Credit points


Campus offering

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LAWS104 Foundations of Law and Legal Research

Teaching organisation

4 hours per week for twelve weeks or equivalent.

Unit rationale, description and aim

The Rule of Law, and access to legal advice, are the basis of free, democratic, and just societies which promote personal dignity, thriving communities, and the Common Good. Law graduates working in legal practice, in business, in government, and in the community play an essential role in promoting and upholding the Rule of Law in Australia and across the world. The Bachelor of Laws degree is an accredited degree for admission as a legal practitioner in Australia.

This specified unit, together with Land Law, covers the required knowledge relating to Property Law.

This unit deals with the interests in real and personal property recognised by law, including their acquisition and disposition. As well as examining the concept of "property" itself, the unit considers the distinction between personal and real property, and between ownership and possession. It also deals with the recognition of native title.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Describe and critically evaluate the law of property (GA5, GA9, GA10) 

LO2 - Apply the law of property to factual situations and thereby advise clients and others of their rights and obligations in those situations (GA4, GA6, GA7, GA9, GA10) 

LO3 - Compare and contrast Australian property law with that in certain other jurisdictions and evaluate its effectiveness (GA4, GA6). 

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include: 

  1. Concepts of Property 
  2. Possession, Title and Personal Property 
  3. Fixtures, Encroachments and Boundaries  
  4. Adverse Possession 
  5. Doctrine of Tenure and Estates 
  6. Co-ownership 
  7. Native Title 
  8. Restraints on alienation  
  9. Rule against perpetuities 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Mode:Lectures, tutorials, electronic consultation, library tasks and presentations or Online lectures and activities.  


Duration:3 hours per week over 12 weeks or equivalent.  Students are expected to spend 150 hours in total for this unit. 


This level two compulsory Law unit allows students to demonstrate knowledge, skills and understanding in a specialist area of law to meet the requirements of accreditation.  

Our strategy is to encourage students to creatively engage with unit content and to apply fundamental legal knowledge, skills and understandings to address legal problems.  

The unit is designed to be delivered in intensive, weekly or online mode. We have taken a blended learning approach to provide accessibility and flexibility to our students and a student focused approach that increases depth of learning and engagement through actively utilising LEO.   

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy is designed to assess knowledge, skills and understanding in a specialist area of law required for accreditation.  

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each of the learning outcomes listed.  


Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Class Participation: Communication and engagement: Students are required to participate in tutorials, in recognition that the development of skills in locating, referencing and analysing research materials is assisted in participation in tutorials.  



GA4, GA5 

Assignment: requires students to complete a research essay or problem-based questions to demonstrate their ability to research the assigned topic and critically evaluate the relevant laws. 


LO1, LO3 

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA9, GA10  

Examination: the final exam requires students to answer essay questions or hypothetical problems that will be based on the material presented in lectures and tutorials. Exam will be completed online via LEO 


LO1, LO2 

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA9, GA10 

Representative texts and references

 Samantha Hepburn, Australian Property Law: Cases, Materials and Analysis (5th ed., LexisNexis, 2020) 

Adrian Bradbrook, Susan MacCallum, Anthony Moore, Scott Grattan, Lynden Griggs, Australian Property Law: Cases & Materials (5th ed, Thomson Reuters, 2016) 

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