Different legal systems embrace conceptions of the trust

Breaking new scholarly ground and building on McGill’s reputation for teasing out the nuances of Common law and civil law, a recent conference at the Faculty of Law examined the what and how of trusts, those legal relationships in which property is held and administered – entrusted – for the benefit of others.

Speaking to the Montreal Gazette, conference organizer and director of the Quebec Research Centre of Private and Comparative Law Lionel Smith, noted that the codification of trusts in Quebec civil law acts as a model for countries around the world, especially those with civilian jurisdictions that may have previously conceived of the trust as “foreign to the logic of the law of property.”

The trust has become a subject of increasing attention because it is seen as an institution that can help attract foreign investment, Smith said, adding that the conference, with its focus on the operation of trusts in mixed legal systems, provided an exciting point of departure for the comparative study of trust law.

Row 1: John Langbein (Yale), Aline Grenon (Ottawa). Row 2: members of the audience. Row 3: Michael McAuley (McGill).

Photos: Lysanne Larose