Keynote Speakers

Plenary Session 1: Wednesday 27 September 2017

The Dynamics of Enduring Property Relationships

This presentation proposes a new way of looking at property relationships that will enrich our understanding of how property relationships operate in the real world.

It focuses on property rights in land which are consensual in origin, although this approach could be usefully applied both to non-consensual property relationships and to other types of property. Whereas current property law scholarship has largely ignored the temporal dimensions of property (and the spatial dimensions of land), the dynamics approach reflects the fact that property relationships are lived relationships affected by changing patterns and understandings of spatial use, relationship needs, economic realities, opportunities, technical innovations, and so on.

It also recognises the broad range of legal, regulatory, social and commercial norms that shape property relations, and that although property relationships evolve responsively to accommodate changing uses of land and new rights-holders, the relationships themselves are sustained and enduring.


Professor Sarah Blandy

Professor Susan Bright

Professor Sarah Nield

Plenary Session 2: Thursday 28 September 2017

The Psychology of Property Law

The concept of property has several different names in the legal literature, including ‘psychological ownership’, ‘psychology of property’, ‘vernacular law’, and ‘living law’. These approaches share a concern for the everyday beliefs that people hold and use to negotiate their own rules, norms and practices, and these beliefs about property constitute an undeniable form of law. Yet although property is the subject of much theorising, very little is known about how ordinary people think about it.

‘The Psychology of Property Law’, a ground-breaking qualitative study conducted at the Adelaide Law School at The University of Adelaide, directly confronts this gap in the knowledge. This pilot project (2013-16) was led by Professor Paul Babie, Associate Professor Peter Burdon and Dr Francesca da Rimini. They collected, analysed and interpreted the informal, everyday beliefs about property held by a sample group of South Australian residents, an iterative process that generated an emergent theory about the idea of property.

To our knowledge, this is the first study in Australia empirically to examine common attitudes about property. Property rights are central to Australia’s social fabric. Tensions and litigation are increasing between owners and between individuals, governments and multinational corporations. By investigating property’s social and psychological dimensions, this project offers a unique insight into what underlies these disputes, and how they might be resolved.


Professor Paul Babie

Associate Professor Peter Burdon

Dr Francesca da Rimini

Multi-disciplinary Workshop: Friday 29 September 2017

This all-day workshop is intended to provide space for discussing the important and contentious issues raised by contemporary multi-owned properties. There will be invited contributions from leading academics from a range of disciplines, as well as from decision-makers (tribunal and mediation) and law reformers. The themes of the workshop will be drawn from the key ideas of the Dynamics of Enduring Property Relations, presented at the Australasian Property Law Teachers Conference by Sarah Blandy, Susan Bright and Sarah Nield on the 27th of September 2017.

  • Failure of law to acknowledge shared property rights and responsibilities – potential solutions through legislation and discretionary decision-making;
  • Inadequate information about shared property rights and responsibilities provided to (and understanding by) purchasers and tenants;
  • Issues of power and control exercised by developers, property managers, and office-holders in homeowner organisations; factors which assist or detract from the development of community amongst residents
  • factors which assist or detract from the development of community amongst residents;
  • recognition of changes over time, particularly the rules and norms developed by residents, and changes in the tenure mix.

There will be plenty of time programmed-in for discussions, and workshop participants are encouraged to contribute with examples from their own research and experience. It is intended that the workshop will produce recommendations for policy-makers and law reform bodies.

Workshop facilitators:

Sarah Blandy, University of Sheffield, UK

Susan Bright, University of Oxford, UK

Sarah Nield, University of Southampton, UK

Clare Mouat, University of Western Australia

Cathy Sherry, University of New South Wales, Australia