Peter A Allard School of Law

Douglas Harris

Professor and Nathan T. Nemetz Chair in Legal History
B.A. (UBC), LL.B. (Toronto), LL.M. (UBC), Ph.D. (Osgoode)


Douglas Harris joined the Allard School of Law in 2001. He teaches and writes in the areas of property law and legal history. His earlier published work focussed on the regulation of Indigenous fisheries in British Columbia, and he is the author of two award-winning books Fish, Law, and Colonialism: The Legal Capture of Salmon in British Columbia (U of T Press) and Landing Native Fisheries: Indian Reserves and Fishing Rights in British Columbia, 1849-1925 (UBC Press). Recorded public lectures include “Property & Sovereignty: The Kitsilano Indian Reserve and the City of Vancouver” and his Inaugural Lecture as professor at the Allard School of Law – “Condominium Property Stories”.
After completing his BA (UBC History) and LLB (Toronto), Harris articled in Vancouver and was called to the British Columbia bar in 1994. He returned to school to complete LLM (UBC) and PhD (Osgoode Hall, York University) degrees in legal history. During his years as a university student, Harris was a member of Canada's field hockey team that competed at the Olympic Games in Seoul (1988), the Pan American Games (1987, 1991 & 1995), and the World Student Games (1991). Harris served as Associate Dean Graduate Studies & Research in the Law School, 2008-2013, and as Chair of the UBC Press Publications Board, 2016-2021. He received the George Curtis Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence in 2013 and the Law School’s Faculty Scholar Award in 2016.

Professor Harris is currently working on condominium property, a relatively new form of landownership and local government that has come to dominate new-build residential construction in cities around the world. In collaboration with colleagues at the Allard Law School, he created the Law & Cities Research Group to bring together scholars and students working on the intersection of law and cities. He has developed and teaches courses in Condominium Law and A Legal History of Property & the City. Harris is also a co-author of the leading property law casebook in Canada—A Property Law Reader—now in its 5th edition. He is currently supervising LLM and PhD students working in property law, Aboriginal law, and legal history, and welcomes other students to apply in these and other areas of his research interest.



LAW231 Property Law

Property law is concerned with people and things. More specifically, property law is that body of rules and norms that helps to structure relationships between people with respect to things, and perhaps even between people and things. This course introduces the conceptual foundations of property, the basic principles of property law, and the legal regime that regulates land ownership and its transfer in British Columbia. It also provides a foundation for many courses in the upper year curriculum. At the outset, it asks students to consider the nature, sources and justifications of private property. It also introduces the idea of property as an evolving social institution, defined by its social, legal, historical, and even geographical contexts. The course then works through the common law and statutory frameworks that regulate property, with a particular focus on land ownership in British Columbia.

LAW231 Property Law Syllabus 2022 - 23

LAW442 Condominium Law

Condominium is rapidly becoming the dominant form of residential land ownership for city dwellers in Canada and much of the rest of the world. In Vancouver, one-third of residents live within condominium, either as owners or renters, and the number of homeowner-households who live within condominium is on track to surpass those within single-family residences. Outside urban centres, condominium is used not only to subdivide ownership within buildings, but also to create separate lots within private residential communities. In short, condominium is becoming the dominant architecture of land ownership, particularly residential land ownership, and understanding what it means to hold a property interest in land in the 21st century requires an understanding of ownership within condominium. This course provides students with an opportunity to develop an understanding of and to analyze statutory condominium as a legal framework for owning interests in land and governing uses of that land. It focuses on the condominium statute in British Columbia—the Strata Property Act—and on the manner in which it combines private property and co-ownership of common property with a governing body to oversee the uses of the interests in land that it creates.     

LAW442 Condominium Law Syllabus 2022 - 23                                                                                               

LAW313 A Legal History of Property & the City




Book Chapters

A full list of publications is available on the Law Library Faculty Research Publications Database

Doug Profile

Organization Affiliations

  • Centre for Law and the Environment

Research Interests

  • Aboriginal and Indigenous law
  • Law and cities
  • Law and society
  • Legal history
  • Property, housing and real estate

Peter A. Allard School of Law UBC Crest The official logo of the University of British Columbia. Urgent Message An exclamation mark in a speech bubble. Arrow An arrow indicating direction. Caret A month-view page from a calendar. Caret An arrowhead indicating direction. Contact A page from a rolodex. Facebook The logo for the Facebook social media service. Information The letter 'i' in a circle. Instagram The logo for the Instagram social media service. Instagram An arrow exiting a rectangle. Linkedin The logo for the LinkedIn social media service. Mail An envelope. Minus A minus sign. Telephone An antique telephone. Play A media play button. Plus A plus symbol indicating more or the ability to add. Rss The logo for the Reddit social media service. Rss A symbol with radiating bars indicating an RSS feed. Search A magnifying glass. Twitter The logo for the Twitter social media service. Youtube The logo for the YouTube video sharing service.