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Interpreting the Language of Conveyances

In property, trusts and estates, or wills students learn a range of technical language for creating estates and interests in land and other property. They have probably prepared themselves to recognize these "magic words" and identify the interests they create. They may even find themselves enjoying this linguistic exercise, feeling as though here, finally, is an area of law in which there are "right" and "wrong" answers.

This exercise is designed to take students beyond those "magic words" to work with conveyances in which the magic words aren't used correctly or do not point to a single, plain meaning: to learn rules for interpreting language that are manipulable, sometimes contradictory, but very important to the task of interpretation; and to recognize the uncertainty in creating and interpreting granting language.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the lesson, the student will be able to:

  1. Recognize when the "granting language" in a conveyance is not an adequate source for interpreting a grant’s meaning.
  2. Identify the most common interpretation techniques for reading grants.
  3. Apply the most common interpretation techniques to the ambiguous language of grants.


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