The University of Southampton

LAWS2041 Property Law 2: Equity and Trusts

Module Overview

Property Law 2: Equity and Trusts examines the origin of equity, and the principles associated with equity and trusts. It accesses critically the application of those principles to factual circumstances; the manner in which these principles affect people in their everyday lives; how those principles are to be reconciled with the principles governing the creation of express trusts, the imposition of trusts by law; how equity and trusts law adapt to changing social conditions; and how other legal models challenge the traditional understanding of equity.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• to give you the opportunity to explore and understand the dynamic role of equity and, in particular, the trust, so that you can develop an understanding of the principles of the trust, the nature of the office of trustee and of the beneficial interests behind the trust; • to provide you with exposure to legal principles derived from a variety of legal instruments including primary materials found in reported cases and statutes and in some secondary materials of leading academic discourse; • to enable you to develop skills of legal analysis and problem solving in Equity and Trusts Law; • to encourage you to evaluate the flexibility of equity and the trust and its responsiveness to the ever changing circumstances of an evolving society.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • what a trust is and how it operates in England and Wales
  • the informal acquisition of an interest in property through a resulting or constructive trust
  • the formal requirements for the establishment of a valid express trust, both inter vivos and on death
  • the enforceability of trusts which have not been properly constituted
  • the problem with purpose trusts and their enforceability
  • the nature of the fiduciary relationship and the protection of the beneficial interest
  • powers and duties of the trustees and remedies for any breach of duty
  • tracing and the liability of third parties in respect of trust property
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • identify and locate primary and secondary (including electronic) legal sources relevant to equity and trusts law
  • analyse and assess legal materials by way of statutory interpretation, case analysis and review of secondary materials to identify, comprehend and evaluate fundamental legal principles and their impact upon contemporary issues
  • from a given factual scenario: - identify the relevant legal facts and legal issues raised; - explain the law applicable to the identified legal issues; - apply the relevant law to the given facts; - examine uncertainties in the law and evaluate alternative approaches; - provide adequate support by reference to legal authority.
  • produce effectively reasoned and structured responses to a given statement or proposition
  • communicate in writing an understanding of equity and trusts law, its application to the solution of legal problems and the formulation of effective argument with clear and accurate use of language and legal terminology
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • analyse, interpret and evaluate complex material
  • effectively apply knowledge to solve practical problems
  • formulate an effectively reasoned and structured argument
  • communicate and present written arguments supported by appropriate evidence and demonstrating an appreciation of academic integrity


The module is structured and divided into the following topics: • Origin and nature of trusts and express trust; • Express trust; • Beneficiary principle and unincorporated associations; • Formalities; • Duties of trustees and breach of trust; • Resulting trusts; • Constructive trusts and fiduciary obligations; • Tracing; and • Third party liability.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • Lectures (two-hour weekly lectures and two-hour fortnightly seminars) to provide you with knowledge, information and critique of equity and trusts law within a structured context; • Pre-prepared tutorial work focused on developing your problem solving skills. Learning activities include: • Directed reading assisted by reading lists; • Accessing electronic resources in the form of legislation, journals and case materials; • Reviewing and critically evaluating complex material; • Tackling and solving factual legal problems; • Constructive participation in group discussions and exercises; • Managing tasks within a given timeframe.

Follow-up work18
Preparation for scheduled sessions30
Completion of assessment task10
Wider reading or practice30
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Glister, J and Lee, J (2015). Hanbury & Martin Modern Equity. 

Blackstone. Property Statutes. 





MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2.25 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2.25 hours) %


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2.25 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the core/recommended text as appropriate. J Glister and J Lee, Hanbury & Martin Modern Equity, 20th ed. (Sweet & Maxwell, 2015) Blackstone’s Property Statutes (OUP, annual editions)

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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