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Trustee Delegation Act 1999

Background

6.The primary responsibility of trustees has traditionally been to hold property on behalf of the beneficiaries under the trust.  The trustee must safeguard the property and deal with it in the best interests of the beneficiaries.   It is a general rule of trust law that trustees, having voluntarily agreed to act as such, cannot delegate the exercise of their powers and duties.  The rule is subject to the following exceptions:

  • if the instrument establishing the trust specifically authorises delegation;

  • if delegation is permitted by all the beneficiaries (for this exception to apply, all the beneficiaries must be both mentally capable and at least eighteen years old);

  • if delegation is permitted under section 25 of the Trustee Act 1925 or section 3(3) of the Enduring Powers of Attorney Act 1985.

7.Following criticism of section 3(3) the Law Commission was asked to consider the operation of the present law.  It issued a consultation paper The Law of Trusts: Delegation by Individual Trustees CP No 118 in 1991.  The response to the paper supported the Commission’s provisional conclusion that section 3(3) was inappropriate for delegation by trustees in general but that special provision should be made for co-owners of land who are trustees.  In 1994 the Law Commission published its report The Law of Trusts: Delegation by Individual Trustees Law Com No 220.  In the report the Law Commission concluded that in relation to delegation by individual trustees generally the conditions imposed by section 25 of the Trustee Act 1925 were, subject to certain minor changes,  appropriate but that section 3(3) was inappropriate.  The Law Commission also concluded that some relaxation of the rules, designed to address the needs of beneficial co-owners of land, was justified.

THE Act

8.The Act has thirteen sections and a repeal Schedule.  The Act relates only to England and Wales.

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.

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