by Daniel J. Carr, Senior Lecturer in Private Law, Edinburgh Law School
Change is coming to trusts law in Scotland. November 2022 saw the introduction of the Trusts and Succession (Bill) (“the Bill”) in the Scottish Parliament, and on 15th September 2023 the Delegated Powers and Reform Committee (“the Committee”) published its broadly supportive Stage 1 Report on the Trusts and Succession (Scotland) Bill (“the S1 Report”). The Parliament is scheduled to hold the Stage 1 Debate on the Bill on 28th September 2023. It is, therefore, a good time to build upon several of the Committee’s recommendations to illustrate the potentially significant change in the role of the courts heralded by the Bill’s current form. The cumulative effect of the Bill’s provisions is to increase the scope for the courts’ involvement, potentially significantly altering the culture and approach to Scottish trusts by changing the courts’ terms of engagement with trusts and trustees. What happens in the evolution of that engagement will determine much of the substantive doctrine and practical content of trust law, and therefore the very nature of the Scottish trust as a legal institution.