Subject LAWS50030 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 5 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 48 hours
Total Time Commitment:

144 hours


Successful completion of all the below subjects:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1
Semester 1
Semester 2
Semester 2
Semester 2
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Law School welcomes applications from students with disabilities. It is University and Law School policy to take all reasonable steps to enable the participation of students with disabilities, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the School's programs.

The inherent academic requirements for the study in the Melbourne Law School are:

  • The ability to attend classes and actively engage in the analysis of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students must possess behavioural and social attributes that enable them to participate in a complex learning environment. Students are required to take responsibility for their own participation and learning. They also contribute to the learning of other students in collaborative learning environments, demonstrating interpersonal skills and an understanding of the needs of other students. Assessment may include the outcomes of tasks completed in collaboration with other students.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact Student Equity and Disability Support.


Prof Lee Godden


Phone: +61 3 8344 4475

Subject Overview:

This subject introduces students to the conceptual framework for understanding the principles of real and personal property and examines the role of law in defining and regulating proprietary relationships. The major substantive focus is on Australian land law.

Topics include:

  • The concept of property in diverse social, economic and political contexts including indigenous land interests, international law and intellectual property;
  • The boundaries of property including distinctions between contract and property, real and personal property including fixtures and licenses to use property;
  • Acquisition and regulation of personal and real property including possession, ownership and formalities;
  • The history of Australian land law;
  • Crown title and Crown powers to deal with land;
  • Tenure and estates;
  • Joint and common ownership;
  • Non-possessory interests in land including:
    • Security interests;
    • Profits a prendre;
    • Easements;
    • Restrictive covenants.
  • The nature, creation, acquisition, disposal, enforceability and registration of property interests in land, especially under the Torrens land registration system;
  • Equitable and legal priorities under the Torrens Land Registration system.
Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should have an integrated understanding of the conceptual aspects of property, the role of law in defining and regulating proprietary rights and relationships and the major legislative frameworks and common law principles governing such rights and relationships. More specifically, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a sound understanding of, and the ability to critically evaluate:
    • The concept of property and its variable interpretation in different social economic and cultural contexts;
    • The various forms of legal proprietary interests including real property, personal property, intellectual property and emerging forms of property as well as the forms of law and regulation that pertain to proprietary interests;
    • The historical development and current operation of Australia’s land law system, the historical and contemporary role of the Crown and the rights of indigenous Australians within Australia’s land law system and the function of registration systems for proprietary interests;
    • The essential characteristics of a proprietary interest and how these may be distinguished from non-proprietary rights.
  • Describe:
    • The possible sources of proprietary rights arising in statute, common law and equity;
    • Different judicial approaches to the recognition and protection of proprietary rights;
    • The policy issues underlying the recognition of particular interests as proprietary or non-proprietary in emerging areas such as intellectual property or natural resources.
  • Identify, evaluate and apply the legal rules governing co-ownership, the range of estates and interests in land, the role of the Crown, the implementation of the Torrens land registration system and the resolution of priority disputes over land;
  • Identify how property law interfaces with other areas of law such as contract, tort and equity in order to evaluate the role of property law in land and property transactions;
  • Evaluate the social role and implications of legal rules, particularly in a culturally diverse society such as exists in Australia, and explore the possibilities for law reform;
  • Demonstrate an ability to identify, analyse and interpret relevant case law and statutes;
  • Identify, apply and assess the legal principles arising from case law and statutes in a range of applied contexts including written assignments;
  • Use effective written communication skills in structuring and presenting relevant analysis, argument and conclusions.
  • A mid semester examination of one hour (20%);
  • A two hour examination, during scheduled examination period at end of semester (80%).

The due date of the above assessment will be available to students via the LMS.

Prescribed Texts:
  • Bradbrook, MacCallum & Moore, Australian Real Property Law, 6th Edition;
  • Specialist printed materials will also be made available from the Melbourne Law School.

Other materials (may be accessed online):

Recommended Texts:
  • Peter Butt, Land Law Sixth Edition 2009.
  • Robert Chambers, An Introduction to Property Law in Australia, 3rd Edition 2013.
  • David Lloyd and William Rimmer Sale of Land Act: Victoria (forthcoming).
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of the subject, students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • Attitudes towards knowledge that include valuing a rigorous approach to research and the presentation of information, openness to new ideas and ethics associated with knowledge creation and usage;
  • The capacity for close reading and analysis of a range of primary legal and secondary sources;
  • The capacity for critical and independent thought and reflection;
  • The capacity to solve problems, including through the collection and evaluation of information;
  • The capacity to communicate effectively in a range of oral and written formats;
  • The capacity to plan and manage time;
  • Intercultural sensitivity and understanding.

In addition, on completion of the subject, students should have developed the following skills specific to the discipline of law:

  • Case reading and analysis, including an ability to:
    • Extract key legal meanings and rules from judgments;
    • Reconcile or distinguish judgments;
    • Evaluate the development of legal principles;
    • Apply legal principles arising from case law and statutory interpretation to new situations.
  • Reading, interpreting and analysing statutes and their application to given factual situations;
  • Legal analysis and problem solving, including an ability to:
    • Identify legal issues arising in complex fact situations;
    • Identify and apply relevant legal, equitable and statutory principles;
    • Provide advice as to the rights and obligations of the parties.
  • Legal research and writing skills, including an ability to:
    • To locate current primary legal sources and to interpret the relative authority of the primary sources;
    • Find relevant and topical secondary sources;
    • Use case law, statutes and secondary sources as an effective component of legal analysis and commentary;
    • Identify and summarise legal principles and evaluate their relevance in given contexts;
    • Evaluate the significance and implications of judgments and issues to which they relate in applied and contextual exercises;
    • Present an appropriately structured and well supported complex legal argument in written form.
Related Course(s): Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration

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