A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Property Law by Peter Butt

Friday 24 September, 2010

Fellows, friends, and residents of the College attended a highly entertaining presentation on property law by Professor Peter Butt, who was a guest at the Law Faculty Dinner at the College on 23 September 2010.

Professor Butt presented a 'Property Travelogue', a series of photographs of houses and estates in the United Kingdom accompanied by an explanation of famous property cases associated with them. The tour began with challenges to trespass laws in the Great Onyx Cave Case and Bocardo SA v Star Energy UK Onshore Ltd. It explored the validity of easements in Ellenborough Park. A detour was made to St Ives to examine the case of the stranded bus depot. The group then dropped in on Dartmoor, where the remains Australia's own Sir Robert Torrens lie in a forgotten churchyard. Our guide then stepped back in time to the Isle of Sark, where laws of primogeniture are currently being challenged. Finally, all headed north to Scotland's Shetland's to consider whether a right to pass and repass included a right to park.

There were other stops along the way and at the close all in attendance agreed that it was a very novel and enjoyable approach to the topic. One student was heard to say that "he never thought property law could be interesting." He was glad to have been proved wrong.

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