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Harvard
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Law
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Case Study
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Understanding the Components of Land Law (Case Study Sample)

Instructions:

The task was about analyzing a land case between Moui and Bella. The aim was to demonstrate the rights an individual has in owning a part of a property after serving an alleged obligation. The analysis of the case had to refer to the application of Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) PROVISIONS ON LAND ONWERSHIP.

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LAND LAW
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Question 1
Issues in the case
The case involves an agreement between Moui and Bella. The latter had agreed to surrender a small studio apartment to Moui if the former gave him the cash of $20,000 and agreed to work for 24 hours a week for the next year. Terms were accepted by Moui, who gave him the cash to continue constructing his units and worked for the time proposed by Bella. Unfortunately, after completing the project, Bella dishonours her obligation and could not even pick Moui’s phone calls. According to the complainant, Moui, the amount she could have earned from working all that time is $40,000. In total, she stands a chance of losing $60,000. In this case, Moui believes she is entitled to owning the room and becoming her property. Property is both real and personal according to law, and it is a description of the legal relationship that exists with a particular thing (ALRC, 2016). By accepting Bella's terms, Moui believes that the legal relationship came into being after serving her obligations.
One of the specific issues that arise in the case and are instrumental in determining the relationship Moui has with the alleged property is the rights she has. According to the ALRC Report 129, Section 18.15, property rights are explicitly stated in the "bundle of rights." In law, the concept of "bundle of rights" explains the type of rights a person as with a thing or property in contention. That is demonstrated in the case of Yanner v Eaton. The court ruled that a right shows the power one exercises over property or a thing (ALRC, 2016). In this case, Moui had invested his $20,000 and time into the project with the prospected that she will be paid by transferring the rooms' ownership to her.
The other issue that is critical in the case, and is crucial in determining the case is the vested property rights. According to Section 7.29 of ALRC, “vested” is a technical term used to separate between the current interest and the contingent interest. The term is used to protect the rights of the owner over a property from being taken away, and it applies where there are disputes involving land and immovable properties (ALRC, 2016a). By investing in the project, Moui may rely on the clause to argue her case to demonstrate that she also has rights in the property.
The application of the law in determining the case
As stipulated by ALRC, Section 18.33, both the bundle of rights and the vested interests are determined on the basis of reachability (ALRC, 2016a). That implies that a party claiming ownership to property must demonstrate that it has equity in it. That could be the value put into it to acquire it. In so doing, the law sets a solid foundation for the case by Moui. Before joining, or agreeing to work for Bella, the two had an agreement. Bella did accept Moui's proposal of cashing her with $20,000 and working for 24 hours a week for the next one year as a condition of getting a small ground floor studio apartment on the ground floor of unit 1. However, after meeting the obligations, Bella is yet to honour her part. In that case, the law allows for the prioritization vested interests as a means of acquiring or maintaining that ownership (ALRC, 2016). The law advocates for that to ensure a fair contest where one does not lose proprietary rights, also known as rights in rem.
Analysis of the case
Indeed, some terms brought Moui and Bella into their working relationship. Before joining, Bella, Moui was looking for part-time work after to Melbourne from overseas. She accepted to work with Bella, on two specific conditions. First, is by handing her cash of $20,000 to enable her to complete the project. Second, is by working for her for 24 hours a week in the next year. In return, she was to be paid by getting a small studio apartment on the ground floor of Unit 1. The terms were agreed with Bella. In so doing, both entered into a binding relationship setting obligations for each party (ALRC, 2016a). After completing the project, Bella did not show any intention to transfer the property as agreed. That is despite the value that had been invested in it by Moui. If the obligation is not honored, she stands to lose the sum of $20,000 plus the time worked.
Conclusion and remedy
The case will be determined on two fundamental issues, which include the bundles of rights and the vested interests both parties have to the property. In the agreement, there was a subject of the contract. However, Bella is not committed to transferring the property to Moui. If that happens, she will lose and will have no option but seek a remedy in court (ALRC, 2016a). If her claim is successful, the court will allow her the ownership of Unit 1. However, she will have to reimburse Bella $40,000. That is because of the value of the current value of Unit 1, which is estimated to be $100,000. She had already worked for the project for the cost approximated to be $40,000. That is in addition to the cash she had given Bella.
Question 2
Informal, or oral agreements concerning the interests in land
The process of owning land, or developing some vested interests continues to be controversial not only in Australia but also in many other countries. While it is advisable that every process be done formally and all the relevant facts recorded, parties end up engaging and agreeing orally. In a case, where some obligations are overlooked, it becomes a problem to determine the interest one has on land and reward any possible remedies. That is clear in the case of Pipikos v Trayans [2018] HCA 39. As a matter of principle, no law restricts that all contracts comply with all formalities. The only reason that warrantees formality is the desire to have evidence to show interest in case one party failed to owner their obligations.
In the current case of Pipikos v Trayans [2018] HCA 39, the appellant Pipikos argued that he had an interest in the land owned by the respondent, Trayans. The property had been acquired in 2002 by the respondent and her husband, who was a brother to the appellant. In the court, the appellant submits that he had an agreement with the former husband of the respondent, that if he funded the respondent and her husband to buy a property at Penfield Road, he would have a stake of $45,000 in the Clark Road property which the family had purchased in 2002. That value is half of the value of the property. The agreement was done orally and nothing to show the same expect a simple note handwritten by the respondent. Based on the finding of the court that there was no evidence to point out any interest or joint performance in the property, the case was dismissed. In the trial court, the case was dismissed for lacking a contemporaneous record supporting the agreement, and, therefore, the court could determine if he had registered record, or interest in the property (Gupta, 2009). The same decision was held by the Full Court of the Supreme Court of Australia. The court dismissed the appeal by Pipikos on the ground that the requirements of part performance had not been met, or were not present. The question that arises from the case is whether the court should only rely on evidence to establish the elements of a doctrine of part performance in a case. In determining cases involving informal agreements concerning interests in land, the court should make use of any evidence available. That is demonstrated in the case of Statute of Frauds 1677 (UK). The case strictly observes that even though contracts could be entered orally, the parties should prove any existence of a contract. The case was an example of highlighting the risk of committing fraud (Clarke, 2020). In that regard, the courts should always demand that the essential terms be written, signed and agreed by both parties. That is essential in avoiding a situation where one's rights to a property are deprived off. Perhaps, the reason why the court ignored a simple handwritten note by the respondent which the appellant argued to be part of the evidence that he was part of the ownership by act of performance.
The argument of the High Court
After the case was dismissed by the Full Court of the Supreme Court of Australia, the complainant went ahead and sought for special leave with the High Court. He presented that he had grounds showing that he had a specific performance in the said land and that the other party had induced him to change the position and the intention of the contract. In determining the case, the High Court referred to the case of Maddison v Alderson, where the presiding judge noted that the actions relied upon as part of performance must be exact, and in their nature, they should point to the alleged agreement (Gupta, 2009). Based on that declaration of the court on Maddison v Alderson, the High Court listening to the case maintained that no party to the alleged agreement had committed actions that are unequivocally referable to the purchase and ownership of Clark Road property. With that note, the appeal was dismissed.
After careful consideration of the doctrine of performance requirements, the court held that the appellant’s protest should be dismissed. As part of the judgment summary, Justice Edelman held that the requirements of part performance have been a consistent practice and that any action of performance must be unequivocally referable to an agreement (Gupta, 2009). However, that information was lacking in the appeal. Further, the court held that the appellant’s explanation was only consistent with the transactions performed and had no relationship with the sales, or ownership of the Clark Road land. The appellant also consented that...

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