Time and date: 1-2pm, Wednesday 13 July 2022. 

Location: Law School Board Room (W353), Level 3, Forgan Smith Building, The University of Queensland, St Lucia.

Zoom: https://uqz.zoom.us/j/86372409206

About the speaker

Professor Irit Samet is a Professor in the Dickson Poon School of Law at King’s College, London, which she joined in 2008. She was previously a Lecturer in Law at Mansfield College, Oxford (2006-2007), and a lecturer at the University of Essex (2008). She read law and philosophy in Israel and completed her doctorate at Oxford. She joins us this year as a visiting scholar at the TC Beirne School of Law and as a visiting fellow of the Australian Centre of Private Law. Her main research interests lie in the Law of Equity, Property Law, and private law theory.

Professor Samet is the author of Equity: Conscience Goes to Market (Oxford, OUP, 2018), an editor of Philosophical Foundations of the Law of Equity (OUP, 2019) and has published extensively in leading international law journals, such as the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies and the Modern Law Review. She teaches Equity and Trusts, Property Law and the Philosophy of Property law as an aspect of Jurisprudence.


At the heart of modern law of trusts lies a glaring paradox: how can a legal institution that is repeatedly referred to by the courts as rooted in a duty of conscience has become infamous for helping individuals to achieve goals that are patently unconscionable? With every brazen leak of documents from offshore jurisdictions and the ensuing investigation into the financial affairs of the super affluent, it becomes clear that the trust is now a widely used vehicle for evading duties owed by property owners to creditors, dependants and the community. A dangerous trend of importing practices and trust structures from offshore jurisdictions to established onshore trust regimes threatens to further accelerate the corrosion in the reputation of the trust. Any comprehensive solution for the ensuing acute legitimacy problem for trusts must be multi-systemic. In this paper, I focus on one aspect: the normative basis for the trust obligation. Looking at the conceptual edifice that underlies the trustee’s obligations, the paper argues that what worked for the problems that afflicted traditional trust relationship may not be suitable for facing the challenges of modern trusts. However, the way in which the concept of ‘conscience’ functions in this area of the law has a potential to bring change. In particular, it can help us build the necessary moral authority for recent judicial interventions that aim to undo the damage of reckless offshore trust forms. 


About Australian Centre for Private Law Events

The mission of the ​Australian Centre for Private Law is to foster the development and understanding of the private law through advanced theoretical, doctrinal, empirical and historical research, and the dissemination of that research through education and professional outreach. By supporting the work of its Fellows, the ACPL seeks to promote research in all areas of private law and to establish itself as a research centre of national and international importance. The core initiatives of ACPL are:

Research: To advance a deeper understanding of the structure, principles and policies of the private law through advanced theoretical, comparative, and empirical analysis.

Education: To promote, facilitate and disseminate the results of that research for the benefit of Australia’s social and economic fabric.

Professional Outreach: To engage the judiciary and members of the legal profession in discussion about the values, goals and methods of private law and the respective roles of the judiciary, the legal profession and the academy in the interpretation and reform of private law.

The ACPL embraces all branches of private law, including the law of contract, torts, trusts, equity, property, unjust enrichment, including theoretical and jurisprudential dimensions and contextual applications thereof.


Level 3, Forgan Smith Building, The University of Queensland, St Lucia
And via Zoom.
Law School Board Room (W353)