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Question: new south wales 1000 words with reference to...

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1000 words - With reference to legal authorities, discussing the relative property rights and obligations in ***CIVIL LAW*** of Ned, Ben, The Council, and Ebony. (No discussion of criminal liabilities)


Ned is a thief who stole some jewellery from a number of homes in the town of Farmidale in New South Wales. Amongst the items he stole was an emerald necklace belonging to Sandra. Ned mixed all the stolen jewellery together and now cannot remember which piece of jewellery came from which home. Ben is Ned’s housemate and is also a thief. Ben stole the emerald necklace from Ned. Ben does not know the identity of the original owner, Sandra. Ben hid the necklace in a nearby nature reserve owned by the local government authority – the Farmidale Regional Council (the Council). Ben hid the necklace by placing it a waterproof container, putting the container on the ground, and then piling rocks and gravel on top of the container until it was completely covered.

The nature reserve has a walking track for bushwalkers. Members of the public are permitted to walk along the track but the Council strictly prohibits certain activities in the nature reserve, including:

  • Bringing dogs, cats, or ferrets;
  • Riding bicycles, horses or skateboards;
  • Drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, or consuming illicit substances;
  • Removing plants, animals, rocks or soil;
  • Releasing wedding confetti or latex balloons;
  • Affixing notices and posters to trees, or
  • Talking loudly on mobile phones.


All of these prohibitions are listed on a large sign at the entrance to the walking track. However, vandals have sprayed graffiti over the sign, offering obscene suggestions to the so-called ‘Fun Police’. The graffiti obscures the list of prohibitions in such a way that it is not easy to read the sign.

Last week, Ebony was walking her dog Odif in the nature reserve. Odif started to sniff at a small mound of rocks and gravel. Odif scraped at the mound revealing part of Ben’s container. Ebony removed the rest of the rocks and gravel, opened the container, and discovered the necklace. She took the necklace into her possession and immediately reported the find to the police and the Council rangers, informing both that she would hand over the necklace to anyone who could prove rightful ownership of it. She printed a notice on bright yellow paper indicating she had found an item of jewellery and inviting the owner to contact her or the police. She laminated the sign to make it weatherproof and nailed it to a tree-trunk at the entrance to the walking track, where it is visible to any bushwalkers. Additionally, she posted the same details on the Farmidale ‘Lost & Found’ Facebook site. Ned, Ben and the Council contacted her claiming the necklace. Sandra has no intention of reclaiming the necklace. She inherited it from her great-aunt Maisie and never liked it. Her insurance company has paid her a generous payout for the stolen necklace, which she spent on an overseas holiday. She is concerned the insurance company would demand she repay this money if she reclaimed the necklace.

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