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School of Law

David Andrew Foster


PhD Student



Thesis title

Trusts: Theory, Doctrine and Practice 1825 - 1865


Professor Michael Lobban and Dr Amanda Bevan

Summary of research

The increasing complexity of trust forms in the nineteenth century was accompanied by an elaboration of the theory and doctrines relating to the trust. This project, conducted in conjunction with The National Archives: Public Record Office, seeks to assess the structure and substance of trusts litigation by sampling cases before the Court of Chancery and to examine the interaction of trust practice and doctrine from 1825 to 1865.

The first section considers the genesis of the modern trust doctrine (from Lord Nottingham to Lord Eldon). Particular consideration is given to the various institutional and conceptual schemata used by the first treatise writers on Equity (Gilbert, Ballow, Fonblanque, Jeremy and Story) and their role in the creation of a recognisably modern conception of the trust.

Later chapters, reflecting upon the case sampling project, will assess whether and in what way doctrinal developments impacted upon trust drafting and litigation.


David Foster received a degree in Law from the University of Cambridge in 2011. After working as a legal researcher in Northern Ireland, David commenced his doctoral research at Queen Mary in January 2013, having been awarded a full scholarship.


LAW5003 Equity and Trusts

Research interests

David’s main academic interests lie in the historical foundations of modern Private Law.

He has delivered lectures on ‘The History of Uses and Trusts’ (at TNA:PRO) and ‘Slavery and the Land Law’ (at UCL, as part of the Legacies of British Slavery project).