The University of Southampton

LAWS2018 Land Law

Module Overview

Land law investigates the civil law rules affecting the ownership and use of land. It explains the principles of registration of ownership, the management of land through trusts of land, the concepts of property rights and priority, the use of land as security and the relationship between neighbouring land owners. Security of tenure is touched upon but not explained in detail. It does not touch on planning, compulsory purchase or other public law issues. The course builds on first year core topics, especially contract law, and it interrelates to Equity and Trusts alongside which it is taught. Land law is one of the most challenging legal disciplines and is not suitable for students until they have mastered the core subjects covered in LLB Year 1. Understanding of the subject needs to be developed over a full academic year, preferably without an Inter-semester gap.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To provide you with a sound knowledge of Land Law and a critical understanding of the complex issues it raises. The module will: • give you the opportunity to explore and understand fundamental principles of property law through the operation of those principles to the law regulating proprietary estates and interests in land. • provide you with exposure to legal principles derived from a variety of legal instruments including primary materials found in reported cases and statutes and in secondary materials of leading academic discourse. • enable you to develop their skills of legal analysis and problem solving in Land Law.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The distinction between proprietary and personal interests and its relevance to land;
  • Freehold and leasehold estates and legal and equitable interests in land;
  • The impact of the Human Rights Act 1998 upon proprietary interests;
  • Trusts of land;
  • Co-ownership of land including the holding, management and settlement of disputes relating to co-owned land;
  • Legal and equitable formalities for the creation and disposition of estates and interests in land;
  • Priority of interests in registered and unregistered land;
  • Commercial interests including mortgages, easements and covenants.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Identify and locate primary and secondary (including electronic) legal sources relevant to land law;
  • Analyse and assess legal materials by way of statutory interpretation, case analysis and review of secondary materials to identify, comprehend and evaluate fundamental legal principles and their impact upon contemporary issues;
  • From a given factual scenario: i. Identify the relevant legal facts and legal issues raised; ii. Explain the law applicable to the identified legal issues; iii. Apply the relevant law to the given facts; iv. Examine uncertainties in the law and evaluate alternative approaches; v. Provide adequate support by reference to legal authority.
  • Produce effectively reasoned and structured responses to a given statement or proposition, which are adequately supported by reference to legal authority;
  • Communicate in writing an understanding of land law, its application to the solution of legal problems and the formulation of effective argument with clear and accurate use of language and legal terminology.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Analyse, interpret and evaluate complex material;
  • Effectively apply knowledge to solve practical problems;
  • Formulate an effectively reasoned and structured argument;
  • Communicate and present written arguments supported by appropriate evidence.


Module Content The module is structured and divided into the following sections which also indicate the content of each section. I Introduction – What is Land Law About? • Property and personal rights; • Land as Property; • The concept of priority. II Ownership • Freehold and leasehold estates • Legal and equitable interests; • Registration of Land • Protection of property through fundamental rights III Trusts of Land and Co-ownership • Trusts of land; • Severance of joint tenancies; • Trust Management and disputes between co-owners; • Trusts of land and disputes with third parties; • Overreaching. IV Formality • Legal formalities for the sale and disposition of interest in land; • Adverse possession; • Equitable doctrines affecting the creation and disposition of interests in land. V Priority • The Priority Triangle; • Registered Land; • Unregistered Land; VI Commercial Interests • Mortgages; • Easements; • Covenants.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • Lectures to provide you with knowledge and information within a structured context. • Small group tutorial work focused on developing your problem solving skills and your ability to formulate a reasoned argument. • You will need to prepare in advance for the tutorials and your active participation is expected. Learning activities include: • Directed reading assisted by reading lists and availability of materials on Blackboar. • Accessing electronic resources in the form of legislation, journals and case materials; • Reviewing and evaluating complex material. • Tackling and solving factual legal problems. • Formulating and presenting in oral and written form reasoned and structured arguments through formative tutorial activities and assessment. Attendance at Lectures will develop: • Knowledge of the substantive principles and rules of Land Law. • Appreciation of constructive criticism of the law. Preparation for Tutorials will develop: • Knowledge of the substantive principles and rules of Land Law. • Ability to manage and access diverse range of sources of law, especially statutory material and case law, many on-line. • Ability to critically evaluate those sources and participate constructively in oral discussion concerning them. • Ability to structure and express thoughts in logically coherent way. • Ability to apply those materials to problem solving exercises; time management and research skills.

Independent Study236
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

McFarlane Hopkins and Nield (2017). Land Law - Core Text. 

Blackstone's Property Statutes. 

McFarlane, Hopkins and Nield (2016). Land Law – Text, Cases and Materials. 





MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework  (2000 words) 20%
Examination  (3.5 hours) 80%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (3.5 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (3.5 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the core/recommended text as appropriate.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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