The Use of Trusts to Subvert the Law: An Analysis and Critique
41(3) Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 692–718 (2021)
27 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2020 Last revised: 1 Nov 2021
Date Written: November 21, 2019
This article closes a gap in the theory of trust law by supplying a normative account of the use of trusts to avoid and subvert other legal norms. While the use of trusts to subvert other law has been a major function thereof since the middle ages, a fact acknowledged by jurists, doctrinal and textbook authors for centuries, theorists of trust law have largely steered clear of this function. We evaluate the two most commonly proffered justifications for the use of trusts to subvert the law: that such use enhances users’ autonomy, and that trusts allow people to avoid or mitigate injustices found in law to which they are subject. We find that such justifications are not plausible in liberal legal systems, and so the subversion use of trusts should be, and usually is, curtailed, principally by anti-subversion norms found outside trust law.
Keywords: Trusts, Trust Law, Subversion, Avoidance, Legal Theory, Trusts Theory
JEL Classification: D14, D31, D63, D64, G23, K10, K11, K19, K35, K42, P14, P48
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation