LAWSG134 International and Commercial Trusts Law

LAWSG134 International and Commercial Trusts Law
Credit value: 30 credits (15 ECTS, 300 learning hours)
Convenor: Ben McFarlane
Other Teachers: Charles Mitchell;
Paul S Davies;
Monica Bhandari
Teaching Delivery: 20 x 2-hour weekly seminars, 10 seminars per term, Term One and Two
Who may enrol: Any UCL Master’s student
Prerequisites: None
Must not be taken with: None
Qualifying module for: LLM in International Commercial Law;
LLM in International Banking and Finance Law;
LLM in Litigation and Dispute Resolution
Introductory video:
Practice Assessment: Take-home open book written examination
Final Assessment: One 8-hour unseen take-home examination (max. 6,000 words) (100%)
Module Overview
Module summary:

This module is a study of the use of trusts in the modern world of private estate planning and commercial transactions. Part I of the module covers the modern law of private trusts, that is, the use of the trust in managing family wealth, with an examination of developments in the ‘offshore world’. Part II covers the use of the trust in a variety of commercial transactions. Throughout Parts I and II, we also consider the conceptual nature of the trust and the way in which it does or does not form a coherent part of the law of property, or the law of obligations, or both.

Students with an interest in commercial law and litigation will enjoy this module. So will those who want to take an advanced private law course. The module has been designed to sit alongside the modules on Restitution of Unjust Enrichment and on Commercial Remedies, and students can take all three of these in conjunction without any significant repetition of material. Each week, students are expected to read cases, textbook chapters and articles for class discussion and/or to prepare answers to questions to be discussed in class. The teaching style is interactive: students are expected to ask and answer questions, make their own points, and debate issues with each other as well as the module teachers.

By the end of the module, students should have:

  • a solid understanding of the way that the trust device is used to manage family wealth and the various functions it may perform, such as to protect assets;
  • a solid grasp of the issues that arise in respect of controlling trustees’ powers, the rights of the objects of trusts, and the questions surrounding purpose trusts;
  • a solid understanding of the use of trusts in several important kinds of commercial transaction, and the differences that may exist between the rights, powers, and duties of trustees of commercial trusts as opposed to their family trust counterparts;
  • a sophisticated appreciation of the conceptual questions raised by the trust and the different ways in which those questions have been addressed.
Module syllabus:

The Modern Law of Private Trusts

  • Introduction: Trusts in Practice
  • Estate Planning and the Taxation Context
  • Recission and the ‘rule in Hastings-Bass’
  • Nominees and Shams
  • Rectification of Trusts
  • Protectors
  • Beneficiaries’ Rights to Information
  • Arbitration Clauses
  • Exemption Clauses

Trusts in Commercial Transactions

  • Varieties of Off-shore Trusts
  • Trusts in Private International Law
  • Trusts and Assignments of Choses in Action
  • Intermediated Holding of Securities
  • Bonds and Bond Trustees
  • Pension Trusts

The Conceptual Nature of the Trust

  • Comparative Law of Trusts
  • The Nature of a Trust
Recommended materials:

There is no textbook that covers the whole module. Success in the course requires a good understanding of key principles of trusts law, and so looking at a suitable trusts text will be helpful preparation for the course. Where reference is often made in the readings to a trusts text, the text used, written by Ben McFarlane and Charles Mitchell, is:

  • Hayton and Mitchell on the Law of Trusts & Equitable Remedies (14th edn, 2015).

Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, available at the beginning of term once students have enrolled.

Preliminary reading:

None is required, but if you are planning to take the course and have not previously studied the law of trusts, then it is strongly recommended that, if possible, you consult such a text before beginning the course. A recent and recommended example of such a text, written by two of the module tutors, Ben McFarlane and Charles Mitchell, is:

  • Hayton and Mitchell on the Law of Trusts & Equitable Remedies (14th edn, 2015).