Equity and Trusts - LAWS5980

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 6 15 (7.5) Hayley Gibson checkmark-circle


This module introduces the student to the jurisprudence of equity and trusts. Building on knowledge and understanding developed in LAWS3160/LAWS5316 Introduction to Property Law and LAWS5990 Land Law, but also LAWS6500 Law of Contract and private law more generally, the module examines equity's contributions to private law and jurisprudence. The module is designed to challenge the somewhat dull image of this area of law and to encourage a critical and imaginative understanding of the subject. Departing from conventional approaches, this module does not study equity merely in regards to its role as originator of the trust. Equity is instead acknowledged to be what it really is a vital component of the English legal system, a distinct legal tradition possessing its own principles and method of legal reasoning, and an original and continuing source of legal development in the sphere of remedies. The law of equity and trusts is contextualised within a historical and jurisprudential inquiry, providing a wider range of possible interpretations of its development and application. What then becomes central to the module's approach is the complex interrelation of law with ethical, political, economic and jurisprudential considerations, and of that between legal outcomes, pragmatic concerns and policy objectives.


Contact hours

Total study hours: 150
Contact hours: 29
Private study hours: 121


All single and joint honours Law programmes

Method of assessment

1Main assessment methods

The module is assessed by 30% coursework and 70% examination, as follows:

Essay – 2500 words
Exam – 2 hours

Reassessment methods

The module will be reassessed by like-for-like reassessment of failed individual component(s) of assessment.

Indicative reading

• M. Bryan and V. Vann, Equity and Trusts in Australia (Cambridge University Press, 2012)
• S. Degeling and J. Edelman (eds.), Equity in Commercial Law (Lawbook Co, 2005)
• M. Fortier, The Culture of Equity in Early Modern Law (Ashgate, 2005)
• J. Garton, Moffat's Trusts Law (Cambridge University Press, 6th ed., 2015)
• M. Halliwell, Equity and Good Conscience (Old Bailey Press, 2nd ed., 2004)
• A. Hudson, Understanding Equity & Trusts (Routledge, 5th ed., 2014)
• D. Klinck, Conscience, Equity and the Court of Chancery in Early Modern Law (Ashgate, 2010)
• F. Maitland, Equity, also the Forms of Action at Common Law: Two Courses of Lectures (Cambridge University Press, 1929)
• C. Mitchell and P. Mitchell (eds.), Landmark Cases in Equity (Hart Publishing, 2012)
• C. Stebbings, The Private Trustee in Victorian England (Cambridge University Press, 2002)
• S. Waddams, Dimensions of Private Law: Categories and Concepts in Anglo-American Legal Reasoning (Cambridge University Press,
• G. Watt, Equity Stirring: The Story of Justice Beyond Law (Hart Publishing, 2009)
• S. Worthington, Equity (Oxford University Press, 2nd ed., 2006)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the concepts, principles and rules relating to equity and trusts;
2. Apply detailed knowledge and understanding of the jurisprudence of equity, the interaction between the common law and equity and the
contributions equity has made, and continues to make, to English law;
3. Demonstrate detailed knowledge and understanding of the historical development of Equity and Trusts in a social, political, and economic
4. Communicate an appreciation of the evolution of the key themes in equity and trusts in terms of their use in specific historical and
contemporary developments;
5. Demonstrate an understanding of the development, and current state, of the law of equity and trusts from a comparative perspective (e.g.
with other common law jurisdictions);
6. Engage in a critical discussion and evaluation of the benefits of using equity and trusts as legal strategies (in the context of other legal
strategies e.g. restitution).

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Present relevant knowledge and understanding in the form of reasoned argument;
2. Critically evaluate an area of law both doctrinally and in terms of its socio-economic and other consequences and from an historical
3. Undertake further research from a variety of sources informing a sustained and detailed argument.
4. Recognise potential alternative solutions to particular problems and make a reasoned choice between them.
5. Independently acquire knowledge and understanding in areas, both legal and non-legal.
6. Demonstrate an independence of mind and an ability to critically challenge received understandings and conclusions in their writing.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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