What is a Trust?

Trusts Quarterly Review, Vol. 7, pp. 5-13, 2009

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 09/21

22 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2009

See all articles by Mark Leeming

Mark Leeming

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: April 15, 2009


A trust is a relationship, not a legal person, popular misconceptions (reinforced by statutory fictions) notwithstanding. The trust relationship is between trustee, beneficiaries, property and third parties. It interacts with other aspects of the legal system, notably, common law and statute. This article examines some aspects of how that interaction occurs. The first half addresses how common law has long recognised trusts, and focusses in particular on assignments of choses in action prior to the judicature legislation, with a view to assessing what the real impact of that legislation was. Conversely, the second half analyses how the equitable rules in the law of trusts accommodate prohibitions and restrictions at common law and in statute upon the trust property.

Keywords: trust, equity, judicature act, chose in action, Atlay, Field Code, assignment, chancery reforms

JEL Classification: K10, K30, K11, K22

Suggested Citation

Leeming, Mark, What is a Trust? (April 15, 2009). Trusts Quarterly Review, Vol. 7, pp. 5-13, 2009; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 09/21. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1386022

Mark Leeming (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006

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