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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Undergraduate Course: The Law of Fiduciary Duties (LAWS10162)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaLaw Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionFiduciary duties arise in legal relations where one party (the fiduciary) undertakes to act in the interests of another (the beneficiary) and acquires decision-making authority over the other┐s interests. In such relations, the fiduciary undertakes a duty to exercise his/her best judgment over the beneficiary┐s interests. Due to the existence of this core duty, the law imposes a set of very strict proscriptive duties, requiring a fiduciary to avoid or manage situations of conflict of interest.

Established fiduciary positions include trustees, guardians, executors, agents, corporate directors or partners. The family of fiduciary relations has increased steadily throughout the past century, often in an unprincipled way. The label ┐fiduciary relationship┐ has been applied loosely to relationships marked by ┐trust and confidence┐, often as an instrumental shortcut to far-reaching legal remedies.

In this course students will analyse the content and justification of fiduciary duties in private law relations, with a focus on English and Scottish law. Students will acquire an in-depth understanding of the specific duties to which a fiduciary is subject and of the remedies for breach of such duties. The course will allow students to acquire an integrated and coherent understanding of the regulation of fiduciary duties across various legal areas, such as trust law, company law or agency law.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: ( Business Entities (LAWS08134) AND Succession and Trust Law (LAWS08130)) OR ( Business Entities (LAWS08099) AND Trusts and Succession Ordinary (LAWS08089))
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 2, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  No Quota:  25
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 13/01/2014
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
1. 1. Knowledge and Sources of Law:

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

a) analyse the content and justification of fiduciary duties using fundamental legal concepts that are compatible with private law theory
b) compare and contrast the law of fiduciary duties with related doctrines, such as breach of good faith, abuse of power, negligence, undue influence
c) explain the specific remedies applicable to breach of fiduciary duties
d) evaluate the merits of the competing approaches to the content and justification of fiduciary duties adopted by courts and commentators across common law jurisdictions
e) understand the meaning of the notion of conflict of interest as a fundamental concept of system-neutral private law theory
2. 2. Subject-specific Skills:

By the end of the course, students will:

a) be able to analyse critically primary and secondary materials and use them to present a structured argument
b) be able to plan and draft an extended piece of independent research
c) develop their ability to critique the existing theories and approaches to the content and role of fiduciary duties
3. 3. General Transferable Intellectual Skills:

By the end of the course the students will:

a) be able to make a reasoned choice between rival answers to legal questions
b) develop the ability to engage systematically and creatively with complex theoretical work
c) develop the ability to assemble information derived from a number of different sources, distinguish the relevant from the irrelevant, and create a coherent synthesis
d) acquire the essential legal research skills and drafting techniques necessary to produce highly structured legal documents
4. 4. Key Personal Skills:

By the end of the course the students will:

a) develop their ability to work independently under fixed deadlines, seeking relevant advice and support when necessary
b) develop their ability to work constructively as a member of a group or team, assert leadership or follow instructions
c) participate effectively in seminars, workshops and discussions
d) develop their capacity of reflecting on the outcomes of individual research efforts with a view to identifying strengths and weaknesses and furthering their own learning
5. 5. Subject-specific Legal and Ethical Values:

The course aims to raise students┐ awareness of , inter alia, the following issues:

a) the importance of fiduciary duties in the regulation of various professions
b) the relation between the proscriptive fiduciary duties, on the one hand, and ethics and morality on the other hand
c) the currents of thought that claim that fiduciary duties are the highest standard of honesty and selflessness imposed by law
Assessment Information
1. 75% take home essay
o the essay titles will be released on the first day of the exam diet immediately following course delivery. The essays must be submitted via PebblePad on or before the last day of the exam diet.
o the essay length is 4,000 words excluding cover page, footnotes and bibliography

2. 25% assessed element
o this component of assessment may consist in a case comment, a presentation in class, a blog entry, or a poster presentation, as selected by the course organiser. The assessment technique selected will be indicated in the course guide, together with detailed guidelines and assessment criteria.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Indicative teaching programme

1. Introduction to fiduciary duties
The fiduciary vocabulary
Who is a fiduciary?
What is the content of fiduciary duties?

2. Historical origins of fiduciary duties
Conscience, equity, and the early Court of Chancery
The role of equity in Scots law

3. Fiduciary law and related doctrines
Abuse of power, negligence, unconscionability, undue influence, breach of good faith, breach of confidence

4. The content of fiduciary duties 1
The no-conflict and no-profit rules

5. The content of fiduciary duties 2
The self-dealing and the fair-dealing rules

6. The content of fiduciary duties 3
The 'core' fiduciary duty; what is the purpose of the proscriptive fiduciary duties?

7. Fiduciary duties in Scots law 1
Trust law

8. Fiduciary duties in Scots law 2
Agency law

9. Breach of fiduciary duties: overview of personal and proprietary remedies

10. Conflict of interest┐ as a fundamental legal concept in comparative private law
A comparative and trans-national analysis of the notions of 'conflict of interest' in private law
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Not entered
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMr Remus Valsan
Tel: (0131 6)50 2008
Course secretary
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