Commercial Law

Course number: LAW 3050


This is an upper-year elective course which is designed to introduce students to the law applicable to lending.  In particular, our focus will be secured lending with security provided in the form of personal property (that is, neither land, nor chattels affixed to it). The Personal Property Security Act (Manitoba) will provide the primary legislative instrument for our discussion.  However, the Executions Act (Manitoba) and the Bank Act (Canada) will also be mentioned.  We will be leaving aside concerns about mortgages, that is, security interests in land.  These are the purview of our course in Real Estate.

This course is also recommended for those students who intend to take the Bankruptcy course sometimes taught by Dr. Torrie.  Secured transactions generally occur in situations with debtors that are at least potentially financially healthy.  By contrast, bankruptcy and insolvency occur in situations with debtors that are not financially healthy.  Each system (secured transactions law, on the one hand, and bankruptcy and insolvency law, on the other) influences the other.

The course will cover the following topics, among others:

  • The differences between secured and unsecured lending;
  • The definition and nature of a “security interest”;
  • The elements of “attachment”, that is, the creation of a security interest;
  • The concept of “perfection” of a security interest;
  • The rules for resolving priority of security interests.

Teaching Method

The teaching method for the course is a lecture-style format. However, the instructor expects that the class sessions will be interactive. This means that students will be expected to have read the assigned material prior to the class session, and be prepared to think critically about it, and comment upon it.


In terms of assessment and evaluation, the course will contain the following elements:

  • A final examination scheduled as part of the examination period.  Historically, this has been a closed-book examination, with materials provided by the examiner;
  • There will be an optional form of interim evaluation.

Course Materials

The required materials for this course are:

  • MacPherson, The Law of Secured Transactions: Cases, Materials & Perspectives (available online prior to the start of the course);
  • Personal Property Security Act (Manitoba) (available online prior to the start of the course);
  • Executions Act (Manitoba) (available online prior to the start of the course);
  • Bank Act (Canada) (available online prior to the start of the course).

The following textbooks are not required materials for the course, but may provide helpful supplementary reading for some students:

  • Ronald C.C. Cuming, Cathrine Walsh, and Roderick J. Wood, The Essentials of Canadian Law – Personal Property Security Law, 2nded. (Toronto:  Irwin Law, 2012);
  • Anthony J. Duggan andJacob S. Ziegel, Secured Transactions in Personal Property:  Cases, Text and Materials, 6thed. (Toronto:  Emond Montgomery Publications Ltd., 2013).
  • Richard H. McLaren, Secured Transactions in Personal Property in Canada,3rd ed., (Toronto:  Carswell, looseleaf)

Instructor(s): Darcy MacPherson

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