LAWGENRL 444 : Contemporary Issues in Land Law


2021 Semester One (1213) (10 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Study of selected contemporary issues in real property. Topics may include: legal theory of real property; the constitution and takings of private property; state regulation of private property; the law of public recreational access, particularly to the waterfront; indigenous challenges to Crown ownership and governance of land, including the beds of water bodies and national parks; the aims of the Torrens system; and implications of reform of the Land Transfer Act 1952, in particular relating to land covenants, fraud and exceptions to indefeasibility.

Course Overview

In this course, which is structured in two modules, we will discuss various interesting contemporary issues in land law.

In the first module, we will discuss the tension between public and private rights in land, and the future of the land transfer system. Topics may include:
  • The general public's rights to access private property,
  • The Queen’s Chain,
  • The compulsory acquisition of private property,
  • Tenure review,
  • The register and the future of electronic conveyancing (including automation and blockchain), and
  • “Indefeasibility”.
In the second module, we will discuss issues arising in relation to particular estates and interests in land. Topics may include:
  • Encumbrances,
  • Covenants in gross,
  • Profits à prendre,
  • Licences,
  • Property boundaries: fences and trees,
  • Māori land issues: landlocked land, rating and financing,
  • Mortgagor verification, and
  • The future of the doctrine against clogs.
The course is focused on preparing students to write a final essay which makes a scholarly and useful contribution to the property law literature.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: LAW 301

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Laws

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Explain contemporary issues in land law (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and 6.1)
  2. Critically examine land law in the social context in which it operates (Capability 1.1, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 4.1, 6.1, 6.2 and 6.3)
  3. Demonstrate intellectual curiosity by making sense of developing concepts and topics, distilling themes and formulating probing questions (Capability 1.1, 1.3, 2.1, 2.3, 3.1, 3.3, 4.1, 5.2, 6.2 and 6.3)
  4. Help, challenge and influence other students in positive, constructive and collaborative ways. (Capability 3.3, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 5.1, 5.2 and 6.2)
  5. Demonstrate effective written communication and referencing skills (Capability 1.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2 and 5.1)
  6. Demonstrate a critical appreciation of contemporary issues in land law by making a scholarly and useful contribution to the property law literature (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, 6.1, 6.2 and 6.3)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
1 x Learning Resource 10% Individual Coursework
2 x Essay Plans 10% Individual Coursework
2 x Peer Reviews 10% Individual Coursework
1 x Short Test 10% Individual Test
1 x Final Essay 60% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6
1 x Learning Resource
2 x Essay Plans
2 x Peer Reviews
1 x Short Test
1 x Final Essay
Learning Resource (10%)
Students will design a 10-question quiz on an article or case. The quizzes will be anonymised and uploaded to Canvas for other students to access. The learning resource will be due in week 4.

Essay Plan & Peer Review 1 (10%)
Students will write a 750 word essay plan (introduction, basic structure and short reference list) for a potential essay related to a topic discussed in the first module (5%) and peer review another student’s essay plan (5%). The essay plan and peer review will be due in week 6.

Short Test (10%)
Students will answer a short test / quiz on key concepts discussed in lectures. The short test will be in week 8.

Essay Plan & Peer Review 2 (10%)
Students will write a 750 word essay plan (introduction, basic structure and short reference list) for a potential essay related to a topic discussed in the second module (5%) and peer review another student’s essay plan (5%). The essay plan and peer review will be due in week 10.

Final Essay (60%)
Students will develop one of their two essay plans into a 4,000 word essay that makes a scholarly and useful contribution to the property law literature. The essay will be due in week 12. Note: this essay satisfies the requirements for “a sustained piece of legal writing of at least 4,000 words in connection with an elective course” for the purposes of LAW 498 Advanced Legal Research, Writing and Communication. 

Workload Expectations

This is a standard 10-point course. There will be around 24 hours of lectures in this course. As a general guide, you should expect a workload of three hours outside of the classroom for each hour spent in class. The guideline for the total workload for this course is 100 hours.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at lectures, however lectures will be available as recordings. The course may include optional live online events including group discussions. Attendance on campus is not required for any of the assessments. The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Learning resources will be available on Canvas. 

There is no prescribed text. Students might find it useful to have access to: David Grinlinton and Rod Thomas (eds) Land Registration and Title Security in the Digital Age: New Horizons for Torrens (Routledge, New York, 2020).

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course director, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a Student Academic and Support Adviser as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 19/11/2020 07:47 p.m.