Trust of land

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The term 'trust of land' can be used in a general sense to mean any Trust that has, or includes, land as its trust property. Until the Trusts of land and appointment of trustees act (1996) (TOLATA) came into force, there were two main administrative frameworks for trusts that included land: the settled land act settlement, governed by the settled land act (1925), and the trust for sale, created by the courts. Whether one form existed, or the other, depended on technicalities of the wording of the Instrument creating the trust. Rather inconveniently (in modern times, at least), the law presumed a Settled Land Act (SLA) settlement if the Settlor did not evince a clear intention to create a trust for sale. So both trusts for sale and SLA settlements were trusts of land in this broad sense.

Since 1997, when TOLATA came into force, there has been only one recognized form of trust that includes land. Consequently the term 'trust of land' can also mean a TOLATA trust. This is a rather narrower sense of the term. Unfortunately we still need to be careful whether we are using the term 'trust of land' in the broad sense or the narrow sense, because TOLATA allows that existing SLA settlements can continue to exist. So, in short, the term 'trust of land' now means either

  1. an SLA settlement, or
  2. a TOLATA trust of land

However, when the term 'trust of land' is used in, for example, a case report from before 1997, it might by referring to a trust for sale.

For an overview of the provisions the TOLATA trust, see TOLATATrustOfLand.

Land and Property Law

Trust law