LAW 7123 - Perspectives on Property Law & Society

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2016

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
    Assessment 4,000 word paper 40%, exam 40%, class presentation10%, class participation 10%
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor David Brown

    Other Law School Instructor- Dr Manuel Solis,, 8313-4344, Room 4.18 Ligertwood Bldg
    Course Timetable

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

    Classes take place Tuesdays 5-7 pm during teaching weeks of the semester, commencing Week 1, held in Ligertwood Room 5.15
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1.      Develop knowledge and understanding of:

    a.      The concept of property and the boundaries of

    property and non-property, real and personal property

    b.     The definition of land, interests in land, and

    c.      The creation and transfer of land and interests in
    land, including the history and effect of the common law, and the Torrens
    system, primarily through the South Australian law

    d.     The definition and types of lease and the
    relationships between lessor and lessee; interpretation and operation of
    commercial leases including rent reviews

    e.     (in outline) Taxation, valuation and finance
    issues in property transactions

    f.       (in outline) planning and development, as well
    as private control of land use through easements and covenants

    g.      (in outline) safety regulation and
    sustainability in relation to real property

    2.      Develop abilities to solve problems,
    individually and collaboratively, in relation to the above areas of knowledge
    through analysis of relevant legislation and case law

    3.      An understanding of negotiation in the context
    of creation and variation of commercial leases and rent reviews, and the
    ability to identify and negotiate essential clauses in commercial leases

    4.      Ability to analyse critically, in the broader context
    of welfare and justice, the policy and concepts used in property law and in law
    reform proposals, including comparative analysis with other jurisdictions

    5.      An understanding of cultural (particularly
    indigeneous) and ethical perspectives in property law.

    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)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Understanding Real Property Law, K Viglianti-Northway, LexisNexis 2015
    Recommended Resources
    The Required text will be supplemented with materials distributed through MyUni.
    Online Learning
    This 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 consist of lectures and problem-based activities and discussion in class each week. Lecturers will be Associate Professor Brown, Dr Manuel Solis, and specialist guest lecturers drawn from within Adelaide Law School and legal and real estate practitioners.
    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.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week 1: Introduction- Introduction to Property; Presentation and Research Essay details, organising pairs/groups for presentations; resources
    Week 2: The 'Boundaries' of Property, real and personal property; boundaries, fixtures
    *Week 3: The Legal Structure of Landholding and Occupation in Australia
    *Week 4:Introduction to Leases
    Week 5: Sustainability and Risk
    Week 6: Drafting and Negotiating Commercial Leases
    *Week 7: Private and Public Land Use regulation: Easements, covenants and planning and development law
    *Week 8 : Cultural and Indigenous perspectives and native title
    Week 9: The Torrens system of land title, including electronic conveyancing
    *Week 10 The Torrens system- exceptions and priorities
    Week 11: In-class examination
    *Week 12: Property Finance and Tax issues

    Weeks marked with an asterisk will include student presentations, to be allocated in Week 1 class.

  • 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
    In-class examination- Tuesday 18 October, 2 hours, open book, 40%
    4000 word research essay, due by 4 November 5 p.m, 40%
    Presentations- individual assessment- in-class (at various dates to be arranged in week 1)- 10%
    Participation- 10%
    Assessment Detail
    In-class examination- 40%- open book, 2 hours. The examination will consist of problem-based and short essay questions. Examinable material and topics will be those covered up to and including Week 10. Students may use any paper-based material in the class other than university library books.

    Research Essay- 40%- 4000 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.

    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.

    Class Presentations- 10% (individual 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, to be handed in to David Brown 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 David Brown 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 David Brown or Manuel Solis if you are unclear about this.

    Participation- 10%
    Assessment will be based on attendance (students should attend all classes unless they have a medical or other similar extenuating circumstances notified and evidenced to David Brown), but will also be based on active participation in discussions in class, including discussion of others' presentation material,  and/or online through MyUni Discussion Board.
    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.

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    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.

    For more information please check out the Writing Centre website at  

    Lex Salus Program

    Lex Salus was founded in 2013 by Adelaide Law School Wellbeing officers Ms Corinne Walding, Ms Kellie Toole and Dr Mark Giancaspro and . Lex Salus is an initiative of the Adelaide Law School aimed at raising law student awareness of the importance of mental, physical and nutritional health across all year levels of the degree, and of the various counselling, disability and equity services both within and outside the University that can provide help. Research shows that law students, both in Australia and in many jurisdictions around the world, experience the highest levels of stress, anxiety and depression out of any other discipline. Many do not get enough sleep, maintain a healthy diet or achieve a realistic work/life balance. Making matters worse, they are unwilling or afraid to speak up for fear of feeling 'weak' or because of the negative stigma that attaches to seeking help. Lex Salus is dedicated to tackling these problems head-on.

    Counselling Service

    The University Counselling Service provides a free and confidential service to all enrolled students. We encourage you to contact the Counselling service on 8313 5663 to make an appointment to deal with any issues that may be affecting your study and life. More information is available at
  • Policies & Guidelines

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

    Plagiarism and other forms of cheating

    Plagiarism is a serious act of academic misconduct. All students must be familiar with the Adelaide Law School Enrolment Guide, and should note in particular the sections relating to plagiarism, grievance procedures and academic conduct within the Law School and the University.

    Plagiarism is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Please be aware that “academic dishonesty” (which goes beyond plagiarism) can be a ground for a refusal by the Supreme Court of South Australia to refuse 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.