Module Identifier LA36130  
Module Title LAND LAW  
Academic Year 2001/2002  
Co-ordinator Dr Paul Street  
Semester Semester 2 (Taught over 2 semesters)  
Other staff Professor Lynda Warren  
Pre-Requisite LA10110 or LA30110 or LA15710 and LA15830 or LA35830  
Course delivery Seminar   10 Hours Five one hour seminars each semester  
  Lecture   48 Hours Three one hour lectures per week over both semesters  
Assessment Essay   Assessed essay of 2000 words required in Week 3 of Semester 2   33%  
  Exam   2 Hours Unmarked copies of approved statutes may be taken into the Land Law examination.   66%  
  Resit assessment   By retaking the failed element (ie written assignment or examination or both, as applicable)    
Professional Exemptions Required for Professional Purposes  
Further details  

Module description

The title of this module, `Land Law,? suggests a subject with neat, well-delineated and easily defined boundaries. However, as with most things in this world the reality is rather more complex. Land law not only encompass other legal `subjects?, for example family law, housing law, environmental law, and the law of equity and trusts, but is also the product of complex social, political and economic relationships.   

The module focuses on the legal issues associated with land as both a commodity and a social resource. It is, as the titles of some textbooks suggest, a subject concerned with property and property relations. While land is vital to human existence, property relations form a fundamental role in shaping and defining our societies. Different concepts of property have developed in specific spatial and temporal contexts. These relationships between individuals, objects and the state are both dynamic and fluid. One of the aims of this module therefore, is to examine these changing relationships, simultaneously locating ideas about property and land law in their broader social, historical, economic and political contexts.

The Land Law module counts for 30 credits and will be taught by lectures and seminar classes. The module will be taught by 48 lectures and ten seminars spread across two semesters. Because there are in total nearly 70 available lecture slots during this period, some weeks there will only be two lectures while in others there will be three. You are therefore advised to keep an eye on the notice board each week for information regarding the course.

Aims of the module

This module aims to introduce students to a wide range of legal and equitable rules and principles that exist within land law and property relations, one of the core subjects of legal education. At the same time the module sets out to develop a critical perspective on this knowledge through the continued consideration of the complex social, economic and political context in which these rules and principles exist. Although lectures and the associated readings are organised and structured so as to provide a critical commentary on a number of issues relating to land law, students are encouraged to actively participate in their own learning development. In pursuit of this goal, seminars and written assessments are organised in such a way as to develop critical and analytical skills, independent research techniques, oral, written and electronic communication skills.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module students should   

? have gained a comprehensive body of knowledge concerning the legal relationships that relate to land and land transactions;
? be able to articulate the relationships between the conceptual frameworks that underpin land law and the resulting statute and case law;
? be able to demonstrate their ability to critically analyse the substance, structures and application of land law;
? be able to situate their knowledge of the legal and equitable rules and principles of land law within a wider social theoretical and jurisprudential context;
? be able to situate land law applicable to England and Wales within its appropriate historical, social, economic and political context and, where relevant, appreciate comparative and international perspectives on land law and property relationships;
? be able to assess some of the current challenges that face land law, based on their knowledge of existing research and literature;
? have undertaken an appropriate degree of sustained and systematic research that identifies concerns arising from a number of topics, or line of enquiries in relation to land law;
? have developed the skills necessary to carry out independent research, using a variety of sources (e.g. case-law, statutes, newspapers, journals and electronic information sources);
? developed coherence and clarity in written and oral presentations that allows them to articulate and more effectively communicate to others, both the extent of the knowledge they have acquired, and their critically evaluative understanding of that knowledge.


The following is intended as an indicative guide, both the content and timetable may be changed as the module progresses.

For assessment criteria and deadlines in relation to written work see the separate notices in the law department.

Section A: Introduction to the course   
Lectures: Semester 1 - Weeks 1-4
Seminar: Semester 1 - Week 4

Historical Introduction

The nature of land
Legal and equitable Interests
Doctrine of tenure
Doctrine of estates

Introduction to 1925 Property Legislation

Policy objectives
Legal estates and interests after 1925
Equitable estates and interests after 1925
The Land Charges system
The Land Registration system

Section B: Land Transactions
Lectures: Semester 1 - Weeks 5-9
Seminars: Semester 1 - Weeks 6, 8, 10

Reading Week ? Week 7


Formal creation of rights in land
Problems associated with pre-contract agreements
Contracts and Completion

The consequences of 3rd party legal and equitable interests

The protection of interests in unregistered land
The protection of interests in registered land

Section C: Financing Land Transactions - Mortgages
Lectures: Semester 1 - Weeks 10-11
Seminars: Semester 1 - Weeks 12

Financing Owner Occupation

The rise of owner occupation; building societies and banks
The creation of mortgages, formalities terms and conditions
The legal consequences of Mortgages for both the mortgagor and mortgagee
The housing market, the late 80?s, negative equity and repossession
The social consequences of mortgage repossession

Section D: What rights go with land?
Lectures: Semester 2 - Weeks 1-3
Seminar: Semester 2 - Week 3

Introduction to Comparative Land Rights

Cultural context of property relationships
Indigenous land rights in Australia and New Zealand
Land tenure and reform in Africa

Trespass Revisited
Nuisance Revisited

Adverse Possession

Section E: Leases, Licences and Proprietary Estoppel
Lectures: Semester 2 - Weeks 4-5
Seminar: Semester 2 - Week 5

Non-owner occupation and the rented sector
The creation of leases
Terms and conditions
Protection of tenancies
Leasehold Reform
Proprietary Estoppel

Section F: Homesharers and Trusts
Lectures: Semester 2 - Weeks 6-7
Seminar: Semester 2 - Week 7

Informal creation of Rights in Land
History of the Trust
People and Property
Trusts of Land
Resulting and Constructive trusts
Statutory Rights of Occupation

Section G: Easements
Lectures: Semester 2 - Week 8
Seminar: Semester 2 - Week 9

The requirements for a valid easement
The creation of easements
The role of easements in facilitating land use

Section F: Covenants
Lectures: Semester 2 - Week 10
Seminar: Semester 2 - Week 11

Private and public law techniques for controlling land use
Restrictive Covenants
Passing of Benefit and Burden of Freehold Covenants
Building Schemes

Books and Readings

There is no single recommended textbook for this module. The following, however, is a representative list of reasonable texts. None of them deal satisfactorily with all the topics that we shall cover and whichever text you decide to buy, you should, in addition, consult some of the other books on the list, together with any additional further reading that you may have been given. Within the lectures, in your reading for seminars and within the textbooks, you will be referred to a number of cases, statutes and journal articles. There is no substitute for reading these; in addition, the increased electronic provision of cases and journals within the university means that there is now no excuse for not reading these.

Many decisions turn on the specific wording of statutes or previous cases. The synopsis provided by many text books will, in many cases, still leave you in the dark as to why a particular decision was decided one way or another. Reading cases and statutes is therefore an important aspect of developing your critical and analytical skills. Learning law is not just about being able to regurgitate the outcome of particular decisions, but it is about developing opinions; learning to analyse and criticise decisions where they have departed not only from your conception of legal orthodoxy, but also from social mores and values which you hold. In relation to this, reading non-legal materials, books, newspapers, magazines and journals from other disciplines are important.

Murphy, W.T. & Roberts, S. (1998) Understanding Property Law, 3rd ed. (London: Fontana)

Smith, R.J. (2000) Property Law 2nd ed. (London: Longman)
Gray, K. and Gray, S. (2000) Elements of Land Law 3nd ed. (London: Butterworths)
Burn, E.H. (2000) Cheshire & Burn: Modern Law of Real Property, 16th ed. (London: Butterworths)
Oakley, AJ (2001) Megarry's Manual of the Law of Real Property, 8th ed. (London: Sweet & Maxwell)
Goo, S.H. (1997) Sourcebook on Land Law 2nd ed. (London: Cavendish)

Burn, E.H. (1998) Maudsley and Burn?s Land Law - Cases and Materials, 7th ed. (London: Butterworths)
Sweet & Maxwell?s Property Statutes,

Blackstones? Statutes on Property Law,

Butterworths? Student Statute Series
Some Useful Web Sites
Bank of England -
Building Societies Association -
Council of Mortgage Lenders -
Department of Transport, the Environment and the Regions ?
Environment Agency -
Housing Corporation -
Joseph Rowntree Foundation -
Land Registry -
Law Commission -
Shelter -

Reading Lists

See Syllabus for details of further reading.