This Article identifies the key role that trust law can play in resolving collective action problems pertaining to assets with multiple stakeholders. Devising a multi-beneficiary trust may serve as an effective institutional alternative, when the direct governance of an asset by its co-owners reaches a deadlock, and the partition of the asset among them is either impractical or inefficient.
The Article examines various case studies in which property may become deadlocked among multiple stakeholders, featuring either commons or anti-commons problems. In the case of land, the need to assemble land from multiple owners for (re)development, or the task of governing common properties in residential associations, may be prone to such deadlocks. In the case of intellectual property, such as in governing the copyrighted repertoire of a prominent musician posthumously, partition of copyrights to specific pieces of work among multiple heirs may prove inefficient and damaging to the artist’s legacy. The same may also apply to tangible goods that have a particular value when part of a collection, such as certain artworks or cultural artifacts ….
Lehavi, Amnon, The Law of Trusts and Collective Action: A New Approach to Property Deadlocks (July 6, 2020). University of Cincinnati Law Review, forthcoming.