Property Law deals with the relationship between persons and tangible and intangible things based on such concepts of “ownership.” We will consider how such rights arise, are managed, may be transferred or assigned, and might be extinguished. As we proceed we will also consider such vehicles for property management as the use of “trusts”. The key to understanding property law is to appreciate the balancing of interests in respect of ownership of a particular thing, and those institutional considerations that allow property rights to be exploited and vindicated.

There is no casebook or textbook required.


December Examination: 10% of your final grade (up to 25% if the additional weight – above 10% – improves your final grade).

Property Law Assignment 2021: 25% of your final grade (due Friday, November 26, 2021 by 3:00 p.m.).

Wednesday September 8, 2021

Introduction to the course. No reading required.

Monday September 13, 2021 & Wednesday September 15, 2021

I.  What do we want to protect and how?

Victoria Park Racing and Recreational Grounds Ltd v Taylor (1937), 58 CLR 479 (Aust. H.C.)

International News Service v. Associated Press, 248 U.S. 215 (1918, U.S.S.C.)

R. v. Stewart, 1988 CanLII 86 (S.C.C.)

Monday September 20, 2021

No class

Wednesday September 22, 2021

“Possession”, “Control”, and “Ownership”

J.E. Penner, “The Bundle of Rights Picture of Property” (1996) 43 UCLA L Rev 711 [skim]

Harrison v. Carswell, [1976] 2 SCR 200 (S.C.C.)

Monday September 27, 2021

Pierson v. Post, 3 Cai. R. 175 (1805, NYSC) 

Nakhuda v Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary, 2013 ONSC 5761 (S.C.J.)

Wednesday September 29, 2021

III.  Limits on Ownership: Forfeiture

Ontario (Attorney General) v. Norwood Estate, 2021 ONCA 493 (C.A.)

Dhingra v. Dhingra, 2012 ONCA 261 (C.A.)

Monday October 4, 2021

IV.  Acquisition

(a)  Intellectual Property

Baker v. Selden, 101 U.S. 99 (1879)

(b)  Finding

Armory v Delamirie, (1722) 93 ER 664 (K.B.)

Bridges v. Hawkesworth (1851), 21 L.J.Q.B. 75 (Q.B.)

Hannah v. Peel, [1945] 1 K.B. 509 (K.B.)

Wednesday October 6, 2021

Finding cont’d

Monday October 11, 2021

No class

Wednesday October 13, 2021

Finding cont’d

Bird v. The Town of Fort Frances, 1949 CanLII 79 (Ont. H.C.)

Kowal v. Ellis, 1977 CanLII 1866 (Man. C.A.)

Grafstein v. Holme & Freeman, 1958 CanLII 97 (Ont. C.A.)

South Staffordshire Water Co. v. Sharman, [1896] 2 Q. B. 44

White v. Alton-Lewis Ltd., 1974 CanLII 740 (Ont. County Ct.)

Monday October 18, 2021

(c)  Gifts & Undue Influence

Teixeira v. Markgraf Estate, 2017 ONCA 819 (C.A.)

Fichera v. McAllister, 2021 ONSC 2685 (S.C.J.)

Re Marsh Estate (1991), 1991 CanLII 2566 (N.S.C.A.)

Pascu v. Benke, 2005 CanLII 1086 (Ont. S.C.J.)

Wednesday October 20, 2021

(d) Gifts and the Doctrine of Resulting Trust

Pecore v. Pecore, 2007 SCC 17 (S.C.C.)

MacIntyre v. Winter, 2021 ONCA 516 (Ont. C.A.)

Monday October 25, 2021

Problem Questions (to be distributed)

Wednesday October 27, 2021

V.  Third Party Possession: Bailment

Heffron v. Imperial Parking Co., 1974 CanLII 801 (Ont. C.A.)

Letwin v. Camp Mart, 2021 ONSC 4175 (S.C.J.)

November 1 and 3, 2021

No Class

Monday November 8, 2021

VI.  Dealings with Property 

(a)  Formalities

Statute of Frauds, R.S.O. 1990, c.S.19

 (b)  Vesting of Interests

Perpetuities Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.P.9

Quercus Algoma Corporation et al. v. Algoma Central Corporation, 2021 ONSC 2457 (S.C.J.) [link repaired]

Wednesday, November 10, 2021 & November 15, 2021

(c)  Trusts, Trustees, and Agents

Hydro-Electric Power Commission v Brown, 1959 CanLII 123 (Ont. C.A.)

Air Canada v. M & L Travel Ltd., 1993 CanLII 33 (S.C.C.)

Monday November 17, 2021

VII.  Liability for Interference: Conversion, Detinue, & Replevin

384238 Ontario Ltd. v. Canada, 1983 CanLII 2849 (Fed. C.A.)

I am holding the last three classes in November in case we move more slowly through the material than expected or should I have to miss a class. Ideally, we will look at a more advanced topic or two plus we’ll do a review class. I’ll make a decision about how to use these classes towards the beginning of November and advise you at that time.

My practice is not to teach during the first week of December if at all possible and instead allow you to use that time to study. I’ll be available during class time for individual / group appointments.