Lawataberdeen
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The essay question:

Constructive trusts, proprietary estoppel, unconscionable receipt and dishonest assistance are all very distinct.
Critically evaluate this statement with reference to at least two fields.
Building on this answer and also looking more widely, assess the extent to which Equity can be seen as a cohesive whole.

I'm really lost and overwhelmed with the question.
Can someone give me some guidance?

Would be very much appreciated.
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Lawataberdeen
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Thank you very very much for replying!! I'll have a look into that just now!
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Lawataberdeen
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I understand that dishonest assistance and unconscionable receipt are two types of third party liabilities.

I also understand that constructive trust and proprietary estoppel might arise in similar situations, however the threshold for constructive trusts (you need an oral agreement for example) than for estoppel (you only need representation). So constructive trust and estoppel clearly overlap, hence the law of equity is not cohesive.

So I understand the principles, but I still don't understand what the question is aiming at exactly .................................
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Lawataberdeen
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you've actually been incredibly helpful, however I am still not 100% sure (my worry is that it's 3000 words, currently I could fill 1000 words)! Are you a law student yourself ?
Would you be help me understand the essay question a bit more? (I am happy to pay you)
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Lawataberdeen
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1) I understand that Unconscionability is the overarching principle and that courts often deal with cases under all four principles. However, they still are distinctive differences between constructive trusts and proprietary estoppel. So do you think this makes the law in this area cohesive or do you think the law in this area contradicts itself?

2) Currently my arguments for the first bit of the question are:
- Even though estoppel and constructive trust can be found in similar circumstances, however they are distinct in itself.
- Dishonest assistance and unconscionable receipt used to be seen as a type of constructive trust (Barnes v Addy), which is not the case anymore (Central Nigeria case).
So do know what and how to argue that those principles are distinct, however I dont know how to relate it to the cohesiveness of equity as a whole.

Does distinctiveness connote the law being cohesive?
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Lawataberdeen
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Also I'm, very sorry for asking those stupid questions. You must think I'm a total idiot!
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Lawataberdeen
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I'll have a look into that, thank you.

Yep, I'm really stuck just now lol.

Is equity your favourite area of the law?
I'm currently also studying corporate finance and commercial & consumer contracts, I find those two subjects way more exciting than equity & trusts to be honest!
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Lawataberdeen
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Might sound like a silly question but why if I google articles on the cohesiveness of equity can't I find anything ?
Is the answer so obvious or is it something academics don't discuss ?
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Notoriety
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Don't use Google Scholar or Google for law journals.

Go through Westlaw, Lexis, or whatever journal you use.
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Lawataberdeen
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yes of course, I use westlaw and my university's search tool


(Original post by Notoriety)
Don't use Google Scholar or Google for law journals.

Go through Westlaw, Lexis, or whatever journal you use.
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Forum User
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Also there is a PhD thesis by a chap called Richard Hedlund at York on more or less the same point (I have no idea how good it is, I just remember seeing it before and making a note to look at it one day).
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Lawataberdeen
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thank you so much Just out of curiosity, are you a postgrad students? I'm guessing you're wanting to go into academia?
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Lawataberdeen
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Oh wow you're honestly so impressive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm in my penultimate year, currently applying to some (magic circle dn silver circle) City law firms
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Lawataberdeen
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Sorry for being an absolute pain!! Do you think I can argue that the law of equity isn't meant to be cohesive in the first place as it's only tries to fill the gaps of the common law?
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Lawataberdeen
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hmm okay, I guess I don't have enough words to make a solid argument you are right.
any suggestions in what kind of direction I can go instead?
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What does it mean for law (or a branch of law) to be a 'cohesive whole' in the first place? Does it mean more than that the law (or branch of law) is not internally inconsistent? That seems to me to be a spectacularly low bar. In order to be cohesive, does law (or a branch of law) need to be capable of being explained by reference to one overarching principle (in the case of equity, presumably unconscionability)? That seems to me to be an extremely high bar, which I would be surprised if any area of law was capable of meeting, unless the 'principle' was defined in hopelessly vague terms.

I don't know the answer (and it is far too much of an arid philosophical question to interest me much). However, I do think it would be worth exploring what is meant by 'cohesive' before you try to decide whether equity is a cohesive whole.
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Notoriety
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(Original post by Forum User)
I don't know the answer (and it is far too much of an arid philosophical question to interest me much). However, I do think it would be worth exploring what is meant by 'cohesive' before you try to decide whether equity is a cohesive whole.
Completely agree.
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Lawataberdeen
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still stuck.. help would be very much appreciated ..
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quidjuris
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I am unsure how the four of these belong together. Constructive trusts and proprietary estoppel on the one hand are comparable, and so are unconscionable receipt and dishonest assistance on the other. But the former two are equitable doctrines whereas the latter two are grounds for personal liability of third parties. They are apples and oranges to me.

Tempting to focus on unconscionability but I feel like the question is asking for a hardcore comparison between the four things rather than an analysis of an underlying thread that may run between them. How to draw such a comparison (again, apples and oranges) is beyond me...
Last edited by quidjuris; 2 years ago
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