Modernising Trust Law for a Global Britain

Current project status

  • Initiation: Could include discussing scope and terms of reference with lead Government Department
  • Pre-consultation: Could include approaching interest groups and specialists, producing scoping and issues papers, finalising terms of project
  • Consultation: Likely to include consultation events and paper, making provisional proposals for comment
  • Policy development: Will include analysis of consultation responses. Could include further issues papers and consultation on draft Bill
  • Reported: Usually recommendations for law reform but can be advice to government, scoping report or other recommendations

Reforming outdated trust laws to enhance Britain’s competitiveness. This project has not yet started.

The problem

A trust is a way of managing assets. Trusts are used widely by people and businesses.

Trusts are a significant source of business for the UK and many international corporations and individuals use English law and courts to govern their arrangements.

However, English trust law hasn’t been comprehensively reviewed since 1925. Meanwhile, places like Singapore and New Zealand have updated their laws and been creative in maintaining a healthy trust market.

A number of leading stakeholder groups have outlined various technical problems and limitations with our current trust law. Other countries have also come up with new trust and trust-like structures to meet demand.

Not all of these structures may be suitable for this jurisdiction, but there is a strong argument that their advantages and disadvantages should be evaluated.

The project

This project came out of our 13th Programme of Law Reform.

A reform project reviewing the law of trusts would consider an outdated area of the law, see how the law can be modernised and help ensure Britain’s trust services are competitive in the global market.

The project will be a scoping study investigating which areas of trust law would be suitable for further review and reform.

Next steps

This project will start as and when resources allow. It is expected to last between 12 and18 months.

Project details

Area of law

Property, family and trust law


Professor Nicholas Hopkins