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LAW2263 : Equity and Trusts

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Derek Whayman
  • Lecturer: Dr Christine Beuermann, Dr Ruth Houghton, Dr Conall Mallory
  • Owning School: Newcastle Law School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


1) To develop knowledge and understanding of the fundamental principles of the equity, with a focus on the law of express and constructive trusts, including trust and fiduciary duties.

2) To understand the use of the trust in its original social context and in the modern context, both domestic and commercial.

3) To understand how the trust operates and how it must operate within these constraints.

4) To develop critical views on the aims, approaches and doctrine equity takes.

Outline Of Syllabus

Introduction – What is equity; equity as assisting the common law

Formal and substantive requirements to constitute and administer the different types of trust (including the three certainties and the beneficiary principle and its exceptions, i.e. various purpose trusts)

The nature and purpose of fiduciary duties

Remedies against intermeddlers with trusts

The constructive trust over the family home (with a small section on resulting trusts)

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:0060:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities100:305:00MCQs as to (i) basic learning outcomes and (ii) ‘gotchas’; the latter feeding into further study.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching51:005:00Seminars. In the event of pandemic conditions, revert to videoconferencing.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00In the event of pandemic conditions, revert to videoconferencing.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1051:00105:00Reading, revision and seminar preparation
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lecturing will be used to provide an overview of both matters that need to be known in outline (where little further reading is required) and also matters that need to be known in detail, where it must be followed up with self-study from textbook chapters and academic articles.

Self-study is critical in order for the learner to grasp the detail and to spend time considering the material in depth and working through problems and constructing arguments at a slow enough pace for deep learning.

Seminars focus on checking the effectiveness of that self-study, where learners can check they have understood the material properly, clear up misunderstandings and explore, in discussion, the further possibilities from where they have got to.

Learners should close the feedback loop by reconsidering the seminar material they have not fully understood or completed after a seminar in further self-study.

Drop-in / surgery / office / feedback, guidance and consultation hours are a facility for another way of closing the feedback loop. Here, individual feedback and discussion is provided for matters there was insufficient time to deal with in a seminar, or where the issue was specific to a minority of learners such that the seminar had to more on.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Digital Examination1352A752 of 4 questions. Requires assessment by examination. In the event of pandemic conditions, revert to take-home exam
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M251,500 word essay
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Examination provides an opportunity to demonstrate understanding and skills. In particular, the medium is particularly suitable for problem solving and, further, it allows candidates to demonstrate intended learning outcomes across a broad range of topics within the syllabus.

The coursework is justified in that it enables candidates to demonstrate in particular the outcome of research, written communication of a sophisticated order and the ability to show depth of understanding together with a range of cognitive skills.

As noted in the assessment framework, the use of a low-stakes summative assessment can be more beneficial than a formative assessment, hence the arrangement. The students are incentivised to complete it because it carries weight through to the finals, but not so much weight that it can be highly damaging if things go wrong. Thus its feedback element is a big reason for this arrangement.

Reading Lists