Todd & Wilson's Textbook on Trusts & Equity 12e
This section provides a number of links to web information which should be useful for your study of trusts law.
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom:
In October 2009 the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom opened following implementation of the Constitutional Reform Act of 2005.
Its website can be found following the link below:
As its website explains, ?the Supreme Court is the final court of appeal in the UK for civil cases. It hears appeals in criminal cases from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It hears cases of the greatest public or constitutional importance affecting the whole population?.
Generally, the Supreme Court, as well as being the final court of appeal, plays an important role in the development of United Kingdom law. It was created on account of growing focus being placed on the separation of powers within the Constitution, favouring distinct judicial and legislative bodies. Thus, there was growing enthusiasm for UK's superior appellate court being separate and distinct from ?the House of Lords?, thus marking an epic moment in the history of the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords which has evolved over a period of 600 years or more from the work of the royal court.
As an appeal court, the Supreme Court cannot consider a case unless a relevant order has been made in a lower court. As far as we are concerned studying Trusts, the Supreme Court is important on account that it is ?the final court of appeal for all United Kingdom civil cases, and criminal cases from England, Wales and Northern Ireland?.
More information on the Supreme Court; its role; its members and their appointment etc. can be found on the website.
Along with the Home Office (detailed below), the Cabinet Office may not sound like an obvious location for useful information for students of trusts law. But in a period which has been one of intense and extensive law reform in the sphere of trusts law, beyond the courts, and clustering around policy movements and legislative change, it is important for all law students, and for trusts students especially given this, to appreciate that the Cabinet Office lies at the very centre of government. Indeed, along with the Treasury, the Cabinet Office provides the 'head office' of government. Generally, the Cabinet Office has an overarching purpose of "making government work better", and this can be seen manifested in three core functions designed to achieve this; namely supporting the Prime Minister; supporting the Cabinet; and strengthening the Civil Service. Specifically, trusts students will encounter '"Private Action, Public Benefit", the Cabinet Office's review of the law and regulation of the not-for-profit sector', because within the Cabinet Office is the "Office of the Third Sector" (http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/third_sector/law_and_regulation.aspx).
This latter Office (as its site explains) works closely alongside the Charity Commission, ensuring that "the legal framework helps charities to develop their activities and services and to play an increasing role for good in society, while giving confidence to the public about the integrity of charities". The Office then explains that in furtherance of this, in terms of regulating charitable activity, it is responsible for: the reform of charity law (including the Charities Act 2006); monitoring new legislation and changes to existing legislation to ensure that charities are not disadvantaged in any way; and also laws governing public charitable collections.
This is the website of the body which is responsible for the regulation of charitable organisations in England and Wales and also for their registration as such. The website contains a wealth of information about the Commission and its role as regulator and about the practicalities and underpinnings of registration. The home page allows you to go straight to the Register of Charities (allowing searches for details of all registered charities) and a number of publications including the Commission's own publications and also those from other sources which relate to the state and reform of charity law.
This is a site providing 'user friendly' guidance to the courts of England and Wales, their structure and locations. While much of the information is oriented towards those who are having to interact with the courts rather than study their judgments, it is a site at which references to new judgments can be found. Indeed, it is here that very recent judgments which await reporting are posted, including those with the 'EWHC', 'EWCA' and 'UKHL' citations which you will be familiar with. For trusts students, there are also links to the websites of the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal and the Commercial Court etc.
The Home Office may not sound like an obvious location for useful information for students of trusts law, and its home page is dominated by references to crime and policing; justice and victims; drugs and terrorism; and immigration etc. However, 'inside the Home Office' at the pages 'Community and Race' it is a different story. This provides up-to-date information on a variety of initiatives which relate to community, citizenship and 'participation', including developing 'active communities in the regions', 'civil renewal', 'developing volunteering and community participation' etc. It is here that a comprehensive overview of current policy movements in charity law can be found, and it is an important companion site for the Charity Commission's one.
The Law Commission of England and Wales:
The Law Commission website is one of the clearest and user-friendly 'Government publication' sites, and it is one of the most important for the study of trusts law. The site's home page provides easily identifiable links to information about the Commission, its background and its role in law reform, with the 'What's New' section being a valuable source of up-to-date information on the Law Commission's work. The Publications section will direct you to key policy papers in Property and Trust Law. There is also a really good section which provides 'links' to other sites, including those detailed here, and also those of the Department of Constitutional Affairs, the Legal Services Research Centre, and the Scottish Law Commission, and a number of other Government bodies and Departments (such as the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, and the Crown Prosecution Service).
The United Kingdom Parliament:
Links from this home page will take you to extensive further information about Parliament's structures and its activities, including a directory of MPs, Peers and Offices, and up-to-date information of the business of 'the day'. Linking both to the House of Commons' pages and those of the House of Lords, it is from here that Reports of all Parliamentary Committees can be found along with publication of all Bills before Parliament, and the debates of the Houses recorded in Hansard.