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Unit information: Land Law in 2021/22

Unit name Land Law
Unit code LAWD20002
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Cowan
Open unit status Not open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit considers in detail the range of rights that may exist in land, their durability, along with the rules governing potential conflicts between such rights. Topics covered include: formalities; leases and licences; informally acquired interests including proprietary estoppels and constructive trusts; concurrent interests and co-ownership; easements; mortgages and the family home; registration; concepts of property and adverse possession.

The unit aims to give students a basic understanding of land law. Students are equipped to understand and apply the distinct conceptual tools deployed in land law and the particular applications of legal reasoning associated with it, notably in terms of statutory interpretation.

Students will be able to discuss the range of rights that one or more people may hold in relation to land, and the principles that govern the enforceability of such rights against third parties. They will be expected to read around the subject, understanding land law “in context”, challenging and critiquing some of the assumptions and practices in land law. They will be also be able to solve problems arising in these areas of land law.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit a successful student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate unit-specific knowledge and understanding of the system of English land law;
  • Interrogate legal provisions to identify underlying values and assumptions;
  • Explain how estates and interests in land are created and transferred;
  • Explain the characteristics of the major interests in land;
  • Identify when transactions involving land present priority problems;
  • Explain how such priority problems will be resolved;
  • Show an understanding of the forces that have shaped the development of the law;
  • Show an understanding of the weighting given to particular arguments in land law
  • Make recommendations for reform.

A successful student will be able to use statutory materials to:

  • Cite any relevant statutory provisions accurately, when stating or discussing the law;
  • Analyse and explain the meaning of these provisions, in light of case law interpreting them;
  • Use that understanding in the resolution of complex land law problems.

A successful student will be able to solve complex, multi-issue legal problems by:

  • Analysing complex land law problems, to identify the legal issues raised;
  • Identifying the applicable legal principles;
  • Using those principles in a well-ordered and well-reasoned manner to resolve the legal issues raised.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a variety of asynchronous and synchronous activities

Assessment Information

1 x summative assessment: Timed Open Book Assessment with a specified word count (100%)

The assessment will assess all of the intended learning outcomes for this unit.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. LAWD20002).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.