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Law students land top spots in land law prize

Tuesday 19 November 2019 2:16pm

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EC Adams Memorial Prize in Land Law winner Hansaka Ranaweera

Faculty of Law students have taken the top two places in this year’s EC Adams Memorial Prize in Land Law.

The prize is awarded for the best piece of writing showing excellence of achievement in the study of land law by a student enrolled for the Degree of Bachelor of Laws (LLB) or Bachelor of Laws (Honours) at all New Zealand universities.

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Clara Sinclair

First place went to LLB (Hons) student Hansaka Ranaweera who wrote a case note essay on Green Growth No 2 Ltd v Queen Elizabeth The Second National Trust [2018] NZSC 75, completed for LAWS460 Vendor and Purchaser, taught by Dr Ben France-Hudson.

The runner up was also from Otago; Clara Sinclair’s entry was entitled “Unfair and unreasonable? Balancing private property rights and the public interest under s 85 of the RMA", written for LAWS415 Resource Management Law, which is taught by Professor Ceri Warnock.

Hansaka says the case he wrote about piqued his curiosity, and he now hopes to explore this “area where contract law and property overlap” further in future.

“It is great to win the Prize, and I really want to thank Dr Ben France-Hudson for his help and support. In my essay I addressed one of the issues in that case – the meaning of an open space covenant (a contract which creates an interest in land).

“I focussed on how some of the judges had finally engaged with the availability of extrinsic evidence to interpret the covenant and whether rectification could be ordered against a successor in title.”

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Dr Ben France-Hudson

This summer Hansaka will be an intern at Russell McVeagh.

The EC Adams Memorial Prize was established in 2009 in memory of the late Ernest Claude Adams, who was for many years Registrar-General of Land. The prize has since been administered by the trustees of the EC Adams Memorial Trust.

Faculty of Law Dean Professor Jessica Palmer says this is the last year the Trust will offer the award.

“This makes it particularly special for Otago students to feature in first and second,” she says.