Statutory Trusts and Trusty Statutes

James Lee, Man Yip

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article, we consider recent jurisprudence on ‘statutory trusts’, trusts which legislation provides are to arise in specific situations but which are do not share all the incidents of the private trust in equity. Several appellate courts in different jurisdictions have explored the phenomena in different contexts, from tax to school property, and identified that statutory trusts may share some but rarely all of the qualities of a conventional trust. We examine these cases, including Canada v Canada North Group Inc 2021 SCC 30, R (on the application of Day) v Shropshire Council [2023] UKSC 8. We then argue that applying the lessons from this body of case law is crucial for understanding reforms of the law of trusts, in the light of the New Zealand Trusts Act 2019 and the potential project of the Law Commission in England and Wales to modernise trusts law. The main contribution of this article is to demonstrate that statutory trusts are worthy of study in thinking about the limits and contours of trusts, and to set an agenda for further research.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalKing's Law Journal
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 Feb 2024


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