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HMRC internal manual

Trusts, Settlements and Estates Manual

Legal background to trusts & estates: enforcing equitable and legal interests

It is possible to enforce an equitable interest or a legal interest in either division of the Supreme Court. The divisions are

  • Chancery;
  • Family or Queen’s Bench.

The Supreme Court applies the rules of Equity (TSEM6003). These were developed by the old Court of Chancery.

The Supreme Court was formed following the merger of Common Law Courts and the Court of Chancery. Before then the Court of Chancery recognised and enforced equitable interest. The court used, and developed, the rules of Equity. The Common Law Courts (the Courts of King’s Bench, Common Pleas and Exchequer) recognised and enforced legal interests.