g. energy efficiency, green building design, climate proofing, etc.) Perspectives integrated into the course and exercises will include negotiation and dispute resolution, and indigenous perspectives in relation to native title and development. Guest speakers are expected to be drawn from academics and practitioners in the fields of accounting, taxation and property valuation, as well as planning and commercial lease legal specialists. There will be an opportunity throughout the course, particularly in the research assignment, for comparative work in relation to other jurisdictions, and for students to draw on any interdisciplinary or other experience of the broader subject of Property.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 7123
    Course Perspectives on Property Law & Society
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 2 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assumed Knowledge New students without a Bachelor of Laws must have completed LAW 7177
    Assessment 4,000 word paper 40%, exam 40%, class presentation 10%, class participation 10%
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Evan Richards

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    1. Identify, explain and apply the fundamental concepts and principles of South Australian property law.
    2. Apply the above principles to solving legal problems, and analyse the law critically from theoretical and practical perspectives.
    3. Articulate legal arguments and perspectives both individually and working in teams.
    4. Identify the perspectives of property law transactions and negotiate basic commercial property documents.
    5. Identify and weigh social, policy and comparative perspectives and ethical and indigenous perspectives impacting upon property relationships and rules.
    6. Collaborate and debate the issues in the course.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.

    2, 4,6

    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.

    3, 4,6

    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.

    1, 3, 5

    Attribute 6: Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency

    Graduates have an understanding of, and respect for, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values, culture and knowledge.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

    3, 6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Michael Nancarrow et al, Australian Property Law: Principles to Practice (Cambridge University Press, 2022).
    Recommended Resources
    The Required text will be supplemented with materials distributed through MyUni.
    Online Learning
    This course will be offered in face to face mode (in line with University policy) at the scheduled class time, one evening each week for two hours. The course will make active use of MyUni for communications, exercises,content materials and assessment. Please ensure you check the course page regularly.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course will be offered in face to face mode at the scheduled class time. The classes will consist of a lecture component, student presentations and discussion in class each week. 

    MyUni will be used for communication,  Discussion Board and additional materials and links. Students should check the MyUni course page regularly.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    University expectation for a 3 unit course is student workload (including class time) of 48 hours per week for a full time students taking 12 units per semester. This means you should commit approximately 9 hours of private study each week on top of your class contact time.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week Topic
    1 Introduction- Introduction to Property Theory and Concepts; Presentation and Research Essay details, organising pairs/groups for presentations; resources 
    2 The Legal Structure of Landholding and Occupation in Australia, including Co-ownership
    3 The Torrens System of Land Title 
    4 Boundaries, fixtures and encroachments
    5 Native title and indigenous land issues
    6 Introduction to Leases, and Commercial lease issues
    7 Residential occupation and strata title
    8 Private and Public Land Use regulation: Easements, covenants;planning and development law 
    9 Climate change and sustainability
    10 Mortgages and security interests; property taxation (outline)
    11 Online test commencing at scheduled class time
    12 Research Essay- library and writing issues, consultations with students
    ** This is a draft timetable and is subject to change. **
    Specific Course Requirements
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting Redeemable Length Learning Outcome
    Presentations in-class Group/Individual at various dates to be arranged in week 1 10% (5% group, 5% individual) No n/a 1-6
    Online Quiz Individual Friday Week 4, 5 pm 15% No 30 questions 1-6
    Online Test Individual Week 11 during scheduled class time 30% No 2 hours 1-6
    Research essay Individual Monday 11 November, 5pm 45% No 3000 words 1-6
    Assessment Detail
    Online test- 30%- online, open book, 2 hours. This test will take place online,  at the same time as the usual class time.
    The test will consist of problem-based questions, and a short essay question. Examinable material and topics will be those covered up to and including Week 10. 

    Online Quiz- 15%-  This quiz will assess fundamental knowledge of law and concepts up to and including Week 4 material. It will consist of 30 multiple choice questions. Only one attempt may be made at the quiz, and 60 minutes time will be allowed for completion. However, a shorter practice quiz will be provided which will not count towards assessment and the Practice Quiz may be attempted multiple times.

    Research Essay- 45%- 3000 word limit. Further criteria and suggested topics will be distributed early in the course, and by arrangement, students may choose their own topics. A comparative element (with another jurisdiction) is encouraged. Submission will be via Turnitin/MyUni.

    Class Presentations- 10% (comprising 5% individual mark, and 5% for the group mark) Subject to final enrolment numbers, these will last 30 minutes and be undertaken either in pairs or in groups of three. Pairs/groups, and allocated weeks and topics, will be organised in Week 1's class. Presentations must be accompanied by a two-page (maximum) A4 synopsis from each individual summarising their part of the presentation, to be emailed to the Course Coordinator by 5 pm the day before the presentation. Topics will relate to the material being studied that week, and may be a case or legislative analysis.

    Students may use powerpoint or other presentation aids, though should notify the Course Coordinator in advance if they wish to use anything other than powerpoint or paper materials. Please note that marks/grades will be allocated invidvidually, it is not a group assessment. Therefore you should try to divide the work equally (for example, dividing the time, or dividing into discrete points). Please see Course Coordinator if you are unclear about this.

    Assessment is comprised of 5% individual assessment based on the the individual's contribution to the presentation, and the individual written synopsis; 5% group mark for assessment of the group's presentation as a cohesive whole. (In the unlikely event that there is any significant lack of contribution to the group effort by any individual, this matter can be referred to the Course Coordinator by others in the group and the group mark element may, following investigation, be adjusted for that individual only.)


    Research Essays must be submitted via Turnitin, by 5 pm on the due date.

    Breaches of due date requirement, without an extension, may be penalized in accordance with Law School policy. Late penalties will be enforced at 5% of the marks available per day or part thereof. If seeking an extension the Law School policy must be followed.

    Word limit
    Assignments which exceed the word limit will be subject to a penalty of 5% of total marks available per 100 words or part thereof (ie an essay graded 63% will have 5% deducted if it is 4001 words long, for a final grade of 58%, 10% if it is 4101 words long, etc). Words are calculated including all footnotes and headings within the text but excluding cover page information. Quotations and all referencing information are included in the word count.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

    Finality of Assessment Grades

    Students are advised that Course Coordinators will not enter into negotiations of any kind with any student regarding changes to their grades. It is irrelevant, in any given circumstance, that only a minimal number of additional marks are required to inflate a student’s grade for any individual assessment item or course as a whole. Pursuant to the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policyand the Adelaide Law School Assessment Policies and Procedures, grades may only be varied through the appropriate channels for academic review (such as an official re-mark).

    In accordance with the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, course coordinators ‘ensure that appropriate marking guidelines and cross-marking moderation processes across markers are in place’ in each course. Procedures adopted by Adelaide Law School to ensure consistency of marking in courses with multiple markers include:
    • assurance of the qualifications of markers, and their knowledge of the content covered in each course;
    • detailed marking guidelines and assessment rubrics to assist in the marking of items of assessment;
    • sharing of example marked assessments at various grade bands across markers;
    • reviewing of selected marked assessments from each marker by the course coordinator;
    • comparison of the marks and their distribution across markers;
    • automatic double-marking of all interim assessment receiving a fail grade, and of final assessments where a student’s overall result is a fail grade;
    • the availability of re-marking of assessments in accordance with Adelaide Law School’s Assessment Policies and Procedures.

    Approval of Results by Board of Examiners
    Students are reminded that all assessment results are subject to approval (and possible moderation/change) by the Law School’s Board of Examiners. Assessment results at the University are not scaled. Under the Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, students are assessed ‘by reference to their performance against pre-determined criteria and standards … and not by ranking against the performance of the student cohort in the course’. However, under that same policy, the Board of Examiners (as the relevant Assessment Review Committee for courses at Adelaide Law School) is required to ‘ensure comparability of standards and consistency’ in assessment. On occasions, the Board of Examiners will form the view that some moderation is required to ensure the comparability of standards and consistency across courses and years, and accordingly provide fairness to all law students. All assessment results are therefore subject to approval (and possible change) until confirmed by the Board of Examiners and posted on Access Adelaide at the end of each semester.
  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    The course is constantly being updated and revised to reflect the evolution of the law, to respond to student feedback, and to engage with the latest teaching practices. Student feedback is collected each time the course is run, including through SELT reports. Previous SELT reports, and staff feedback on them, are posted on the course MyUni site for students to view and consider.
  • Student Support
    The University Writing Centre provides academic learning and language development services and resources for local, international, undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students enrolled at the University of Adelaide.

    The centre offers practical advice and strategies for students to master reading, writing, note-taking, time management, oral presentation skills, referencing techniques and exam preparation for success at university through seminars, workshops and individual consultations.

    Lex Salus Program
    Lex Salus (law and wellbeing) is an initiative of the Adelaide Law School aimed at destigmatising mental health issues; promoting physical, mental and emotional wellness; building a strong community of staff and students; and celebrating diversity within the school. It also seeks to promote wellness within the legal profession, through the involvement of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia, the Honourable Chris Kourakis, as the official Patron of the program.

    Students can participate in the Lex Salus program by attending barbecue lunches, pancake breakfasts, knitting and crochet circles, seminars, guest speakers, conferences and other activities. Our Facebook page, website and regular all-student emails promote upcoming events, and have tips and information on wellness.

    Our Lex Salus YouTube channel also includes videos on topics like managing stress, and interviews with LGBTQ lawyers and their supporters which celebrate diversity and individuality. Students who commit to 10 hours of volunteering with Lex Salus in one year can have their service recognised on their academic transcript and through a thank you morning tea with the Chief Justice and law school staff.

    Student Life Counselling Support
    The University’s Student Life Counselling Support service provides free and confidential service to all enrolled students. We encourage you to contact the Student Life Counselling Support service on 8313 5663 to make an appointment to deal with any issues that may be affecting your study and life.
  • Policies & Guidelines

    This section contains links to relevant assessment-related policies and guidelines - all university policies.

    Academic Integrity
    Academic dishonesty is a serious act of academic misconduct. All students must be familiar with the University’s Academic Integrity Policy.

    Academic dishonesty is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Academic dishonesty (which goes beyond plagiarism) can be a ground for a refusal by the Supreme Court of South Australia to admit a person to practice as a legal practitioner in South Australia.

    Academic honesty is an essential aspect of ethical and honest behaviour, which is central to the practice of the law and an understanding of what it is to be a lawyer.
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.