Problem-Solving Exercise for Property Law
Your problem-solving exercise will focus on the topics we covered during weeks 1 through 3. Here’s what you need to know about this assignment:
Significance: This exercise contributes to 40% of your total marks for the course.
Scoring Breakdown: Each segment of the question has a specific mark allocation, which you’ll find denoted in brackets next to it. This will help you gauge the importance of each section and distribute your effort and word count accordingly.
Word Count: Ensure your submission doesn’t exceed a limit of 2,000 words. It’s essential to be concise yet comprehensive.
Answering Criteria: Simply stating your findings won’t suffice. To achieve a respectable grade you should:
Discuss the relevant legal principles that we have covered in lectures and tutorials.
Cite relevant legal authorities to back your points.
If discussing a case, explain why it’s relevant to the given problem or how it differs from a landmark case.
Remember to always structure your answers clearly and logically, ensuring your arguments are grounded in the material from weeks 1-3.
Please use the IRAC method (“Issue, Rule, Application, Conclusion”)to answer the questions.
Jacob and Elena are the registered proprietors of a picturesque property, “Mystic Meadows.” They hold the land as joint tenants. The property, besides its beautiful landscapes, also boasts an historical mansion. Elena lived in the mansion, while Jacob, after living there for a few years, decided to relocate overseas for work.
Before Jacob’s departure, he had been considering transforming the joint tenancy into a tenancy in common so as to provide for his family. To this end, he consulted with a solicitor but the details of what transpired remain shrouded in mystery. Elena was unaware that Jacob had done this.
A year after moving overseas, Jacob tragically passed away in an accident. In his last will, he left his share of Mystic Meadows to his daughter, Lucy. Elena, assuming the right of survivorship as a joint tenant, believes that the entire property now belongs to her. Lucy, however, has come forth with a document executed by Jacob that stated:
I hereby sever my joint tenancy with Elena for Mystic Meadows. Elena and I now hold the land as tenants in common.
While this dispute was ongoing, Elena decided to sell the property. Prior to finalising the sale, she removed an exquisite chandelier from the main hall of the mansion, claiming it was a gift from her grandmother and therefore her personal chattel. The prospective buyers, having seen the chandelier during the initial visit, insisted that it was a fixture of the property and should remain. Their plans for Mystic Meadows – of which Elena was aware – involved turning the premises into a lavish wedding venue.
To add a layer of complexity, Lucy, trying to gather more evidence about the condition and valuables of Mystic Meadows, Lucy purchased a drone to capture aerial footage. The drone, however, inadvertently hovered over the adjacent property owned by a neighbour, Mr. Harrison causing him mental angst due to PTSD acquired in a helicopter crash. Mr Harrison has now claimed airspace trespass and is seeking damages from Lucy.
Legal Issues for Consideration:
1.Did Jacob and Elena maintain their joint tenancy until Jacob’s death, or was it severed, leading to a tenancy in common? What is the significance of this in light of Jacob’s will? (15 marks)
2.Is the chandelier a fixture or a chattel? Who has the best right over it? (15 marks)
3.Did Lucy’s drone operation amount to trespass over Mr. Harrison’s property? If so, what type damages could he claim? (10 marks)