A developed understanding of the beneficiary’s interest in commercial trusts through a comparative study of Chinese law

Published date01 June 2020
DOI10.1177/1023263X20924508
Date01 June 2020
Subject MatterArticles
Article
A developed understanding of
the beneficiary’s interest in
commercial trusts through
a comparative study of
Chinese law
Ruiqiao Zhang
*
Abstract
Trusts have existed for centuries, while societies and economies have developed in the inter-
vening years. This requires renovations, or new judicial interpretations, of what a trust is in order
to adapt it to modern circumstances. Based on a discussion about the theoretical basis for the
research – the new role of trusts in a commercial context and the essence of the trust – the
author provides a developed understanding of the beneficiary’s interest to adjust the traditional
trust notions to meet the demands of commercial practices. She argues that, based on a case
study of Chinese law, a beneficiary’s right can be explained as a special personal claim consisting
of three parts: the main claim (personal claims), appurtenant rights (rights of supervision) and
security rights (rights of revocation). The theory of beneficiary’s special personal claim provides a
more unified and comprehensive understanding of the nature of the beneficiary’s interest, par-
ticularly in newly developed commercial trusts.
Keywords
Trust law, comparative law, the nature of a beneficiary’s interest, law and finance, rule of law
Introduction
Trusts, originally used in common law to protect family landhol dings over generations, have
developed into a vehicle that is not only adopted as a guardian of family property, but also for
entrepreneurial and commercial uses. The new role that the trust plays in financial markets has also
*
School of Law, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
Corresponding author:
Ruiqiao Zhang, DCL, LLMs, LLB & BSc, Lecturer, School of Law, University of Edinburgh, Old College, South Bridge,
Edinburgh EH8 9YL, UK.
E-mail: zhangruiqiao@gmail.com
Maastricht Journal of European and
Comparative Law
2020, Vol. 27(3) 343–357
ªThe Author(s) 2020
Article reuse guidelines:
sagepub.com/journals-permissions
DOI: 10.1177/1023263X20924508
maastrichtjournal.sagepub.com
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