Property Law, Real Estate
Nobody has been more influential over the past generation in the teaching of property law in Canada than Bruce Ziff. His Principles of Property Law is the foundational textbook on the subject. A Property Law Reader: Cases, Questions, and Commentary, which he first published as a sole author in 2004, has become, over three subsequent editions, the most widely used teaching material for property law in the country. Bruce retired from teaching property law in 2019. His retirement left major holes not only at the University of Alberta, where he taught for decades, but also throughout Canada in terms of guiding students, mentoring professors, and developing teaching materials and other resources for property law.
Bruce had brought in Jeremy de Beer, Douglas Harris, and Margaret McCallum to collaborate with him on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th editions of A Property Law Reader, but with his retirement, and also with Margaret’s, after years at the University of New Brunswick, the 5th edition is the product of a new scholarly collaboration with Tenille Brown and Patricia Farnese joining Jeremy and Doug. Although Bruce has stepped aside entirely from this 5th edition, his intellectual contributions remain profound. Much of the material within chapters has been updated or replaced, but the 5th edition retains the structure and organization that Bruce initially conceived. It also retains many of Margaret’s contributions to the selection of material and the commentary.
The preface of the 4th edition began with this statement: “Property law—that body of rules which describes and defines relationships between people with respect to things—involves many choices.” The opening paragraphs continued by emphasizing that these choices, explicit or implicit, involve important decisions about the allocation of resources, and further, that we needed to interrogate the justifications for these decisions. The materials in the 4th edition, and in this 5th edition, return repeatedly to the justifications for particular rules and to ask whether they remain convincing. Indeed, the collection of materials was designed to enable an investigation of property law rules, and of the justifications for them.
Douglas C Harris, Jeremy de Beer, Tenille E Brown, & Patricia L Farnese, A Property Law Reader: Cases, Questions, and Commentary, 5th ed, Preface and Table of Contents (Toronto: Thomson Reuters, 2022).