University of Technology Sydney

70517 Equity and Trusts

Requisite(s): 70317c Real Property AND 70327 Introduction to Property and Commercial Law
The lower case 'c' after the subject code indicates that the subject is a corequisite. See definitions for details.
Anti-requisite(s): 70516 Equity and Trusts


This subject explores the range of doctrines and remedies that were originally developed in the Courts of Chancery in England to ameliorate the harshness of the common law and provide remedies where none were available at law. Equitable principles are all fundamentally grounded in the concept of 'conscience'. Despite the antiquity of these doctrines, equitable principles continue to have enormous practical relevance, particularly in modern commercial litigation. Equitable doctrines and principles reach into many areas of legal practice: family law, superannuation, wills and probate, property law and intellectual property, to name a few. But it is in civil litigation that a solid understanding of equitable principles and remedies is essential: no litigation lawyer can afford not to be aware of how to apply equitable principles to seek the valuable remedies available in equity. The subject also examines the equitable concept of the 'trust' whereby an interest in property is legally owned by one party, but held for the benefit of another person or purpose permitted by law. Trusts are commonly used in both private arrangements and increasingly for commercial purposes. The popularity of unit trusts and trading trusts as versatile commercial vehicles is on the rise, as there are particularly advantageous consequences for taxation and insolvency through the use of a trust. Significant developments to equitable principles have occurred through a number of Australian High Court decisions, particularly since the 1980s. The subject compares Australian equity with other common law jurisdictions to understand international divergence in the scope of certain principles.

This subject takes a very hands-on, practical approach to learning the skills required in practice in applying equitable principles. Teaching resources include presentations from senior practitioners on equitable principles and advocacy skills. In tutorials students actively practise how to apply equitable reasoning, giving legal advice orally and in writing, and making submissions as in court.

Detailed subject description.

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