The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


The course introduces students to the Australian legal system, including aspects of 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 and the regulation and legal liability of engineers and surveyors. in general this course provides a legal foundation for the engineer and surveyor as to how the law creates opportunities and potential liabilities in the professional practice.

Availability2020 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2020

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 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.


TOPIC 1   THE AUSTRALIAN LEGAL SYSTEM The concept of law and the Australian legal systemLegal sourcesFinding and applying the law

TOPIC 2    CONTRACTSContract law (including Competition and Consumer Act 2010)

TOPIC 3     TORTSTorts (including Civil Liability Act 2002)

TOPIC 4      INTRODUCTION TO PROPERTYGeneral Principles of PropertyInterests in Real Property: what is land?Doctrines of estates and tenureNative title, Old and Torrens system, Strata, Company and Community Title 

TOPIC 5     DEALINGS AND LIMITS OF LANDContract for Sale of LandLegal Principles of Boundary DeterminationEncroachmentFences

TOPIC 6     REGULATION OF LAND USEEasementsRestrictive CovenantsPlanning & Environmental Legislation

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

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


Online Activity

Online 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

Students will complete specific reading and online learning activities.


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