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School of Law

Law of property

Course Code:
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 2
Taught in:
Full Year

LLB Year 2; regulations allow this unit to be taken in Year 3, but in practice all LLB students take it in Year 2, and are strongly advised to do so

BA Year 2 onwards; whether or not a BA student should take this course depends on your particular circumstances, always ask for advice

Property Law is often caricatured as 'dull and difficult' but it is neither. The idea of property is fundamental to what it is to be human, which is why one of the first words a baby learns is the assertion of ownership encapsulated in the grunted exclamation  'mine!'. In the tradition of the great American universities, the property course at SOAS attempts to explore the concept by disabusing you of your preconceptions and asking you to question why we have property in the first place. This is the norm in many US law schools  - which is why, in John Grisham's Pelican Brief, comic reference is made to the fact that, all US law students do in their first year is sit round arguing about property rights - but rarely occurs under the more conservative English approach to legal education. The course therefore goes beyond the technical private law rules of real property (ie land) to cover the philosophical, economic and sociological aspects of the concept both in western society and beyond, not only in its private law form but also in the guise of communal and state property. This course consequently exercises all aspects of your brain, requiring students to master both dry technical detail and a broad sweep of ideas and arguments - we guarantee you will not have studied anything like it before - and to help you meet the challenge there is a weekly two hour Socratic seminar (for which you are expected to prepare and contribute) and a two hour smaller group session in which YOU take the lead. The set text is Clarke & Kohler's Property Law (Cambridge University Press) which is available via the SOAS bookshop.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Outline land law in the United Kingdom
  2. Describe the classification of estates and trusts of lands
  3. Assess the system of conveyancing, both registered and unregistered

Method of assessment

Assessment weighting: 30% coursework (one 3000 word essay) 70% unseen examination.