Douglas Harris joined the Allard School of Law in 2001. He teaches in the areas of property law and legal history, and his research focuses on the history of the regulation of the Aboriginal fisheries in British Columbia and on the nature of property ownership within condominium. His earlier published work includes studies of Aboriginal rights to fish in Canada and analysis of systems for registering interests in land. Recent public lectures include “Condominium & the Country: The Sprawl of Property in British Columbia” and “Property & Sovereignty: The Kitsilano Indian Reserve and the City of Vancouver”. He presented “Condominium Property Stories” in his Inaugural Lecture as a professor at the Allard School of Law.
After completing his B.A. (UBC History) and LL.B. (Toronto), Harris articled in Vancouver and was called to the British Columbia bar in 1994. He returned to school to complete LL.M. (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 he is currently Chair of the UBC Press Publications Board. In 2016, he received the law school’s Faculty Scholar Award.
In 2013, Professor Harris received the George Curtis Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence, the Faculty's annual teaching award. He is also a co-author of the leading property law casebook in Canada, A Property Law Reader, 4th Ed. Professor Harris 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.
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.
LAW313 A Legal History of Property & the City
- Landing Native Fisheries: Indian Reserves and Fishing Rights in British Columbia, 1849-1925 (UBC Press, 2008) (winner of the John T. Saywell Prize for Canadian Constitutional Legal History in 2011)
- Fish, Law, and Colonialism: The Legal Capture of Salmon in British Columbia (U of T Press, 2001)
Articles & Book Chapters
- “Embedded Property,” in Lippert & Treffers, eds, Condominium Governance and Law: Global Urban Perspectives (Routledge, 2021) (PDF full text)
"Condominium Government and the Right to Live in the City" (2019) 34:3 Canadian Journal of Law & Society 371-392 (PDF full text)
- “Owning and Dissolving Strata Property” (2017) 50:4 UBC Law Review 935-970 (PDF full text)
- “Property and Sovereignty: An Indian Reserve and a Canadian City” (2017) 50:2 UBC Law Review 321 (PDF full text)
- “Anti-Social Behaviour, Expulsion from Condominium, and the Reconstruction of Ownership,” (2016) 54:1 Osgoode Hall Law Journal (PDF full text).
- Douglas C. Harris & Nicole Gilewicz, “Dissolving Condominium, Private Takings, and the Nature of Property,” in B. Hoops et al, eds, Rethinking Expropriation Law II: Context, Criteria, and Consequences of Expropriation (The Hague, NL: Eleven, 2015) 263-297 (PDF full text).
- Douglas C. Harris and May Au, “Title Registration and the Abolition of Notice in British Columbia,” (2014) 47 UBC Law Review. (PDF full text)
- "A Railway, a City and the Public Regulation of Private Property: C.P.R. v. The City of Vancouver" in Tucker, Ziff, and Muir, eds., Canadian Cases in Context (Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History and Irwin Law, 2012) 455-486. (PDF full text)
- Douglas C. Harris and Karin Mickelson, "Finding Nemo Dat in the Land Title Act: A Comment on Gill v. Bucholt" (2012) 45 UBC Law Review 205-221 (PDF full text).
- "Condominium and the City: The Rise of Property in Vancouver" (2011) 36 Law & Social Inquiry 694-726.
Publications listed on the Law Library Faculty Research Publications Database
- Centre for Law and the Environment
- Aboriginal and Indigenous law
- Law and cities
- Law and society
- Legal history
- Property and real estate