The California Supremes On Land And Water

Why Land Surveyors Need To Understand Court Decisions (Case Law)

Land surveyors need to stay current with changes and clarifications in real property law. This is important because these changes impact how they practice land surveying and the advice they give to their clients.

Understanding the law isn’t always easy. Legal matters can be complicated to begin with, while judges and lawyers don’t always write clearly and succinctly. In addition, court decisions often blend arguments about legal procedures and jurisdiction with the arguments about land and water. That can make it difficult for a land surveyor to isolate the parts of a court decision that they are really interested in. However, this difficulty in understanding the law doesn’t excuse the land surveyor from his responsibility to know and understand the law as it relates to the land he surveys.

The Purpose Of California Supremes On Land And Water

California Supremes on Land and Water is digital magazine on California Supreme Court decisions. It’s goal is to comprehensively review California Supreme Court decisions related to land and water. In the magazine we review one California Supreme Court case in each article. We’ll review the decisions from the perspective of the boundary surveyor, and will try to isolate the legal arguments and principles that are most important to land surveyors from the other legal arguments in the decision.

The Types Of Cases Reviewed In California Supremes On Land And Water

The decisions we are going to review won’t only be related to boundary surveying. We look at all cases related to land development, land use planning, property taxes, land title and water rights. Why? The focus of most boundary surveyors has been focused for far too long and narrowly on only the boundary survey. Our clients (and the public) need us to be more broadly focused on all other areas of the real property system in our state. No other land professional is more qualified to serve as an expert consultant on these other areas. As we will see from these cases (including the first case reviewed in this article) these other areas of law greatly impact the land surveyor and his clients.

License and Contributions For California Supremes On Land And Water

All the articles in this series are released under the Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. That means you can copy, modify, combine, publish, and distribute the articles for non-commercial purposes.

If you would like to suggest topics for future articles, contribute content, ask questions, deliver feedback, or sponsor a future issue, please send an e-mail to We would really enjoy hearing from our readers.

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List of Issues

  1. December 2016: A Review of Mansell Versus The City of Long Beach (Part 1) [PDF Version]
  2. February 2017: A Review of Mansell Versus The City of Long Beach (Part 2) [PDF Version]
  3. September 2018: A Review Of Lynch Versus The California Coastal Commission [PDF Version]
  4. July 2020: A Review Of Citizens For Covenant Compliance Versus Anderson [PDF Version]