In the English trust, the beneficiary is viewed as the substantive owner of property held under trust, even as the trustee holds legal title to the property and is the only party who is able to perform the legal functions associated with ownership. In the mixed legal systems of Quebec and of Japan, the juristic pathways to the beneficiary’s substantive ownership are vastly different. In the case of Japan, arguably the ‘patrimony’ conception is applicable, whereas in Quebec the new ‘ownerless’ trust departed significantly from the problems associated with the trustee’s ‘ownership’ of property under the old trust. The article submits that the ability of the beneficiary to enforce his interests independently from other parties is crucial to the trust’s ability to achieve broadly similar effects to English law. From an English perspective, it is vital that civilian trusts recognize and accommodate the differences inherent in the beneficiary’s rights to due administration and to the economic enjoyment of property.
Joyman Lee, The Nature of the Beneficiary’s Interest in English, Japanese and Quebec Trusts, European Review of Private Law, volume 29, issue 4 (2021) pp 611-632.