Certainty In Law

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Three certainties Certainty is essential in order for an express trust to be valid in English law. In English trusts law, we speak of the ‗three certainties‘: (i) intention, (ii) subject-matter, and (iii) objects. The case which is often cited as authority for the three certainties is the nineteenth century case of Knight v Knight (1840) 3 Beav 172, but its origins appear in the earlier case of Wright v Atkyns (1823) Turn & R 143, where the Lord Chancellor, Lord Eldon said: ―...first...the words must be imperative...; secondly...the subject must be certain...; and thirdly...the object must be as certain as the subject" (at p 157). Rationale 4-002 There are several reasons why the courts look for the three certainties. First, the trustee needs to know what is required of them in carrying out the terms of the trust. Secondly, if the court is called upon to intervene in a trusts dispute, it must be able to act with clarity and with a sensible understanding of what the settlor has attempted. certainty of intention. This requires that the words or actions of the settlor must be sufficiently clear in order to create the trust. It is said that the words or actions must be imperative in order to create a trust. Words or actions which express a hope or wish (precatory words) will not. The courts aren‘t looking for technical words, as Maitland remarked at the end of the nineteenth century, trusts can be created with the most untechnical of words, and it seems that the word ‗trust‘ may not even be necessary to create one (Paul v Constance [1977] 1 WLR 527). Indeed, all this is summed up neatly in the maxim equity looks at the intention not the form. Good starting point on imperative wording offered by 2 contrasting cases. Re Adams nd Kensington vestry “to the absolute use of [his] wife, ... in full confidence that she will do what is right as to the disposal
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