The role of the trustee is central to an express trust. While trusts law generally considers that ultimate ownership rests with the beneficiaries, all of the hard work in the management of the trust is carried out by the trustees. This chapter examines some of the key debates in the legal treatment of trustees and their duties. There are three key issues identified here. First, whether or not there is an ‘irreducible core’ content to trusteeship, as has been suggested, and whether the law on excluding trustees’ liabilities undermines the very concept of there being such an irreducible core. Indeed, the remaining debates in relation to the concept of trustees that are considered in this chapter all seem to call into question whether there is such a core content. The second issue asks whether or not there is really such a thing as one single kind of trustee, especially given the number of types of trustee which are subject to statutory regulation of different kinds. The third debate considers the investment of trusts, and asks how the Trustee Act 2000 has impacted on the standards imposed on trustees but not on very important types of trusts like pension funds and unit trusts.
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