LAW 2502 - Equity

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2017

Historical basis of equity, as well as equitable rights, titles and interests in property, will be considered. The course will examine in detail major equitable doctrines or principles: 1) unconscionable conduct (which include estoppel and unconscionable transactions ; 2) fiduciary relationships; 3) trust: express (which discusses trust accounting), resulting and constructive. In trusts particular reference will be paid to the various types of trusts and the manner and form of their creation and variation. Further, the duties, rights and powers of trustees will be included, as will be the consequences of breach of trust. Particular emphasis will be placed throughout the course upon remedies, both specific and monetary. Other equitable doctrines such as breach of confidence will be considered.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 2502
    Course Equity
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate Law (LLB)
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites LAW 1506
    Incompatible LAW 2005
    Restrictions Available to LLB students only
    Course Description Historical basis of equity, as well as equitable rights, titles and interests in property, will be considered. The course will examine in detail major equitable doctrines or principles: 1) unconscionable conduct (which include estoppel and unconscionable transactions ; 2) fiduciary relationships; 3) trust: express (which discusses trust accounting), resulting and constructive. In trusts particular reference will be paid to the various types of trusts and the manner and form of their creation and variation. Further, the duties, rights and powers of trustees will be included, as will be the consequences of breach of trust. Particular emphasis will be placed throughout the course upon remedies, both specific and monetary. Other equitable doctrines such as breach of confidence will be considered.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Mr David Wright


    Dr Beth Nosworthy
    Room 309 Ligertwood Building
    t: 8313 5543

    David Wright (weeks 6-12)
    Room 219 Ligertwood Building
    t: 8313 4447 (work)

    Course Website:  

    Course Timetable

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

    In this course, each student will receive two (one hour) lectures plus one (one hour) seminar per week.

    All lectures will be held in Barr Smith South Lecture theatre.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    The Legal Practitioners' Education and Admissions Council (LPEAC) sets rules for the academic requirements for admission to legal practice in South Australia. These rules require that students must demonstrate a satisfactory level of understanding and application of 11 core areas of legal knowledge (also known as the Priestly 11). This course teaches the following topics within these core areas: history and nature of equity, fraud in equity (including undue influence, equitable fraud, unconscionability, mistake, misrepresentation and estoppel), express trusts, resulting trusts, fiduciary relations, constructive trusts and remedies.

    The Priestly 11 constitute the subjects that must be satisfactorily studied if the student wants to be admitted by the courts to work as a lawyer.  Equity is one of the Priestly 11.    The Priestly committee requires certain topics must be taught in the law degree.  These are:

    1 (a) The nature of equity

    (b) Equitable rights, titles and interests

    (c) Equitable assignments

    (d) Estoppel in equity

    (e) Fiduciary obligations

    (f) Unconscionable transactions

    (g) Equitable remedies.


    2) Trusts with particular reference to the various types of trusts and the manner and form of their creation and variation. The duties, rights and powers of trustees should be included, as should the consequences of breach of trust and the remedies available to, and respective rights of, beneficiaries.


    Topics of such breadth and depth as to satisfy the following guidelines.

    The topics should cover the elements of trust law, equitable doctrines apart from those relating to trusts, and equitable remedies. The following aspects of trusts law should be dealt with: various kinds of trusts; the rights, duties, powers of trustees; the consequences of breach of trust. Apart from trusts, the following equitable doctrines might be covered, for example, fiduciary obligations, equitable assignments, unconscionability and confidential information. The remedies of specific performance, injunction, declaration and damages in equity should be included.

    This course has been structured to reflect these requirements.  Essentially the course is structured in line with the second alternative.  So, the course will cover the elements of trust law, some equitable doctrines (in addition, to those relating to trusts, and equitable remedies).

    In addition to the description of the Priestly 11 components of the course above:

    A student who has successfully completed Equity will:

    1. Analyse the foundational principles of Equity, undertake legal research with primary and secondary materials, and evaluate legal information.
    2. Apply Equity to complex problems and issues, critique the operation of Equity from a theoretical perspective.
    3. Structure and sustain concise and cohesive written argument for a legal audience.
    4. Conduct and analyse legal research in an academic environment.
    5. Analyse the impact and operation of Equity from social and policy perspectives, and in the context of social and cultural diversity.
    6. Reflect on their abilities to effectively undertake detailed research as an individual.
    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

    The required textbook for this course is:

    Radan and Stewart, Principles of Australian Equity and Trusts (3rd edition, LexisNexis, 2015-2016).

    Recommended Resources
    There are a quite a few very good Equity textbooks.  Just two are listed here as useful academic texts.  They are:

    1. Dal Pont and Cockburn, Equity & Trusts: In Principle (3rd edition, Thomson Reuters, 2013)
    2. Heydon, Leeming and Turner, Meagher, Gummow & Lehane's Equity: Doctrines and Remedies (5th edition, LexisNexis, 2014)

    The Dal Pont and Cockburn book is brief, but extremely useful as it has problems with solutions.  But it cannot be used as a replacement for the required textbook, due to its nature as a 'summary' book, thanks to its length.  In order to keep it short, it has to make generalisations about the law, which are accurate, but lack the relevant detail required by this course - a lot of equity is about the details.  Rather, it is should be considered as a supplement to the required textbook.

    A more difficult but also very useful text is Meagher, Gummow & Lehane's Equity: Doctrines and Remedies.  It suffers from the other extreme - almost too much detail - and it assumes that you already know equity.  It is a very useful reference book with a high level of discussion by very important Equity scholars-one of the original authors (Gummow) and one the current authors (Heydon) were judges on the High Court.  But perhaps not the book for students to first go to find out about an area of equity.
    Online Learning
    It is the intention of this course to record all lectures and place them on MyUni.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The approach to learning and teaching for this course is by both lectures and seminars. The relationship of these is that lectures will be supported and more fully developed by problem-solving seminars, so as to develop material introduced in lectures and aid students understanding of the concepts.

    Seminars will be held weekly, beginning in Week 2.  Seminars will both consolidate material covered in earlier lectures and canvas new material which will not be addressed in lectures.  Seminars are an important component of the student’s learning in this course. The communication skills developed in seminars by regularly and actively participating in discussions are considered to be most important by the School and are highly regarded by employers and professional bodies.

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

    In this course, each student will receive two (one hour) lectures plus a one (one hour) seminar per week. It is essential to realize that the University expects full-time students (that is, those taking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies. As Equity is a 3 unit subject, a student should devote approximately 12 hours to it a week (obviously this is an average figure, as some weeks will be very busy with the assignment or preparing for the exam, while other weeks will be less busy). As students can see, the total contact hours per student totals 3 hours per week. Therefore, a student in this course would be expected to do approximately 9 hours work per week for this course in addition to the lectures and seminars times. It is very important that students begin working on their own (in addition to attending lectures and seminars) from the very start of this course. Without doing this, students are compromising their own learning outcomes.

    Learning Activities Summary
    Schedule of Topics
    Week 1 History and Nature of Equity
    Week 2 Express Trusts
    Week 3 Express Trusts (cont.)
    Week 4 Resulting Trusts
    Week 5 Fraud in Equity
    Week 6 Fraud in Equity (cont.)
    Week 7 Fiduciary Relationships
    Week 8 Fiduciary Relationships (cont.)
    Week 9 Constructive Trusts
    Week 10 Constructive Trusts (cont.)
    Week 11 Remedies
    Week 12 Summary and Revision
  • 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 % of final mark Due date Length Redeemable Learning Objectives
    Case Analysis  5% n/a Yes (provided the mark is a passing one) [1-4]
    Case Analysis 2
    2pm Friday 24th March
    Casenote 20% 2pm Monday 17th April 1500 words Yes (provided the mark is a passing one) [1-4]
    On line assessment 30% available 2pm Monday 29th May
    due 2pm Friday 2th June
    n/a No [1-4]
    Final Exam 45% Exam
    June Exam Period
    1 hour (plus reading time) [1-4]
    Assessment Related Requirements
    It is NOT compulsory to attend lectures and/ or seminars. However attendance is strongly advised.The mark(s) a student receives for the casenote, the case analysis and/ or the on line assessment is redeemable by the exam provided that the mark is a passing one. T

    The mark for the exam is NOT redeemable.

    Assessment Detail

    1  Case Analysis
    5% - Due
    2pm Friday 24th March

    The case analysis is compulsory.  It takes the form of an online quiz, which focusses primarily on one case, the identity of which students will be told in advance. This quiz is to enhance the student’s case reading ability. This ability is an extremely important skill for a good lawyer. In a court like the High Court frequently there are many judgments. Even within the majority judgment there may be multiple judgments, demonstrating subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) differences in judicial reasoning. It is imperative that students have the skill to emphasise both the similarities and divergences in the judgments in the one case.
    The content of the law (that is, what the laws is) is NOT the focus of this case analysis. So although this is an Equity case, the case analysis will not be a test of your Equity knowledge. Rather, it will examine the ability to grapple with multiple judgments in one case.
    This online case analysis will constitute 5% of the student’s final mark. It is redeemable, provided the total mark achieved is a passing one.

    2  Casenote
    20% - 1500 words - Due 2pm Monday 17th April

    The casenote is compulsory.  The mark a student receives for the casenote is redeemable by the exam provided that the casenote mark is a passing one.
    The casenote involves a case relating to Express Trusts (Topic Two).  It is redeemable, provided the total mark achieved is a passing one.
    The substance of the casenote question (the relevant part of Topic Two) will NOT form the focus of any examination question, although it may arise in the examination in an indirect and minor way. 

    3 On Line  Assessment
    30% available from 2pm 29th  May and due by 2pm Friday 2nd June
    The on line assessment is compulsory.  The on line assessment has two parts.  Part One would be a multiple choice quiz, consisting of a series of twenty questions. Part Two would be a series of short answers. To avoid cheating, Part One the 20 questions are randomly pulled from a pool of 40 questions, so each student gets a unique quiz. Further to this, with Part Two students must answer 12 questions.  These 12 questions will be randomly selected from a pool of 24 questions.  Again each student will get a unique quiz.  Each Part of the On line assessment is worth the same as other part.  That is, Part One is worth the same marks as Part Two. A student has to do in a two hour block. It will be available from 2pm 29th May and due by 2pm Friday 2nd June.  Essentially although the online assessment can be done at anytime during week 12, this online assessment must be done in one single 2 hour block. It can't be broken up.  It is redeemable, provided the total mark achieved is a passing one.

    4  Final Exam
    45% - Examinations Period

    The final exam is compulsory. 

    The usual exam criteria apply.  There will be one question.  All students are to attempt this question.  This exam will go for one hour (plus reading time).  It is an open book examination, so any material (except library books) can be taken into the exam.     

    Reminder: It is very important to remember that the University requires students to be available for exams as scheduled.  This applies to both the Primary and Supplementary/ replacement exams.

    Exam period: Semester 1

    Submission process:  You will be informed of all submission procedures when the assessment question is distributed.  Where possible, students will be requested to submit a copy of their assignment through Turnitin on MyUni.  By submitting a copy of your assignment through Turnitin you are agreeing to the following: (a) I declare that all material in this assessment is my own work except where there is clear acknowledgement and reference to the work of others. I have read the Policy on Cheating in Examinations and Related Forms of
    Assessment. I have also read the University's Plagiarism Policy; (b) I give permission for my assessment work to be reproduced and submitted to other  academic staff for the purposes of assessment and to be copied, submitted and retained in a form suitable for electronic checking of plagiarism.

    Late Submission: 5% of the total mark possible will be deducted for every 24 hours or part thereof that it is late, including each day on a weekend.  For example, an essay that is submitted after the due date and time but within the first 24 hour period, and that has been graded at 63%, will have 5% deducted, for a final grade of 58%.  An essay that is more than 24 hours late will lose 10%, etc.  Hard copy submissions made after 5.00pm on a Friday will be assumed to have been submitted on the next business day (i.e. Monday) and will be penalised accordingly.

    Word Length:  Assignments which exceed the allocated length (word length) will be subject to a penalty of 5% of total marks possible per 100 words or part thereof. For example, with a word limit of 3,000, an essay graded 63% will have 5% deducted if it is 3001 words long, for a final grade of 58%, 10% if it is 3101 words long, etc.  Word length is calculated including all footnotes and headings within the text, but excluding cover page information and a bibliography, if supplied.  Quotations and all referencing information are included in the word count.

    Extensions:  Extensions will be granted only for unexpected illness, hardship or on compassionate grounds in accordance with University Policy. Work commitments, travel, holidays or sporting engagements are not unexpected circumstances.  If you require an extension, you will need to use the on-line application form available on Unified as soon as you are aware of the need for an extension, and before the due date of the assignment. The course coordinator will reply by email, determining whether an extension is warranted, what evidence is required to verify the student’s incapacity, and the length of the extension.  Evidence of the incapacity must be submitted with the assignment, and must be consistent with details in the email requesting the extension. If the details of the request for an extension, and the medical or other evidence verifying the extension are not consistent in all respects, the extension is nullified, and the assignment may be penalised. 

    Style of written work: All written work in the Law school is required to comply with the approved Law School style guide, the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (available electronically at: AGLC).

    Feedback:  The casenote will be returned, having been marked and comments provided, three weeks after the due date.  The final exam will be returned after the Board of Examiners meeting.
    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.

    Courses for which a result of conceded pass has been obtained may not be presented towards the degree requirements for the Bachelor of Laws or the Honours Degree of Bachelor of Laws programs, or any postgraduate law program, nor to satisfy prerequisite requirements within any law course.

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

    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 Acess 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.

  • 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.

    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. 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.


    Further information regarding the Law School Policies and Procedures in relation to Supplementary Assessment, Extensions, and Remarks etc can be found at:

    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.