Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


The course introduces students to the Australian legal system, including some aspects of basic legal research. It has a focus on legal issues arising in the profession and practice of engineering, with particular emphasis on surveying. 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 as well as the regulation and legal liability of engineers and surveyors. In general, this course provides a legal foundation for the engineer and surveyor of how the law creates opportunities and potential liabilities in their professional practice.



  • Semester 1 - 2022

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. understand (a) the constitutional framework of Australia as a federation; (b) the sources of Australian law, and basic techniques for finding and interpreting the law; (c) the basic principles underlying key areas of contractual and civil liability; and (d) the land title and planning system in NSW, in particular affecting boundary determination; 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, locate relevant and up-to-date information about the law at an appropriate level, and to communicate the results of their knowledge in a structured way;

4. identify and avoid areas of potential legal liability or difficulty in practice; and,

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


TOPIC 1   THE AUSTRALIAN LEGAL SYSTEM - The Australian legal system - Legal sources - Finding and applying the law

TOPIC 2   CONTRACTUAL LIABILITY - Contract law and Consumer Protection

TOPIC 3   CIVIL LIABILITY - Torts and Negligence

TOPIC 4    INTRODUCTION TO PROPERTY - General Principles of Property - Interests in Real Property - What is land? - Doctrines of estates and tenure - Native title, Old and Torrens System, Strata, Company and Community Title

TOPIC 5   DEALINGS AND LIMITS OF LAND - Contract for Sale of Land - Legal Principles of Boundary Determination - Encroachment - Fences

TOPIC 6   REGULATION OF LAND USE - Easements - Restrictive Covenants - Planning & Environmental Legislation

TOPIC 7   REGULATION OF THE PROFESSION OF SURVEYING - Surveying and Spatial Information Act 2002 - Surveying and Spatial Information Regulation 2017

Assumed knowledge


Assessment items

In Term Test: Class Test 1

Written Assignment: Tort and Contract Problem Question

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

Students will complete specific reading and online learning activities.


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Term Full Term starting in week 1

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.