Survey and Engineering Law

Course code LEGL2009
Available in 2015
2015 Course Timetables


The course introduces students to the Australian legal system, including aspects of the Constitution and basic legal research. It has a focus on legal issues arising in the profession and practice of engineering, with special emphasis on surveying. In particular it has a strong emphasis on the concepts and classification of real property as they relate to boundary surveyors. It also deals with statutory control of land use, with reference to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, and the regulation and legal liability of engineers and surveyors.


Callaghan Campus

  • Semester 1 - 2015

Learning Outcomes

1. Understand: a. the constitutional framework of Australia as a federation; b. the sources of Australian law in statute and case law, and techniques for finding and interpreting the law; c. basic principles underlying the key areas of contract and tort; d. the land title and planning system in NSW, and in particular the law as it affects boundary determination;

2. State the legal issues that arise in the practice of engineering and surveying, and to apply the law to solve problems in specific fact situations involving professional liability and real property;

3. in relation to those issues, gain access to relevant and up-to-date information about the law, at an appropriate level, and to communicate the results of their knowledge clearly;

4. Identify and avoid areas of potential legal liability or difficulty in practice

5. Know when to seek specialist legal advice about a particular area.




  1. The nature of law, and of Australia as a federation
  2. The sources of Australian law
  • case law
  • the Australian court system
  • the doctrine of precedent
  • statute law
  • Parliamentary process and the enactment of legislation
  • subordinate legislation
  • statutory interpretation




  1. Contract
  2. Torts (including Negligence, Nuisance and Trespass)




  1. Introduction to Property Law
  • General Principles of Property
  • Interests in Real Property: what is "land"?; the doctrines of estates & tenure, native title, fixtures, equitable vs legal rights
  1. Dealings with Land
  • Acquisition, Disposal
  • Title: General Law (Old System); Torrens System; Strata & Community Titles
  1. Boundaries
  • Legal Principles of Boundary Determination
  • Encroachment
  • Fences
  1. Private Regulation of Land Use
  • Easements
  • Restrictive Covenants
  1. Public Regulation of Land Use
  • Subdivision of Land
  • Building Approvals
  • Planning & Environment Legislation
  • Development Approvals




  1. The Surveying Act 2002

Assumed Knowledge


Assessment Items

In Term Test: Class Test 1

Written Assignment: Tort and Contract Problem Question 1

In Term Test: Class Test 2

In Term Test: Class Test 3

Written Assignment: Take Home Exam 3 Problem Questions

Contact Hours


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term