The University of Southampton

LAWS2040 Property Law 1: Land Law

Module Overview

Property Law 1: Land Law investigates the private law rules affecting the ownership and use of land. It explains the principles governing the nature of property ownership and property rights, their formal and informal acquisition and priority incorporating the registration of land title and property rights, the co-ownership and management of land through trusts, the use of land as security and the relationship between neighbouring land owners.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The module builds on Part 1 core topics, especially those covering obligations law, and it interrelates with the Part 2, Semester 2 module Property Law 3: Trusts of Land. The module does not examine public law rules relating to land, for instance planning or compulsory purchase.

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;
  • Trusts of Land with particular reference to co-ownership of the family home including the holding and management of co-owned land;
  • legal and equitable formalities for the creation and disposition of estates and interests in land;
  • priority of interests in registered 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 demonstrating an appreciation of academic integrity.


Module Content The module is divided into the following sections which also contain an indicative list of topics. 1 Introduction – What is Land Law About? • Property and personal rights; • Land as Property; • The concept of priority. 2 Ownership • Freehold and leasehold estates; • Legal and equitable interests; • Registration of Land; • Protection of property through fundamental rights. 3. Co-ownership • Trusts of land & the structure of co-ownership; • Joint tenancies and tenancies in common; • Severance of joint tenancies; • Managing trusts of land & resolving disputes. 4 Formality – acquisition and disposal of interests in land • Legal formalities for the sale and disposition of interest in land; • Express and the common intention constructive trusts; • Estoppel; • Adverse possession. 5 Priority • The Priority Triangle; • Registered Land; • Overreaching. 6 Commercial Interests • Mortgages; • Easements; • Covenants.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • Lectures to provide you with knowledge, information and critique of land law within a structured context; • Pre-prepared tutorial work focused on developing your problem solving skills. Learning activities include: • Directed reading assisted by reading lists; • Accessing electronic resources in the form of legislation, journals and case materials; • Reviewing and critically evaluating complex material; • Tackling and solving factual legal problems; • Constructive participation in group discussions and exercises; • Managing tasks within a given timeframe.

Preparation for scheduled sessions120
Completion of assessment task20
Follow-up work60
Wider reading or practice36
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

McFarlane, Hopkins and Nield. Land Law: Text, Cases and Materials. 

Blackstone. Property Statutes. 





MethodPercentage contribution
Closed book Examination  (3.5 hours) 70%
Essay  (2500 words) 30%


MethodPercentage contribution
Closed book Examination  (3.5 hours) 70%
Essay  (2500 words) 30%


MethodPercentage contribution
Closed book 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. McFarlane, Hopkins and Nield Land Law – Text, Cases and Materials (OUP, current edition) Blackstone’s Property Statutes (OUP, annual editions)

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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