Purpose Trusts: Doctrine and Policy

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This article will explore the possibility of English law recognising non-charitable purpose trusts. First, as a matter of trust law doctrine, it will be argued that there is nothing inherently problematic with a noncharitable purpose trust. This raises the question of whether there exists an 'irreducible core' of a trust. It will be submitted that the irreducible core of a trust consists of the legal owner of property being prevented from exploiting the benefit of the trust property, and, as a corollary, the trustee's duty of accountability. But this duty of accountability need not necessarily require a beneficiary. Therefore, as a matter of trust law doctrine, there is no conceptual difficulty with a non-charitable purpose trust. Second, the policy arguments surrounding non-charitable purpose trusts will be addressed. There are a number of problematic features of the non-charitable purpose trust, suggesting that there may be good reason for English law to reject their recognition. But the practicality of this suggestion will be queried. Finally, the future of the non-charitable purpose trust will be considered, and a suggestion will be made as to how to frame the debate over the correct approach for English law.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5235/09615768.24.1.102

Publication date: March 1, 2013

More about this publication?
  • Until 2007 the King's Law Journal was known as the King's College Law Journal. It was established in 1990 as a legal periodical publishing scholarly and authoritative Articles, Notes and Reports on legal issues of current importance to both academic research and legal practice. It has a national and international readership, and publishes refereed contributions from authors across the United Kingdom, from continental Europe and further afield (particularly Commonwealth countries and USA). The journal includes a Reviews section containing critical notices of recently published books.
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