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Commission produces revised Trusts Bill

11 December 2018

A revised and improved version of its poroposed Trusts (Scotland) Bill has been published by the Scottish Law Commission.

The new version complements and develops law reform recommendations the law reform body made in its 2014 Report on Trust Law. It updates the draft bill published in that report and makes various technical improvements and modifications.

The main way in which the bill has been amended is by providing for the necessary consequential amendments. An explanatory note sets out that although the bill it contains the usual power to make ancillary provision, including consequential provision, by subordinate legislation, "there is an obvious need to provide expressly for the consequences of repealing the Trusts (Scotland) Act 1921. In large measure, that is the purpose of the revisions in the revised bill".

Action has still to be taken to bring the proposals before the Scottish Parliament, but in a statement the Commission said: "We continue to believe that implementation of our recommendations for the modernisation of the law of trusts would be of great advantage to many people in today’s society. Key stakeholders, with whom we consulted, are strongly supportive of reform.

"As we pointed out in 2014, there are powerful reasons for reform. The current legislation is outdated; it goes back to 1921. It is archaic and difficult to work with.

"Trusts have numerous uses. Although some trusts are administered by professional trustees, many others are administered by lay people. They are commonly used to protect vulnerable people, such as young children whose parents have died. It is important that there is a modern and accessible legal framework so that trusts can be administered efficiently and fairly."

Lord Pentland, chairman of the Commission, added: "Trust law in Scotland needs to be brought up to date. I urge the Scottish Government to implement the detailed recommendations we made for improvement of the law in 2014. The recommendations in our report and our revised Trusts (Scotland) Bill are designed to bring the Scots law of trusts into the modern era. This is for the benefit of all citizens in their family and private lives as well as in their commercial enterprises."

Click here for the trusts project page and to access the revised bill. 

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