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(p. 419) 13. Breach of trust: the personal liability of trustees 

(p. 419) 13. Breach of trust: the personal liability of trustees
(p. 419) 13. Breach of trust: the personal liability of trustees

Gary Watt

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date: 25 January 2020

The powers enjoyed by trustees are incidents of their legal ownership of the trust property, whereas their duties are incidents of their personal office. The beneficiary of any trust, even if it is a discretionary trust, has locus standi (which means ‘a place to stand’, used to describe a claimant’s right to be heard in a court of law) to bring an action against trustees for breach of trust. Common law concepts such as causation are increasingly being introduced to limit trustees’ liability for breaches of bare trusts in commercial contexts. This chapter examines the nature and potential extent of trustees’ liability for breach of their duties, along with the remedies that are available against trustees when they breach their trust. It also looks at defences that may be available to trustees in breach and, in the absence of defences, whether trustees may be relieved of personal liability.

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