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Study information


Module titleTrusts
Module codeLAW3041C
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Mr Nick Pointon (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module introduces students to the law of equity and trusts, including its development, practice and role in shaping various trust instruments and restitutionary claims. It explores and critically appraise how these concepts are applied in modern commercial contexts and changing social conditions. It will also focus on providing students with an understanding of how to use trust instruments and models of ownership effectively, as well as their importance and function in modern-day practice.

The module meets the subject requirements for the Law Society and Bar Standards Board foundations of legal knowledge subject, Equity and Trusts.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module’s aims are:

  • to give you an understanding of the origin and development of the traditional concepts of equity, trusts and restitution, as well as an appreciation of how these essential tools are utilised in various ways in modern-day commercial contexts;
  • to teach you the varied terminology, theoretical foundations, core principles and key rules of equity and trusts;
  • to provide you with the opportunity to interrogate and evaluate the essential role of trusts in a number of modern-day commercial, non-commercial and private client contexts;
  • to provide you with the opportunity to evaluate the efficacy and issues inherent in different trust instruments and models of ownership;
  • to equip you with an understanding of the essential role of equitable remedies, proprietary claims and restitution, and their underlying principles and concepts;
  • to give you an opportunity to critique and potentially manipulate their use in practice;
  • to develop your understanding of the dynamic nature of law, building on study throughout your course of study (and especially in relation to law of contract and law of property);
  • to develop your skills of commercial awareness, legal research and the written and oral communication of legal analysis.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate detailed knowledge of the different types of legal obligation arising under the law relating to equity trusts and restitution;
  • 2. Explain and critically apply the main principles and rules governing equity, trusts and restitution;
  • 3. Critique and evaluate developments in the laws relating to equity, trusts and restitution.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge and understanding of a range of legal concepts and principles;
  • 5. Structure and develop effective legal research, analysis and argumentation;
  • 6. Critically apply the law to factual scenarios;
  • 7. Communicate technical legal information and argument effectively and concisely.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Take responsibility for independent learning;
  • 9. Identify retrieve and use a range of library-based and electronic resources with little guidance;
  • 10. Manage time independently and efficiently in preparing for learning activities and assessments.

Syllabus plan

Whilst the precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover all or some of the following topics:


  • Introduction to equity, trusts and the concept of beneficial ownership
  • Classification of trusts and distinction of trusts from other legal concepts
  • Creation of trust instruments
  • Requirements of certainty in relation to trust instruments
  • Trustee duties and powers
  • Breach of trust
  • Investment trusts
  • Private wealth management and the offshore trust industry
  • Charitable trusts
  • Constructive and resulting trusts
  • Equitable remedies
  • Fiduciary obligations
  • Pallant v Morgan and proprietary estoppel
  • Proprietary and restitutionary claims
  • Remedies and defences in restitution

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activity1818 x 1-hour lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching activity25.517 x 1.5-hour teacher-led seminars
Guided independent study816 x 0.5-hour peer-led ‘law firm’ meetings
Guided independent study85Individual reading and lecture preparation
Guided independent study95Seminar preparation
Guided independent study16Formative assessment preparation
Guided independent study52.5Summative assessment preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written legal advice1,500 words1-10Individual written feedback, with supplementary oral feedback available

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay603,000 words1-5-7-10Individual written feedback, with supplementary oral feedback available
Written legal advice402,500 words1, 2, 4-10Individual written feedback, with supplementary oral feedback available

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay (3,000 words)1-10August/September reassessment period
Written legal adviceWritten legal advice (2,500 words)1, 2, 4-10August/September reassessment period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:


Graham Virgo, The Principles of Equity and Trusts (4th edn, OUP 2020)


Gary Watt, Trusts and Equity (9th edn, OUP 2020)


Jonathan Garton, Rebecca Probert & Gerry Bean, Moffat's Trusts Law: Text and Materials (7th edn, CUP 2020)

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

The Law Society (News updates on Trusts):

Key words search

Trusts; creation of trusts; powers; express trusts; resulting trusts; constructive trusts; fiduciary duties; powers of investment; breach of trust; commercial trusts; charitable trusts; unjust enrichment; restitution; equitable remedies; proprietary claims.

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

LAW2004C Contract Law

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date