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Blackwell v Blackwell

[1929] AC 318

Case summary last updated at 24/02/2020 15:59 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Blackwell v Blackwell

The testator gave a large sum of money in his will to certain of his friends, stating that they should hold it on trust for purposes that he would communicate to them (half-secret trust: it was written thus in his will). The question that arose was whether the trust obligation was binding on the `trustees'. HL held that in principle half-secret trusts ARE enforceable, even though they bypass the Wills Act 1837 (though different rationales were supplied). However in this particular case the trusts couldn’t be enforced because the terms of the trusts hadn’t been communicated to the trustees before the testator’s death. 
 
Lord Sumner: Half secret trusts are simply normal inter-vivos trusts established by a normal declaration of express trust. He adopted this instead of the problematic “instrument of fraud” theory (see above). Even half secret trusts cannot always be explained as express trusts since there isn’t always a declaration of trust. Again, CT is the only explanation for their existence. See Oakley

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