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HMRC internal manual

Capital Gains Manual

Basic terms of trust law as applied to CGT: different legal systems

Most settlements dealt with in districts are subject either to the law of England and Wales or the law of Scotland. There are significant differences in the respective trust law of each country. Care should be taken to avoid using English legal expressions and referring to English statutes when dealing with Scottish trusts. The basis for allocating cases to districts may well mean that English or Welsh districts deal with Scottish trusts, and vice versa.

It is generally possible for a settlor to choose which country’s law should apply. Normally a settlor chooses the law of his country of domicile or the country in which the trustees are resident. In doubtful cases the deed specifies the proper law of the trust. When you look at a Scottish trust deed for the first time, you will immediately notice its distinctive language and drafting style. (It is often constructed as one single sentence.)

The supplement to TM/APP2 explains the basic principles of Scots law relating to trusts.

Occasionally trusts may be met which are subject to the law of Northern Ireland or the Irish Republic. The trust law of both is similar to that of England and Wales.