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Jacob Meagher's picture


Education CV

FRSA - Fellow, Royal Society of Arts

CFE - Certified Fraud Examiner, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners

FHEA - Fellow, Higher Education Academy

Associate Fellow, Society for Advanced Legal Studies

Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales (2019)

Barrister of England and Wales, Middle Temple (2018)

Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand (2016)

PhD Candidate in Law, University of Cambridge (2016 -)
- Sir Roy Goode Foundation Scholarship in International Comparative Commercial Law
- Charlie Bayne Memorial Travel Award


Teaching Fellow, UCL Faculty of Law (2019-)
- Property II Land Law and The Law of Trusts
- Property I Land Law

Guest Teacher, LSE Department of Law (2019-)
- Property II Land Law and The Law of Trusts

Visiting Lecturer, Institute of Law Jersey (2019)
- Law of Equity and Trusts  

Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (2019-)
- Associate (Distinction)

Litigation Associate, Mourant Ozannes Guernsey (PhD Sabbatical, March - November 2018)
- I specialised in the use of constructive trusts and equitable remedies in commercial disputes. 
- I advised on various equitable applications crosscutting the Trusts (Guernsey) Law 2007 and commercial arena including; Re-Beddoes, Hastings-Bass, Public Trustee v Cooper, and Hague Convention applications.

Visiting Lecturer, King's College London (2017-18 Academic year)
- Equity and Trusts
- Law of Property
- Law of Tort

Associate Tutor, University of East Anglia, Faculty of Law (2016)
- Law Reform in the 21st Century 

Legal and Policy Advisor, New Zealand Law Commission (2015-16)
- "Understanding Family Violence: Reforming the criminal law relating to homicide" (NZLC R139)
- Clerk to the Hon Sir Grant Hammond, and the Hon Sir Douglas White, QC.

Tutor, School of Government and Commercial Law, Victoria University of Wellington (2014-15)
- Legal Environment of Business 
- Law of Organisations
- Law of Special Contracts

LLB(Hons)(First Class) Victoria University of Wellington (2015)
- Top in Torts, Maritime and Transport Law
- Victoria Excellence Scholarship 
- Summer Research Scholarship

The Society of Legal Scholars (UK)
- Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (UK, USA)
- ConTrA (The Contentious Trusts Association) 
- Higher Education Academy
- Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
Royal Society of Arts
Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners

Fields of research

This is controversial research, and it questions the core meanings of hitherto ‘base’ concepts and foundational terms in Equity. What do practitioners and academics mean by ‘beneficiary’ and ‘equitable estate’ and ‘held on trust’? When subject to scrutiny these terms prove to be part of an amorphous mass of language which obfuscates the ‘intent’ of the Chancery Jurisdiction (Equity), and the practical workings of the law regarding settled property rights. It is the Constructive Trust which is at the core of Equity (some might suggest irreducibly so) and which also gives choate meaning to its’ terms of art.

I argue that theory should move on from a Birksian categories-based approach to Constructive Trust as used by Liew, Mitchell, Oakley, et al., which identifies no central doctrine or unifying principle but only instances of occurrence. My thesis is that by imbuing the CT with settled definitions of foundational Equity precepts – shorn of mystical ‘equity is like smooth jazz’ idiosyncrasies – will a clear doctrine of CT be visible, and that doctrine is founded clearly in the declaratory nature of the judgment at hand. The CT arises by operation of Equity, but it only exits (either sus sponte or quia timet) when declared by law.  


The Constructive Trust Doctrine: Constructive Trust by Declaration


If the question once was ‘what is the law of CT?’ that time has long since passed and an inquiry from that perspective is fruitless; the CT now an amorphous mass modified throughout four jurisdictions ostensibly achieving the same purpose.[1] That purpose is often oversimplified to the administration and balance of property rights writ fairness and justice, versus certainty and predictability. I argue its purpose goes far deeper, harking to the balance struck between recognition of equitable rights in Chancery and common law rights at Law.[2] CT jurisprudence and their use by practitioners and judiciary has become so disunited from its historical origins that CT was described at the International Trust Litigation Conference as “somewhere between a trust and a catchphrase”,[3] albeit one with hefty proprietary consequence and less a throwaway line. The CT of the 18th and 19th centaury was, surprisingly predictable to plead at Chancery, and a right at Equity with clearly definable bounds.[4] Texts of that era did not contain the uncertainty of this generations Equity commentary or case law.[5] Wholesale revision is needed.


[1] G. Virgo, “The Genetically Modified Constructive Trust” (2016) CJCCL 2(2) 579; specifically, Australia, New Zealand, England, and Canada. Although my thesis only focuses on the former three.

[2] See Lord Denning in Central London Property Trust Ltd v. High Trees House Ltd [1947] 1KB 130; contrast with the approach of Mackinnon LJ in Salisbury (Marquess) v. Gilmore [1942] 2KB 38 in following Jorden v. Money [1845] 5HL Cas 185; P.J. Millett “Equity – the Road ahead” (1995/96) 6 KCLJ 1, reprinted (1995) 9 Tru LI 35.

[3] Bruce Collins Q.C. Geneva 17 June 2014: Trust & Trustees 20(10) 1055.

[4]Anonymous, A Manual of Equity Jurisprudence, as Administered in England, founded on the “Commentaries of Joseph Story”, and comprising a numerous collection of points constantly occurring in “The General Practice of a Solicitor by Josiah W. Smith” (London: V. and R. Stevens and G. S. Norton, 1845) 118.

[5] I have surveyed the original editions of Story, Snell, Lewin, online and in the rare books section and compiled a list of CT and implied trust definitions. Indicating where they diverge on matters fiduciary, conscience, estate etc.



Mr. Nick McBride 

Representative Publications

“Review: Y.K. Liew’s Rationalising Constructive Trusts” (2018) KLJ 29(2)

“Review: A. Nair Claims to Traceable Proceeds” (2018) Trust & Trustees 27(3)  

“(Re-Defining) The Trust of the Specifically Enforceable Contract of Sale? The Vendor Purchaser Constructive Trust” (2018) Trust & Trustees 24(3) 266-297 

“Common Law Courts as Regulators, an exposition: The Judiciary as a Regulatory Mechanism” (2017) Journal of Comparative Law 12(1) 108-147

"Some mistakes are meant to be fixed: a return to a measure of predictability in Guernsey Hastings-Bass orders" (2018) Mourant Ozannes Update 1 April