Introduction to Property Law - LAWS5316

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2023 to 2024
Spring Term 5 15 (7.5) Matt Howard checkmark-circle


Following on from 'Introduction to Contract and Tort', 'Introduction to Property Law' continues the study of private law by introducing students to property law. 'Property' is something we tend to presume we know about, and rarely examine as an idea or practice closely. Most often we use it to connote an object or 'thing', and presume that it has something to do with ‘ownership’ of that object; we use expressions such as, 'This is mine,' and often do not examine the detail of what that really means.

This module begins to unpack and examine the ideas and practices of property more closely, looking in particular at land to ask questions such as: what do we mean by ‘ownership’? What happens when a number of competing ‘ownership claims’ in one object exist? What are the limits of 'ownership'? Does 'ownership' entail social obligation?

When preparing for the module it will be useful to think about (and collect material on) current debates over contested ownership (or use) of property and resources, especially in relation to land.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 30
Private study hours: 120
Total study hours: 150


This module is ONLY available to students on the Law LLB (Senior Status) programme.

Method of assessment

Independent research project essay 2000 words (50%)
Exam 2 hours (50%)

Reassessment methods

Indicative reading

Davies M., (2007), Property: Meanings, Histories, Theories, London: Glasshouse
Garton J. (2015), Moffat's Trusts Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 6th ed., 2015)
Gordon R. , (1996) 'Paradoxical Property' from J. Brewer and S. Staves, Early Modern Conceptions of Property, London: Routledge
Gray K. and Gray S.F. (2011), Land Law, (7th ed.), Oxford; Oxford University Press
Hudson A. (2015), Understanding Equity & Trusts (5th ed.), Oxford: Routledge
Mossman M.J. and Flanagan W. ,(2004), Property Law Cases and Commentaries (2nd ed.), Toronto: Emond Montgomery Publications
Murphy T., Roberts S. Flessas T., (2004) Understanding Property Law, London: Sweet and Maxwell

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of the concepts, principles and rules of a range of property law topics.
2. Identify and explain property-related issues and critically examine the terms within which those issues have been set.
3. Evaluate and critique the foundational components carried within the idea of 'property'.
4. Appreciate the historical, cultural, political and economic contexts relevant to the discussion of 'property', and situate and critically discuss these elements through an examination of specific property law issues and case material.

The intended generic learning outcomes
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1. Read cases and statutory materials and understand their relevance to legal dilemmas.
2. Summarise and critically comment upon complex material.
3. Critically analyse issues of moderate complexity.
4. Write critical evaluations of material (including court judgments), demonstrating appropriate use of authority and deployment of evidence in the building of argument.
5. Carry out independent research into discrete topics of property law.
6. Present material with proper citations and use of references


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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