Before 1987, the English conflict of laws contained very little clear authority on the choice of law rules governing trusts, or rules for the recognition of foreign trusts, and what authority existed was almost entirely concerned with trusts created by will and matrimonial property settlements. There was virtually nothing about other settlements created inter vivos. This state of affairs was not, perhaps, surprising, since the concept of the trust is virtually unknown, at least in its English sense, outside the common law world. The occasions on which conflicts questions concerned with trusts come before the English courts must be relatively few.1
However the Hague Conference on Private International Law, at its Fifteen Session, drew up a Convention on the Law Applicable to Trusts and their Recognition, which was signed in 1986. This Convention was given effect in the law of the United Kingdom by the Recognition of Trusts Act 1987.2 The title of this Act is rather misleading, since most of the Convention is concerned with laying down choice of law rules to govern trusts and only a few articles are concerned with their recognition. It should be said that the main interest of this country in the conclusion of the Convention was not so much in laying down choice of law rules but in securing the recognition of English trusts by other countries' courts.
The Convention applies to trusts created voluntarily and evidenced in writing (Article 3).3 So purely oral trusts, for example, are not within it.____________________