Ultra Vires


Rejected 1L Exam Questions

The second in a series

Property: This is a 3 hour, closed-book examination. You may not consult any materials.

Xerxes holds the title to an emu farm that has been in his family since 1612. From 1612 until 1993, the land directly to the east of the farm was owned and occupied by a gun club. The only access to the gun club was a winding and hazardous footpath that wove through the emu farm. Since the emu farm had no use for the footpath (aside from occasionally startling gun club members with an escaped emu) the gun club proprietors and members enjoyed access to the club by way of the hazardous path for 381 years. No complaints were made by either party.

In 1993, the 381-year old owner of the gun club finally died of a heart attack after being startled by one too many emus. His family discovered that he had never completed a will. None of his children, who ranged in age from 91 to 314, were interested in maintaining the gun club, so they sold the property to Yolanda, a local emu-hunter, and divided the proceeds amongst themselves.

Yolanda did not require the footpath because she used the roof of the old gun club as a helipad. She and her on-again, off-again lover, Zorro, would fly in and spend the evenings smoking cigars and lamenting the statutes that prevented them from shooting Xerxes’ emus. Some evenings, they would just dig holes in the yard because they did not have Netflix.

On the evening of August 16, 2012, Zorro was digging a hole when he discovered emu bones approximately two feet below the surface of the now-destroyed garden. He ran and found Yolanda, who inspected the bones and said “Dear God! These are the bones of the Great Emu! No one ever thought these would be found! Do you know how much money we can make from these?!”

Over the next two years, Yolanda and Zorro spent $250,000 converting the old gun club into a shrine to the Great Emu. The shrine opened on October 1, 2014, and visitors paid $50 each to exult in the Great Emu’s majesty. Because most of the visitors did not have helicopters, access to the shrine was through the footpath running through Xerxes’ land. When Xerxes visited the shrine, he said “Hang on. THAT’S MY OLD EMU! I wondered where she has gotten off to!” He has approached you for advice.

1. Using relevant case law and statutes, advise Xerxes about any claims he might have against Yolanda and Zorro. You can assume that Zorro is also an emu.

2. Same as question 1, only it turns out that the bones of the Great Emu are actually the bones of Xerxes’ wife.

Recent Stories