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GRIFFITH UNIVERSITY                                                FACULTY OF LAW

                                    COURSE OUTLINE

COURSE CATALOGUE NO:               3011LAW

COURSE TITLE:                      PROPERTY LAW 1

CLASS NUMBER: 11895                CAMPUS: NATHAN
CLASS NUMBER: 11896                CAMPUS: GOLD COAST


Year and Semester of Offer:                  2003, Semester 1

Program/s for which Course is designed:      All Bachelor of Laws courses

Status of Course within Program:             Core

Credit Point Value:                          20

Pre-requisites:                              2001/2201LAW Constitutional and
                                             Administrative Law
                                             2011/2211LAW Unincorporated Trusts and

Course Convenor:                             Dr. Roshan De Silva
                                             N61 Room 1.12
                                             Telephone: 3875 6473
                                             Consultation Times:
                                             Monday: 4-6
                                             Thursday: 10-12
                                             And by Appointment

Teaching Team:                               Dr. Roshan De Silva
                                             As above

                                             Mr. Allan Ardill, (Deputy Course Convenor,
                                             Offices Covenor: Gold Coast)
                                             G27 3.30 Gold Coast Campus
                                             Telephone: 5552 7073

                                             Teaching Assistant
                                             Andrea Perry-Petersen

Mode of Teaching                                    Weeks 1-13: 4 hours of large groups, 1 hour of
                                                    small groups in Weeks 2-13
                                                    Offices in Weeks 2-9

1. Learning Objectives
By the end of this course students should:-
    1. have a theoretical understanding of property as a concept in Western thought.
    2. have a doctrinal and practical understanding of the law relating to property
    3. be able to distinguish between real and personal property,
    4. understand the significance of cultural property and native title in the Australian context.

2. Brief Description
This course considers the law of property in four thematic sessions: (a) what is property?: (b) the
creation of property: (c) the transfer of property; and (d) the regulation and functioning of
property. The offices program provides an opportunity to practice some of the skills associated
with property law in practice.

3. Content
A study of the law of property is central to a legal education. It deals with the acquisition, content
and consequences of property rights in law.

Traditionally, the study of the law of property has been dominated by a study of the law of real
property, or land (as distinct, say, from personal property). In part, this can be explained
historically as an attempt to equip lawyers for the practice of conveyancing, or land transfer,
which has traditionally been an important source of fee income for lawyers in private practice. The
Griffith Property course seeks to move away from this traditional model in a number of ways, and
for a number of reasons:

    (a) This course deals with property in things other than land, such as intellectual property
        (that is, property in ideas, inventions, works of art or designs). One reason for this is that
        land is now a less economically important item of property than it once was, and has
        correspondingly less significance in legal practice, while other forms of property have
        increased in significance. This course seeks to reflect this shift in the objects of property,
        both in society and the economy and in legal practice. Another is that the justification,
        nature and limits of property rights in law are perhaps more clearly visible in these newer
        areas of property and so provide us with an opportunity to ask some questions about the
        nature of property in law. For example, what characteristics must a thing possess before it
        can become legal property? If there is no ‘thing’, but merely an idea or perhaps just thin
        air, what needs to be done before the law can ‘see’ that no-thing is ‘something’ so as to
        confer and protect rights in or over it? And what are the arguments for and against
        extending property to something that was not previously regarded as such? The process
        by which property becomes ‘thingified’, into an object, which can be possessed and
        transferred is one which is central to the Western philosophical tradition. We will also
        explore the manner in which the right to property has become emblematic of individual
        rights and of a certain view of who we are as human beings. These issues will become
        pertinent when we consider the issue of indigenous land rights and native title.

    (b) The course also looks at conceptions of land ownership that are different from those that
        apply to the quarter acre suburban block, such as native title claims by indigenous
        peoples. Apart from the intrinsic importance of native title (both for claimants and those
        whose projects may be affected by claims), this developing area of law reveals that
        property law is not (just) a specialised study of arcane rules and doctrines, but forges a
        vital link between the individual or social group on the one hand, and political and
        economic participation on the other. This form of ownership will be contrasted with the
        increasingly bureaucratised nature of privately held titles to land, and with the extensive
        crown land holdings, which are a particular feature of land ownership in Queensland.

     (c) The course also seeks to emphasise that much of property law is experienced by
         practitioners and their clients as an intricate and exacting set of forms and procedures,
         rather than a mastery of rules and doctrine. This aspect of the course will be explored
         primarily through the offices programme.

The course is divided into three thematic sections:
    (a) what is property? (week 1)
    (b) boundaries in property (weeks 2-4)
    (c) the creation of property rights (weeks 4-7)
    (d) the transfer of property rights (weeks 8-12)

The running order is as follows:
Week     Large Groups                               Small Groups                Offices
1        Intro to course and themes/Locke and       n/a                         No Offices
         the rise of civil society, Hegel and
         Marx and property
2        Literary property/digital property and     Locke, Hegel and Marx       Offices Start
         the public/private divide.                 and the idea of property.

          Biological Property and Genes
3         Novel Forms of Property – Cultural        Literary Property/Genes     Offices
          Physical boundaries in land and
          Airspace and fixtures
4         Bureaucratisation of Property             Cultural Property    and    Offices
                                                    Airspace/ Fixtures
          Personal Property
5         Possession/ownership and title            Bureaucratisation    and    Offices
                                                    Personal Property
          Adverse Possession
6         Native Title One                          Possession and adverse      Offices
          Native Title Two                          possession

7         Doctrine of Tenure                        Native Title                Offices
          Doctrine of Estates


8         Formalities in Land                       Doctrine    of   Tenure/    Offices
          Introduction to Torrens                   Estates
9         Indefeasibility                           Formalities and Intro to    Offices End
          Torrens: Introduction to exceptions to    Torrens
10        Exceptions to indefeasibility             Torrens
          Statutory exceptions to indefeasibility

11        Torrens; caveats and writs                Torrens
          Torrens; remedies
12        Co-ownership                              Torrens
          Co-ownership/Choses in Action

13       Revision                                  Overview

4. Organisation and Teaching Methods

Weeks 1-13: 4 hours of large groups,
Weeks 2-13: 1 hour of small groups
Weeks 2-9: 1 hour of offices meetings per week

Teaching methods
The large group sessions in weeks 1-13, are taught primarily in lecture mode.
Small groups will employ a combination of seminar style group discussions, problems solving and
lecture-style sessions.
Offices sessions are based upon team work

The assessment consists of the following components:

Examination                                        50%
Essay                                              30%
Offices                                            10%
Small Groups                                       10%

Total:                                             100%


There will be one end of semester, open-book, three hour exam. Students will be advised of the
format of the exam at the end of the semester.


There is an essay writing exercise (maximum 2250 words) in which students examine a topic that
will be based on the first six weeks of the course. The topic will be handed out in class in week 4.

Due Dates for Essay

Essay:                     14th May 2003, 12 noon.

University Policies and Faculty of Law Assessment Policy

The University Student and Assessment Policies are published on the University's web site at Students are directed to look under the headings of
"Policies on Admission, Enrolment and Other Student Related Matters" and "Teaching and
Learning". The Faculty of Law Assessment policy is published on the University’s web site at click on "current undergraduates", then click on "policies".
You are expected to be familiar with both of these policies.

Submission and return of written assignment

Gold Coast Students

Students based on the Gold Coast may follow the submission instructions outlined below.
Alternatively they may deposit their assignments in the appropriately labelled assignment box,
situated above the student pigeonholes in the corridor outside the Law School Office. Once the
deadline for submission has expired the box will be emptied and assignments given to your
Convenor. A Late Assignment box is available for the submission of late assignments. This
box will be emptied daily and late assignments will be date stamped on the day of collection
before being given to the Convenor. Before submitting an assignment, students should
complete, sign and attach an assignment submission form, available from the document holders
located in the hallway near the door to the Law School.

Nathan Students

Assignments are to be lodged with OC&AHS (Off-Campus and Assignment Handling Services,
formerly FLAS) by the due date and time at one of the following offices:

Gold Coast - Room 3.16 in the Information Services Building, during library hours of 9am – 5pm
with 24-hour access.
Logan - opposite the Library entrance during hours of 9am – 5pm and next to Student
Administration for 24-hour access.
Mt Gravatt- At the Student Administration Centre, with 24 hour access.
Nathan- Level O of the Willett Centre, opposite the Enternet Café, with 24hour access.
OC&AHS staff are available at all of the above offices between 9am-5pm and are able to
supply receipts to students for their assignments at the Nathan and Logan offices only.
Once the assignment has been time and date stamped, it will be delivered back to the Law School
for collection by the Course Convenor.
After the assignment has been marked, it will be returned to students at the next available class.
For assessment due at the end of teaching, assignments will be posted out to the students. The
cost of postage will be paid by the Law School.
OC&AHS use a separate database for the tracking of assignments, and are able to supply details of
assignments submitted, at the end of semester if requested, in time for Assessment Board.
Extensions and Late Submission of Assessment Items

Requests for extensions for assessment items must be directed to the Course Convenor. The
Faculty Assessment Policy sets out the process which must be followed if you need to apply for an
Students who submit assessment items late without prior approval for an extension will be
penalised under Section 7 of the Faculty of Law Assessment Policy.

Attendance at Offices

Offices will be run in weeks 2-9. In order to be eligible for a mark for Offices, students must
attend 6 out of 8 offices.

Attendance at Small Groups

You will be assessed on your small group participation throughout the semester. Small groups run
from weeks 2-13. Students will not be permitted to change small groups after week 2 unless they
have the prior permission of the teachers of both the class in which they have been enrolled and
the class to which they wish to change.

Your participation in small groups in Property Law 1 will be graded. The basis on which you will
be graded is as follows:

1. Students must attend 9 out of 12 small groups in order to be eligible for a small group mark. If a
class is cancelled because of the unavailability of the teacher, industrial action or force majeure,
students enrolled in that class will be presumed to have attended it. Subject to what is noted
below, a student will receive no credit for attending a class in which s/he is not enrolled. Students
who cannot attend their usual tutorial may, with permission of the Course Convenor, attend an
alternative class in the same week or hand in a satisfactory written answer to the small group
questions. Students who cannot attend through sickness, must supply an appropriate medical
certificate. The rules relating to medical certificates can be found on the main page of the Property
Law 1 website.
2. Small groups marks are assessed on participation, not attendance. Hence a student could attend
for the entire semester, but receive no, or a minimal grade, due to lack of participation. In
determining participation, we will take into account:
 evidence of preparation and completion of prescribed reading; intelligent and creative
     responses to questions posed by small group teacher;
 asking questions suggesting comprehension of basic material and associated legal and policy
 participation in class discussions

Non-attendance of Compulsory Classes (Small Groups and Offices)

If you are unable to attend a class with a compulsory attendance requirement for medical reasons,
you are required to complete a copy of the pro forma at the back of this study guide, together with
a copy of a medical certificate in the format prescribed by the University. Students at the Nathan
campus are required to take the completed form and medical certificate to Ms Janine Brown for
scrutiny and recording. Gold Coast students are required to take the completed form and medical
certificate to Sue Wilkins for scrutiny and recording.
Please note the following:
1.      Medical certificates not in the prescribed University form will not be accepted. The
        certificate can be found at
2.      To be eligible to excuse non-attendance at small groups or offices, the Medical
        Practitioner must complete Section B of the certificate and indicate that the student’s
        medical condition would affect either Lectures or Practical Sessions in a manner either
        moderate or severe.
3.      Students must complete a separate copy of this form for any other courses offered by the
        law school in which they have missed compulsory classes.
4.      The submission of this form does not have any effect in relation to extensions for
        assignments or other assessment items. See above for the procedure for extensions.

5. Skills Development
A number of skills will be developed during the assessment for this course.

Skill Area                  Assessment Item:           Assessment Item:           Assessment Item:
                            Essay                      Small Group                Offices
Ethics and Social Justice   ***                        ***
Teamwork                                               ***                        ***
Workplace Management                                                              ***
Legal Problem Solving       ***                        ***                        ***
Written Communication       ***                                                   ***
Oral Communication                                     ***                        ***

The Faculty’s skills page which contains information for students about a range of relevant
skills is at

6. Text and Supporting Materials

This year the set text is:
McCrimmon, Wallace, MacDonald and Stephenson, Real Property Law in Queensland (1st ed,
1998, LBC)

Other useful texts which you might want to consult, but do not need to purchase, include:
Chambers, R., Introduction to Property Law in Australia, LBC, (1st ed, LBC, 2001);
Bradbrook, MacCallum and Moore, Australian Real Property Law (3nd ed, LBC, 2002);
Peter Butt, Land Law (3rd ed LBC, 1996).


You will require the following pieces of legislation. These can be purchased from GoPrint in
You must acquire these by week 3, or at least organise to have access to a copy. We will not put
up overheads in class with relevant sections on them. In lecturing, we will assume that you have
access to these acts.
Property Law Act 1974 (Qld)
Land Title Act 1994 (Qld)


Course materials (the Set Text and the Property One Reading Materials) to be purchased from the
University Bookshop.

All inquiries and requests of a general nature about the course should be made to the Course
Convenor and the Deputy Course Convenor on the Gold Coast.


Nathan Students - You are expected to check regularly the noticeboards in the Law Building (on
levels 1 and 0), for notices relating to the Law School and the administration of this course.
Course Information can also be found on the Blackboard site.

Gold Coast Students - You are expected to check the noticeboards in the Law Faculty, level 3,
G27 (Business 2 Building) for notices relating to the Law School and the administration of this
course. Course Information can also be found on the Blackboard site.

                                 Griffith University Law School
                                Absence from Small Group/Office

Student Name:

Student Number:


Date medical condition began:

Date medical condition ended:

Did you miss one or more Small Groups in this course? [Tick]                       Yes       No

          If yes, state the week numbers you missed:

Did you miss one or more Offices in this course? [Tick]                            Yes       No

          If yes, state the week numbers you missed:

Reason for absence:

I certify that I have attached a medical certificate in the form required, that I did suffer
from the medical condition described in the medical certificate, and that it did prevent me
from attending classes. I certify that I will provide all necessary assistance to Griffith
University and its officers for the corroboration of the medical condition referred to.
Student Signature:


5.        Medical certificates not in the prescribed University form will not be accepted.

6.        To be eligible to excuse non-attendance at small groups or offices, the Medical
          Practitioner must complete Section B of the certificate and indicate that the student’s
          medical condition would affect either Lectures or Practical Sessions in a manner either
          moderate or severe.
7.        Students must complete one copy of this form for each course offered by the law school
          in which they have missed classes in which attendance is required within three working
          days of the end of the medical condition certified.
                         MEDICAL PRACTITIONER.

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