LLAW6251 Comparative property law

1.1 Course details

Course code: LLAW6251 / JDOC6251
Course name: Comparative Property Law
Programme offered under: LLM Programme / JD Programme
Semester: Second
Prerequisites / Co-requisites: No
Credit point value: 9 credits / 6 credits

1.2 Course description

In 1766, Blackstone wrote that “there is nothing which so generally strikes the imagination, and engages the affections of mankind, as the right of property.” In 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote that property in land should be abolished in the most advanced countries. Property rights have been at the very heart of human development in the past centuries. On one hand, property has been viewed as the basis for liberty and economic development. On the other hand, as Proudhon said, property is just another word for theft. In China, land-related social conflicts occur every day and everywhere. From ordinary farmers to university scholars, each person has his own idea of property rights. However, in the fierce debates around property rights, there is lack of consensus on such basic questions: What is property? What things should we keep for ourselves? And what should we share with others? Why should a piece of land belong to you rather than me? How is property rights structured and defined? What is the relationship between property and development? On the other hand, property rights are behind many challenges facing human beings: can a market of pollution permits save us from air pollution? How to govern the common resources in the oceans? Have intellectual property rights deterred or encouraged technological innovation? Are property rights the key to economic prosperity in the U.S.? How about China? Why have land reform programs sponsored by the World Bank failed in many developing countries? Are indigenous residents in the New Territories of Hong Kong entitled to the development value of their land? This seminar will provide students with the theoretical and comparative perspectives to investigate such questions.

This seminar will begin with an inquiry into how members of a society allocate, and should allocate, formal and informal entitlements to scarce resources such as wild animals, labor, water, ideas, and land. It will explore various forms of private property and also alternative regimes such as communal and state property. It will give students an overview of the contemporary debates on property rights, in particular the debate between law and economics and critical legal studies regarding efficiency and fairness of property regimes. It will draw cases from different jurisdictions of the world, in particular the U.S., China, African and South American countries, and different fields of law, including environmental law.

Through this course, I hope to improve students’ understanding of property rights from both theoretical and comparative perspectives. It is more suitable to students who are interested in exploration and proactive learning rather than passive learning of black-letter laws.

1.3 Course teachers

Name E-mail address Office Consultation
Course convenor Qiao Shitong justqiao@hku.hk CCT 815 By email

2.1 Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) for this course

CLO 1 Describe and explain the concept and structure of property rights;

CLO 2 Describe and explain property laws in the U.S. and China;

CLO 3 Describe and explain challenges to property reforms in developing countries;

CLO 4 Demonstrate capacity to understand property rights and related issues from interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives.

2.2 LLM Programme Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

PLO A On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to demonstrate a solid understanding of the body of legal knowledge and the capacity to conduct research on, critically analyse and evaluate legal principles, at a level required to meet the standards and expectations of the legal profession and the community at large.

PLO B On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to apply their legal knowledge and research skills to practical situations or theoretical challenges, and utilise their comparative understanding of the law and its political, social and cultural contexts to provide original and creative insights to legal problems.

PLO C On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to apply the knowledge, lawyering skills and legal reasoning to real and novel situations in life, with a view to resolving issues, problems and disputes within the legal parameters.

PLO D On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to demonstrate the ability to present effectively legal arguments in the professional context, as well as conveying and explaining the law effectively to lay clients and members of the larger community.

PLO E On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to appreciate the underlying moral values of the law and ethics in the profession and the legal system in the broad social, economic, political and cultural contexts: justice, the Rule of Law, and protection of rights and liberties which form the fabrics of a civilised society, and the importance of upholding these values by the legal community.

PLO F On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to develop a strong awareness of social issues and conditions, and utilise analytical abilities and rhetorical advocacy to provide leadership for the betterment of the human community.

CLO 1  ✓  ✓
CLO 2  ✓  ✓
CLO 3  ✓  ✓

3.1 Assessment Summary

Assessment task Due date Weighting Feedback method* Course learning outcomes
Class participation and presentations TBC 30% 1, 2, 3, 4
Response papers TBC 30% 1, 2, 3, 4
Final essay TBC 40% 1, 2, 3, 4
*Feedback method (to be determined by course teacher)
1 A general course report to be disseminated through Moodle
2 Individual feedback to be disseminated by email / through Moodle
3 Individual review meeting upon appointment
4 Group review meeting
5 In-class verbal feedback

3.2 Assessment Detail

To be advised by course convenor(s).

3.3 Grading Criteria

Please refer to the following link: http://www.law.hku.hk/course/grading-criteria/

4.1 Learning Activity Plan

Seminar: 3 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks
Private study time: 9.5 hour / week for 12 teaching weeks

Remarks: the normative student study load per credit unit is 25 ± 5 hours (ie. 150  30 hours for a 6-credit course), which includes all learning activities and experiences within and outside of classroom, and any assessment task and examinations and associated preparations.

4.2 Details of Learning Activities

To be advised by the convenor(s).

5.1 Resources

Reading materials: Reading materials are posted on Moodle
Core reading list: TBA
Recommended reading list: TBA

5.2 Links

Please refer to the following link: http://www.law.hku.hk/course/learning-resources/

By the publication of the course profile on-line, the Faculty deems the student as having been notified of the course requirements.