Course Title: Property law

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2012

Course Code: LAW5185

Course Title: Property law

School: 650T TAFE Business

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6106 - Advanced Diploma of Legal Practice

Course Contact : Doug Gourlay

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 5944

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Joanne Mackay, Course co-ordinator

Martina Popa, sessional teacher part time students,

Nominal Hours: 51

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

Pre-requisites:  VU20111 Legal Process

Course Description

The purpose of this module is to provide detailed knowledge of property law as might be relevant to a person working in a legal office, conveyancing office, financial institution or lending mortgage department, government department, or other allied area requiring thorough knowledge of Property Law concepts and applications, including analysis of estates and interests, mortgages, easements, and covenants, tenancies, and adverse possession.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VU20109 Property law

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course you will be able to:

Learning Outcome 1 - Determine and define the concept of property and the basis of land holding and transfer.
Assessment criteria
1.1 Define the meaning of property, examine and analyse the following:
• the feudal origin of concepts of land law
• the doctrine of tenure
• the doctrine of estates
• personal property
• real property
• fixtures and chattels
1.2 Define the term ‘convey’ and outline the features in the context of property law and conveyancing procedures.
1.3 Apply the concept ’convey’ to a relevant case study and examine the relevant evidence of transfer and conveyance.
1.4 Apply the tests to distinguish, fixtures and chattels (goods) to various case studies and analyse relevant case law.

Learning Outcome 2 - Analyse the various holdings in real estate and assess the implications for the holder of any of the various interests.
Assessment criteria
2.1 Outline the concept of the holding of land in fee simple. .
2.2 Examine the nature of estates other than a fee simple vested in possession.
2.3 Examine the nature of equitable estates and interests.
2.4 Analyse and differentiate between joint tenancy and tenancy in common.
2.5 Evaluate the effect of the rules of co-ownership by application of case studies, and relate the findings to various fact situations.

Learning Outcome 3 - Analyse and assess the various methods by which a person may prove that they possess a particular interest in land.
Assessment criteria
3.1 Examine the nature and proof of a common law title.
3.2 Outline the concept of Torrens title holding.
3.3 Examine the reasons for title investigation analysis.
3.4 Analyse different title examples in relation to 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3.

Learning Outcome 4 - Determine and assess the main features of the Torrens title system in relation to the transfer and proof of ownership of an interest in land.
Assessment criteria
4.1 Trace the development and provisions of the Transfer of Land Act, and analyse the following features:
• historical background to the Torrens system
• the aims and general features of the system
• the compensation scheme
• the registry of Land Victoria
• how land comes under the operation of the scheme including conversion of common law holdings
• the single document as proof of title
• the centrality of registration to the scheme
• distinction between title examples and styles
4.2 Outline the registration of interests other than freehold. Examine the relevant provisions of The Transfer of Land Act with reference to mortgages, caveats, easements, restrictive covenants and the process of registration.
4.3 Analyse the legislative provisions and case law in relation to:
• the conclusiveness of the register
• the estate of the registered proprietor being paramount and the exceptions
• the concept of indefeasibility and the controversy over whether it is immediate or deferred
• the meaning of "fraud" in the context of indefeasibility and its effect.
• in personam rights
• case example analysis and comparison
4.4 Specify the relevant procedures at the registry of Land Victoria.

Learning Outcome 5 - Examine the nature of a possessory title.
Assessment criteria
5.1 Analyse the meaning of adverse possession.
5.2 Examine the relevant provisions of Limitation of Actions Act.
5.3 Assess the procedures for obtaining a Certificate of Title based on adverse possession with reference to the Transfer of Land Act provisions, the Land Victoria guidelines and the analysis of case examples.

Learning Outcome 6 - Examine the nature of estates which are less than freehold and which may encumber freehold estates.
Assessment criteria
6.1 Examine the aspects of tenancies.
6.2 Examine the main provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act.
6.3 Assess the operation of the Retail Leases Act.

Learning Outcome 7 - Establish the nature and the function of a mortgage at common law and within the operation of the Transfer of Land.
Assessment criteria
7.1 Determine the nature of a mortgage.
7.2 Analyse the nature of a mortgage under the common law, and specify the following features:
• the mortgage as a conveyance
• the equity of redemption and the rights of mortgagor
• the concepts of postponing and ‘clogging’ the equity of redemption
7.3 Examine the nature of a mortgage under the Transfer of Land Act.

Learning Outcome 8 - Analyse and assess the basic nature and function of an easement and covenant.
Assessment criteria
8.1 Specify the essential elements, the nature and the function of an easement.
8.2 Determine and assess the basic nature and function of a restrictive covenant.
8.3 Analyse the features of an easement and covenant in relation to:
• a case study
• various case examples
• title examples

Details of Learning Activities

A range of learning activities are planned for this course including self-paced and collaborative classroom based activities.
The self-paced activities will be delivered though various technology platforms and may include reflective journals, quizzes and interactive sessions.
The collaborative classroom based activities will include group discussion, group problem solving activities and opportunities to practise skills in a simulated/real workplace environment.

Students are expected to participate and contribute in all scheduled learning activities: attend class, download and pre-read class outlines and set reading, participate in class discussion, work on class exercises, research cases and legislation, undertake all set assessments which may include case study analysis, written short answers or a multiple choice test or, a final single written test and/or an assignment.

Students will study property law theory in class sessions and through prescribed exercises and assessment work. These concepts will also be explored through the investigation of appropriate real world and simulated environments.

Teaching Schedule



1feb 8 Introduction to Property Law Concepts,  Interests in land
2feb 15 Fixtures and chattels                                  Allocate individual titles for presentations
3feb 22 Co - ownership
4feb 29 Old Law and Torrens systems                                                                                                               
5mar 7 Torrens system                                                                                                                    
6mar 14 Hand in presentation report  and present in class                    Title Presentations 20%
7mar 21 Adverse possession
8mar 28 Mortgages

apr 4

9.2Easter break Apr 5-11 inclusiveno class Apr 11
10apr 18                                                                                                              In class open book Test 30%
11apr 25 Anzac Day holiday  - self directed learning, no class
12may 2Leases and Tenancies
13may 9Leases and Tenancies
14may 16Easements and covenants
15may 23Easements and covenants, Revision
16may 30                                                                                  Final test open book on whole semester 50%
17 june 6Resits, resubmissions if required.                                                                         

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

There is no prescribed text but many relevant references listed below. Students will be refered to various references for each topic throughout the semester via the Blackboard site for this course.


The RMIT library has online CCH and Voumard references listed below. Other TEXTS - refer to latest editions of:

Law Dictionary - various

Bradbrook, MacCallum, Moore Australia Real Property Law Law Book Co.

Butt, P. Land Law Law Book Co.

Chambers, An Introduction to Property Law in Australia, Law Book Co. Neave M.A, Rossiter C.J, Stone M.A., Sackville and Neave Property Law. Butterworths

Property Law Learner’s Resource, Australian Training Products

Tooher, J and Dwyer, B, Introduction to Property Law, Butterworths.

Dept of Sustainability and Environment The Land Registry Lodging Book: A guide to dealings at Land Victoria, free online
Victorian Conveyancing Law and Practice CCH online through library

Whalan ,The Torrens System in Australia, Law Book Co.

Wikrama, Voumard’s The Sale of Land, LBC. 

LEGISLATION (all available online)

Conveyancers Act 2006

Limitation of Actions Act 1958

Property Law Act 1958

Residential Tenancies Act 1997

Retail Leases Act 2003

Transfer of Land Act 1958

Other Resources

Online resources through library subscriptions, caselaw and legislation sites as detailed in topic outlines on Blackboard.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment methods have been designed to measure achievement of the requirements in a flexible manner over a range of assessment tasks and may include:

• case study analysis
• short answers questions
• written assignments/reports
• tests/examination
• oral presentations
• projects

Students are advised that they are likely to be asked to personally demonstrate their assessment work to their teacher to ensure that the relevant module standards are being met.

Assessment Tasks

Students are required to successfully complete the threeprescribed assessment tasks in this unit.

Task 1 : The 20% title search activity will assist students to gain research and comprehension skills by examining the title and gaining an overview of the topic areas and terminology in property law. In addition students will be expected to present their results to the class and engage in class discussion about the particular certificate of title.

Task 2: The 30% class test will be held in class under open book conditions. Students will revise all the underpinning knowledge of property law in weeks 1-7 (or the end of topic on Adverse possession) and answer a variety of questions of different styles, such as multiple choice, true/false, short answer and problem questions.

Task 3: The final 50% test will be held under open book conditions and examine all the material covered in the semester, with emphasis on content covered in weeks 8-14 (or the end of the topic on easements and covenants) in problem style questions with some multiple choice and short answer. Students will be expected to analyse and apply legal rules to the case studies such as problems found in conveyancing practice.

Submission Requirements

Assessment tasks need to be submitted via Blackboard unless student is attending an in class test.

Students should note the following RMIT statement:

• Ensure that you submit assessments on or before the due date. If your performance in the assessment is affected by unexpected circumstances, you should consider applying for Special Consideration. Information on the process and application forms is available at;ID=ls0ydfokry9rz website.
• Always retain a copy of your assessment tasks. (hard copy and soft copy)
• When you submit work for assessment at RMIT University you need to use a cover sheet that includes a declaration and statement of authorship. You must complete, sign and submit a cover sheet with all work you submit for assessment, whether individual or group work. On the cover sheet you declare that the work you are presenting for assessment is your own work. An assignment cover sheet for submission of work for assessment is available on blackboard.
• Each page of your assessment should include footer with your name, student number, the title of the assessment, unit code and title and page numbers. For example, Joanne Smith, 324567, Task 2, LAW 5185 Property Law, Page 1 of 10.

Marking Guide: 

To pass this course students must satisfactorily complete all assessments and have a total mark of not less than 50%. Assessment will be graded according to the following mark table:
0-49        Fail                            NN
50-59      Pass                         PA
60-69      Credit                       CR
70-79      Distinction               DI
80-100    High Distinction     HD

Assessment Matrix

 assignment/  presentation 20%mid semester test 30%final test 50%
concept of property and title x x x
interests in land x x x
fixtures  and chattels  x x
co ownership x x x
old law title  x x
torrens title x x x
adverse possession x  x
mortgages x  x
leases and tenancies x  x
easements and covenants  x  x

Course Overview: Access Course Overview