The origins of this book lie in the first Oxford Law Colloquium held in St. John's College, Oxford on 12-13 September 1991, organized by the Faculty of Law of the University of Oxford and The Norton Rose M5 Group, a national association of seven major independent law firms. This, it is hoped, will be the first of many such conferences run on a biennial basis.
The Oxford Law Colloquium arose out of the mutual desire of academics and practitioners to promote a conference in the nature of a high-level workshop in which distinguished speakers would present the structure and conceptual framework of a chosen subject and identify policy issues and trends in legal thinking. The subject chosen for each conference will permit the exploration of fundamental concepts, principles, policies, and trends in particular fields of law of mutual interest and importance. Academic and practical issues will be brought together in the exposition and detailed discussion of the chosen subject and in case studies to be discussed in specialist groups. The Colloquium is intended, inter alia, to (i) stimulate a high level of debate by an exchange of views and information among experts; (ii) concentrate on fundamental concepts, policies, and trends rather than the minutiae of English law; (iii) adopt an international and comparative approach to the subject, with particular emphasis on European developments; (iv) blend academic and practitioner knowledge and skills; and (v) provide an opportunity to influence legal policy.
The first subject, Commercial Aspects of Trusts and Fiduciary Obligations, was chosen because of its considerable theoretical and practical importance. As Goodhart and Jones pointed out in 1980 '[f]rom time to time equitable doctrine has infiltrated into English commercial law' ( ( 1980) 43 MLR 489). During the 1980s and early 1990s this infiltration has increased considerably and this is demonstrated in all the chapters of the book as the authors discuss the impact of the law of trusts and the law of fiduciaries upon such diverse subjects as insolvency law, company law, and conflicts of law and the complex relationship between statutory regulation and equitable rules of fiduciary obligation. The contributions to this volume, based on the papers presented at the Colloquium, demonstrate the need for us to think more carefully about the relationship between equity and commercial law and about the way in which we classify legal subjects so that, at the various points of intersection, the law can be developed in a coherent and rational manner.
The contributors to this volume are drawn from both the practising and the academic world and bring their own specialist knowledge to bear on their chosen subjects. Those from the practising world are all from The Norton Rose M5 Group and, while many of the contributors from the academic