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Unit information: Trusts in 2015/16

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Unit name Trusts
Unit code LAWD30120
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Butler
Open unit status Not open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit covers the core principles of English trusts law, including: trusts and powers; charitable trusts; the beneficiary principle; variation of trusts; formalities and resulting trusts; management (investment, delegation, standard of care); breach of trust; fiduciary obligations.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit a successful student will be able to:

  • Identify the core components of the trust and the necessary requirements for a completely constituted trust
  • Identify the various types of trust and their application to a diverse range of factual scenarios
  • Apply relevant statutory provisions drawing on relevant case law in aid of interpretation and application
  • Engage in critical thinking on issues of theoretical significance in the law of trusts
  • Think practically about how the law will apply to the individual circumstances of a given scenario
  • Explain:
    • how trusts may be compared and contrasted with bailments, contracts, debts, agency, administration of estates and powers
    • the classification of trusts
    • the application of the Certainty rules to trusts
    • Certainty of intention, of subject matter and of objects
    • how the perpetuity rules affect trusts
    • the operation and advantages of charitable trusts
    • cy-pres
    • non-charitable purpose trusts
    • the dissolution of unincorporated associations
    • how trusts may be varied
    • the nature and operation of resulting trusts
    • formalities and sec 53 of the LPA
    • trustee investments (including ethical investments and investment policy)
    • delegation of trustees' powers
    • personal liability for breach of trust
    • the fiduciary nature of trusteeship and the rule that a trustee may not profit from the trust
  • State the law accurately
  • Apply legal principles to problem case scenarios
  • Think critically about ways in which the law is being, and might be, reformed

Teaching Information

30 Lectures and 8 Tutorials

Assessment Information

Formative assessment: students are required to do one, and may do two pieces of formative work.

Summative assessment: one three hour closed book examination in May/June, in which students answer 3 questions from a choice of 6 or 7 questions.

The examination includes both problem type and essay type questions, designed to assess both whether students are able to understand and apply the law, and whether they are able to think critically about it. The assessments will assess all of the intended learning outcomes for this unit.

Reading and References

Virgo, The Principles of Equity and Trusts, Watt, Trusts & Equity, or Moffatt, Trusts Law plus cases, articles and Reports as set out in the Tutorial Reading List