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Law Notes Property Law Notes

Property Law Case Summaries Notes

Updated Property Law Case Summaries Notes

Property Law Notes

Property Law

Approximately 24 pages

Concise outline of property law....

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Nisgaa appealed to SCC from ruling that held that FN prop laws were to different from CL to form title. Attributes/esssentialist based approach to property.


(AU 1996)

FN hunted crocodiles w/o license argued it was a right included in title; crown counters their ownership is absolute. Dissent- attributes approach/ majority functional/ nominal approach.
INS v. AP (US 1918) AP, org of newspapers, alleges INS violated prop rights from taking news from bulletin boards. Attributes/esssentialist based approach to property. Idea of “quasi property;” commodification of property (rights flow from commercial value); institutional property rights.



D lawfully picketing on sidewalk of plaza owned by P, charged for trespassing. Extends prop rights of homeowners to commercial owners, who have right to grant or exclude admission. Highlights how property rights reflect competing social values.

Victoria Park

(AU 1937)

P owns race track; D owns adjacent property. D constructed platform to view and broadcast races from P’s track, which cost P loss of business, who argues spectacle has property rights. Attributes/esssentialist based approach to property. A spectacle does not have prop rights even if it is result of labour and investment.


(US 1990)

P found out his cells were being used for devpt of medical products. Attributes/esssentialist based approach to property, which struggles to include novel claims. Property defined in context of loss of profit; possession justified thru labour.



Farmer cultivated seeds w/o patent after they blew onto his property, argues that he owns progeny of seed bc of his labour. No right of possession simply bc it is on your property. Infringement of prop right can occur through use. Importance of labour in claiming possession (ct ruled in favour of corp- their labour trumped his).

Pennsylvania Coal

(US 1923)

D sought to prevent PC from mining under property which would affect their house. Mining rights were taken away from prop owners by statute. Determining if regulatory act = a de facto taking/expropriation depends on the extent of the diminution of value of property – contrast to Cdn context. Reflects commodification of property.


(US 1982)

L bought land and intended to build houses but was prohibited by statute; L claimed ban deprived him of economic use of property. Statute held to be a taking bc it impeded economic value of property – contrast to Cdn context. Reflects value of property rests in its commodification.
Mariner (1999) Govt regulated prop owner’s land bc of environmental reasons, refused to grant permission to build homes. Owner asserts de facto expropriation as per Expropriation Act.

Diminishing economic value in does not = expropriation per Expropriation Act. Little protection in Canada for de facto expropriation.

For expropriation to occur, there must be benefical interest in property or flowing from it (not benefical to govt) that is taken away and acquired by govt and owner must experience loss of prop rights (i.e. reasonable use).

CPR (2006) Prov granted CPR land, who built a rwy line on it. CPR attempted to sell or develop land, city froze devpt thru bylaw, which CPR asserts is de facto expropriation bc it impedes right to develop land. Affirms Mariner test for reqmts of de facto expropriation. Diminishing economic value in does not = expropriation.



M, US corp, operated a landfill in Mexico which was barred by state govt bc of enviro law. NAFTA has broad def of expropriation and protection for corporations- exists if owner is deprived of economic benefit.
Rytter (1974) D excavating property next to P’s bldg., caused collapse to P’s bldg. P granted right of support. Easement was granted under doctrine of prescription bc right came into force before s. 24 LTA.
Nikal (1996) D charged w/fishing w/o a license on river that flows by reserve, claimed CL maxim does not apply bc of constitutional rights of FN and that only band laws apply. FN fishing rights are not absolute- CL maxim applies.


(US 2002)

Conflict over home run ball, P caught ball but was tackled to the ground in mob, H picked up ball off ground. P and D agree property was intentionally abandoned. P asserts conversion (wrongful exercise of control over someone else’s property), trespass to chattel, constructive trust and injunctive relief. Def of possession: i) physical control; ii) intent. Highlights how ambiguity in possession is practical bc of its application in different contexts, depends on custom of trade. Introduced concept of “pre-possessory right:” steps to possession are incomplete bc of interruption by unlawful act- can support cause for conversion.


(UK 1865)

H did not have title but enclosed property from estate, willed it to W until she remarries or dies where it would then go to...

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