The first major change to trust law legislation in over 60 years, the Trusts Bill, has received a first reading in Parliament.
The Trusts Bill was introduced on 1 August 2017 and was the result of a major investigation of trust law by the Law Commission.
The objective of the bill is to clarify and simplify core trust principles and essential obligations for trustees to improve understanding about how trusts operate. The Trustee Act 1956 is widely recognised to be outdated and no longer reflective of current trust practice.Many of the provisions are difficult to understand and need to be read alongside a considerable body of case law.
It new bill aims to preserve the flexibility of the common law, allowing trust law to continue to evolve through the courts. A purpose of the bill is to be enabling and avoid prescription in order to accommodate the wide range of circumstances in which trusts are used.
The bill has been referred to the Justice Committee, which is scheduled to report by 5 June 2018.
Once enacted, the Trusts Bill will come into force 18 months after receiving the Royal Assent.