The common law trust is an extremely flexible and useful legal institution, embraced by the commercial world internationally, its value evidenced by pale imitation in civil jurisdictions. However, the origin and development of the trust and its forerunner the medieval use are shrouded in mystery. Theories that have been put forward on the origins of the common law of trusts rely on identifying similarities with arrangements in older and contemporary legal systems. These include theories that the use developed from the Roman law concepts of Fideicommissum or Pia Causa, the Salmannus of the Salian Franks, the Shariah Waqf, or as a way to avoid the embarrassment of riches for Franciscan monks pledged to poverty.
This seminar will briefly consider these theories and propose a theory relying on contemporary documentation. This theory is that one of the most powerful international organisations of the medieval period, the Knights Templar, developed a trust-like arrangement for the same purposes that trusts are used for today- to benefit good purposes, provide for families, disguise property transactions, and avoid taxes.
About the Speaker:
Prof. Steven Gallagher, Professional Consultant, Professor of Practice in Law, CUHK LAW
The Law Society of Hong Kong has awarded this seminar 1 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) point.