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This subject provides the opportunity for students to explore in depth the theoretical and practical issues concerning trusts law. This subject builds upon JD compulsory subject LAWS50033 Equity and Trusts by providing students with the opportunity to deepen and intensify their comprehension and analysis by focusing in particular on two specific contexts: the domestic arena of private estate planning, and commercial transactions.
In the context of private estate planning, the subject will examine how private trusts are utilised to manage family wealth, including in the ‘offshore’ world. Among the issues to be explored are the theoretical and practical aspects of how trusts may be used to protect assets, the control of trustees’ discretions, the impeachment of the exercise of trustee powers, and the rights of objects of trusts.
In the commercial context, the subject will examine the extent to which trusts and related concepts underlie, constrain, or promote commercial devices. Among the issues to be explored are the theoretical and practical aspects of creditor trusts, unit trusts, constructive trusts, and equitable assignments.
By comparing commercial trusts with private trusts, we will also be asking whether there are any significant differences in the way in which the trust device is used, in particular in relation to the rights, powers, and duties of trustees and beneficiaries. Finally, we will consider some issues surrounding international aspects of the trusts. This may include trusts in the conflict of laws or trusts in civil law jurisdictions.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has completed this subject should have an advanced theoretical, practical, and comparative knowledge of the law of trusts. In particular, such a student will be able to:
- Demonstrate an appreciation of basic and advanced trusts concepts and conceptions, including issues and debates surrounding them, and the ability to identify and apply these concepts and conceptions in real-life scenarios
- Demonstrate an ability to engage in sophisticated critical analysis concerning the inherent propriety of various trusts concepts and their suitability for application in the modern-day practical world
- Demonstrate a high-level appreciation of how doctrinal scholarship and research may shape and guide the development of trusts
- Demonstrate the ability to identify, describe, and discuss theoretical and practical aspects of trusts law and to use effective written communication skills in structuring and presenting analyses, arguments, and conclusions
- Demonstrate a deep awareness and appreciation for how trusts law rules and doctrines may be 'localised' or adapted to the cultural or economical ethos of particular jurisdictions.
On successful completion of this subject, students should have developed their skills in the following areas:
- Specialist and contextual understanding, interpretation, synthesis, and critical analysis of judicial decisions, statutory provisions, and other primary source materials relating to trusts law,
- Specialist and contextual understanding, interpretation, synthesis, and critical analysis of academic literature on trusts law,
- Awareness and appreciation of the conceptual limits of the trust, including the roles and limitations to the roles of the settlor, trustee, and beneficiary under a subsisting trust, and their suitability in the commercial world,
- Knowledge and understanding of the way the trust device is used to manage family wealth and underlies certain types of commercial transactions,
- Appreciate the uses and abuses it may be put to use in those contexts,
- Awareness and appreciation of the similarities and differences in relation to the rights and duties of beneficiaries and trustees between the domestic and commercial contexts, and
- Knowledge and understanding of the international potential of trusts and related issues.
Last updated: 11 November 2022