A GLOBAL APPROACH TO TRUSTS, NOW IN A NEW 2nd EDITION FROM OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers
Lawyers advising international clients on matters relating to trusts will welcome this new edition of ‘International Trust Laws’ from the Oxford University Press.
Here, presented is a truly global approach to the subject, across no less than thirty jurisdictions worldwide (we have counted them), with the largest number of cited cases emanating from the UK and the United States. Scotland and, predictably, Jersey also loom large in this thorough and erudite examination of virtually every conceivable aspect of trusts.
‘Trusts,’ says author, Professor Paolo Panico, ‘have established themselves as the main estate planning and wealth management arrangement of the western legal tradition.’ “Trusts” along with “trade” and “tea”, he adds, ‘were one of the “three Ts” traditionally associated with British civilization.’ Good thing that Henry VIII failed in his attempt to legislate them out of existence in 1535. The author also quotes a particularly famous comment on trusts as ‘perhaps the greatest and most distinctive achievement of English lawyers.’
Since the first edition of this distinguished work was published in 2010 (and for that matter, long before that), trusts have become notable for their popularity and ubiquity internationally. To the surprise of some, they have become popular under special legislation in what the author refers to as ‘jurisdictions with no historical contacts with the rules of English equity’, such as civil and mixed jurisdictions in Asia, Latin America and, recently, Eastern Europe.
Over fourteen chapters and more than 850 pages, Panico pursues this vast and complex subject with scholarly, yet cheerful thoroughness. ‘Trusts,’ he says, ‘have traditionally been used by individuals to establish rules governing the administration and enjoyment of their property after their death and in many cases, to retain a certain degree of control over said property during their lifetimes. There are of course, almost innumerable variations and ramifications pertaining to trusts which are carefully elucidated in this book.
Here then is an area of law which cannot fail to be taken seriously by serious players. So it is refreshing that we discover -- in the book’s list of dedications -- that it has been written, at least partially, in memory of the author’s family cat, a Manx; a presumably tail-less and engaging creature who sadly died before the book reached its definitive printed version.
However, a kindly fate intervened in the shape of Scotia, a kitten (presumably Scottish) who emerged from under a fence to provide further inspiration and encouragement as a ‘pisicotherapist’. (We neither). Fortunately, we are informed in the footnote that ‘pisica’ is the Romanian word for ‘cat!’
It cannot be coincidental that Chapter 13 of the book, in discussing the approaches taken in various jurisdictions to enforce non-charitable purpose trusts, refers to specific rules for exceptional cases, such as trusts for commercial transactions -- and trusts for the care of pets!
The book’s orientation is global, its subject matter vast and detailed. It covers analyses of the laws and the often parallel, as well as contrasting, approaches to trusts over a range of jurisdictions. It purports to identify trends and developments, explains the author, but does not attempt to provide ‘a comprehensive operational guidance to the laws of any particular jurisdiction.’ Its useful comparative approach, however, will obviously be of special interest to comparative lawyers, as well as academics and law students interested in, or specialising in, this rapidly expanding field. Furthermore, with its detailed index, table of contents, extensive footnoting and sixty pages of tables of cases and legislation, the book is reassuringly easy to navigate. Every international lawyer should have a copy.
The publication date is cited as at 2017.