This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Law Notes Trusts and Equity Notes

Quistclose Trusts Notes

Updated Quistclose Trusts Notes

Trusts and Equity Notes

Trusts and Equity

Approximately 1016 pages

Equity notes fully updated for recent exams at Oxford and Cambridge. These notes cover all the LLB trusts cases and so are perfect for anyone doing an LLB in the UK or a great supplement for those doing LLBs abroad, whether that be in Ireland, Hong Kong or Malaysia (University of London).

These were the best Equity and Trusts Law notes the director of Oxbridge Notes (an Oxford law graduate) could find after combing through dozens of LLB samples from outstanding law students with the highest re...

The following is a more accessible plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Trusts and Equity Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:


Virgo pp.275-284

Quistclose Trusts

  • Where property transferred for a specific purpose, recipient must use it for that purpose or hold it on trust for transferer if purpose fails (important because transferer has priority over creditors)

  • Operation of Quistclose trusts:

    • Barclays Bank v Quistclose Investments: D lent money to X to enable it to pay a dividend but X went into liquidation without paying it and wished to use the money to pay its overdraft. HL held that X couldn't do that because money was held on trust for D to ensure that it was used for the stipulated purpose. Trust recognized for policy grounds that D didn’t intend to benefit X’s creditors.

    • Twinsectra v Yardley: C lent money to solicitor on behalf of D to retain the money until purchase of property. In breach of the undertaking the money was paid for other purposes. Held that the solicitor held the money on trust; Hoffmann said express trust, while Millett held it was a Quistclose trust categorized as resulting trust.

  • Requirements of Quistclose trusts:

    • Particular purpose (often a loan to pay borrower’s creditors)

    • Exclusive use for stated purpose

    • Borrower required to keep the property separate (really a factor of strong evidentiary significance rather than a requirement, as while it was there in Quistclose it wasn’t in Twinsectra)

    • Failure of purpose

      • Re EVTR: C deposited money for company to buy equipment; delivery failed and company received most of the payment back. This was held on trust for C.

  • Nature of Quistclose trusts:

    • Express trust for third party – orthodox view, per Lord Wilberforce in Quistclose, recognizing that the money was held on trust for the creditors following the failure of which a resulting trust is declared in favour of transferer. This is unsatisfactory as it doesn’t explain all cases, like those trusts for abstract purposes rather than beneficiaries (like Twinsectra)

    • Express trust for lender: recognized by Lord Hoffmann in Twinsectra, but inconsistent with view of express trusts (which enable lender to compel use for promised prupose, revoke loan though prupose was capable of being fulfilled, require borrower to use for another purpose etc. which are inconsistent with requirements of Quistclose trusts)

    • Beneficial interest in suspense: CoA in Twinsectra held the money was express NCPT in which case the beneficial interest would be in suspense until identified purpose had been carried out. Rejected by Lord Millett (unorthodox, purpose of resulting trust to fill gap where beneficial interest is not exhausted)

    • Express trust for borrower: no because then borrower would be entitled to free disposal of property

    • Loan subject to contractual undertaking: transfer of property to borrower but lender has contractual right enforceable in Equity to prevent it from being used for other purposes. Millett rejected:

      • Doesn’t provide solution where there is a non-contractual payment

      • Inconsistent with Wilberforce’s recognition in Quistclose that borrower is subject to fiduciary obligations

      • Doesn’t explain evidential significance of requirement that transferred property should be kept separate

      • Doesn’t explain how proprietary rights can arise from contractual relationships

    • Resulting trust from the outset: Per Lord Millett in Twinsetra – because transferer hadn’t exhausted beneficial interest. Thus money lent was held on resulting trust for Twinsectra subject to the solicitor’s power to apply it for a specified purpose.

      • Inconsistent with requirements for automatic resulting trusts (which arise only when property is transferred on failed express trust) because Lord Millett didn’t identify an express trust, and in many Quistclose cases the purpose had not failed so there was no failure of trust (but rather failure of reason for lending the money)

Burns, “The Quistclose Trust: Intention and the Express Private Trust”, (1992) 18 Monash U.L.R. 147

  • Application of Quistclose trusts proven highly beneficial to lenders and sometimes third party creditors

  • Re-evaluation needed after confusion describing it as illusory trust, purpose trust, constructive trust

Re Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust

  • Facts: AETT sponsored Australian arts organizations and donors had tax deductions if shown that AETT received donations unconditionally. Thus a standard form was devised where donors could state unconditionality and a preference for a particular recipient. All money were mixed into one account and funds weren’t marked with recipient. Was argued that a Quistclose trust arose where the arts organizations were entitled as beneficiaries to the funds that donors had earmarked for their use

  • Gummow J:

    • No Quistclose trust because no intention to create express trust (didn’t criticize Quistclose but pointed out that it was testimony to the ‘flexibility of the institution of the express trust’)

    • To speak of the Quistclose trust as a new legal institution rather than an example of the particular operation of principle is false

Barclays Bank v Quistclose

  • Facts: Rolls experienced financial problems (overdraft with Barclays of million pounds plus a dividend) so obtained a loan from Quistclose on the condition that the funds would only be used for paying the dividend. Prior to payment Rolls went into liquidation and Quistclose brought an action claiming that the funds were held on trust because they were paid for purpose. Since purpose failed, Quistclose alone was entitled to the funds.

  • Central issues:

    • Whether trust could be established when there was a debtor/creditor relationship (trust co-exist with contract)

      • Wilberforce: yes.

    • If so, what were the necessary criteria for the trust

      • Requirements of a express private trust: mutual intention of D and C was that the sum shouldn’t become Rolls’ assets but used exclusively for payment. Consequently if the dividend couldn’t be paid then the money was to be returned.

      • Wilberforce’s general principle: arrangements for payment of a person’s...

Buy the full version of these notes or essay plans and more in our Trusts and Equity Notes.

More Trusts And Equity Samples