LAWCOMM 442 - Law of Personal Property

Credit points: 10 points
Offered: First Semester
Contact hours: Lectures - 2 hours per week
Course Coordinator: Professor Peter Devonshire
Prerequisites: LAW 231
Restriction: LAW 311, 471

Course description

This course introduces the concepts and legal rights associated with personal property. Personal property interests are identified and contrasted with real property. Attention is directed to the implications of possession and the rights and competing claims that flow from this. The principal elements of the law of bailment are analysed. Other topics include security over personal property and the transfer and acquisition of personal property.

Content outline

Personal property is defined and classified. It is contrasted with real property with particular reference to the chattels-fixtures distinction. Different forms of possession are discussed and possessory interests are specifically considered in the context of the law of finds.

Bailment is addressed in detail. The nature of bailment and its distinct features are identified. Particular emphasis is placed on the rights and obligations of bailor and bailee and the relevant standard of care for the latter. Modifications of the bailee’s duty, vicarious liability and sub-bailment are also studied.

Security over personal property, particularly the operation of the Personal Property Securities Act 1999 is reviewed. Finally, the transfer and acquisition of personal property is considered including the disposition of gifts, assignments and transfers on death.


1000 word case note (20%)

90 minute open-book in-class test (60%)

750 word analysis exercise (20%)

Open book means that you may, if you wish, bring into the exam and refer to any materials such as casebooks, textbooks and study notes.

Recommended text

Garrow & Fenton’s Law of Personal Property in New Zealand, (7th ed vol 1).