Hearsay ... the Journal of the Bar Association of Queensland
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Book Review: Interpreting Principles of Equity Print E-mail

book_interpreting.jpgEditor: Malcolm Cope
Publisher: The Federation Press
Reviewer: Richard Williams


This is not a text book on equity, nor a digest of recent developments in the area.  It is a collection of 14 lectures delivered in Queensland from 2000 to 2013, under the title of “The WA Lee Equity Lecture”.

The collected texts of these lectures stand as a tribute to the distinguished academic and mentor, Mr Tony Lee, who has the rare distinction of having taught trust law and succession law to many practitioners and members of the judiciary in this State, and who has devoted many years of research to the production of the seminal text Ford and Lee on the Law of Trusts.  This volume provides an engaging reflection on current trends in trust and succession law.  It is hard not to be drawn in, and to be enthused once again, with the importance of these areas of everyday practice.

The inaugural WA Lee Equity Lecture was delivered on 2 November 2000 by Tony Lee, himself, on the topic of Trustee Investing: Homes and Hedges.  This lecture examined trustee investment powers and duties following the introduction of a more liberal investment regime for trustees.  Tony discussed the principles of modern portfolio theory and the balancing of risk and reward, together with the challenges posed by the employment of professional fund managers.

Since that first lecture, there have been 13 more in the series, delivered by members of judiciary, leading academics and practitioners: Mr Hubert Picarda QC (England and Wales), the Hon. William Gummow AC, Justice Margaret White, Justice Bruce McPherson, Professor Malcolm Cope, Professor Charles Rickett, Justice Ken Handley, the Hon. Michel Kirby, Justice Patrick Keane, Chief Justice Paul de Jersey, Justice Margaret McMurdo, Justice James Douglas and Justice Susan Kiefel.

The common thread that runs through the lectures is the importance of trusts and succession law in everyday practice.

These lectures have been published in law journals, but this is the first time that they have been collected together.  Each is prefaced by a short introduction by Professor Malcolm Cope that sets the topic in context, and summarises the key propositions.

This book is rounded off by three personal tributes to Tony Lee, by Professor Michael Bryan, the Hon. Paul de Jersey AC and Dr John de Groot.  Each speaks of their admiration for Tony and their appreciation of his dedication to the pursuit of research and writing in the areas of trusts and succession law.

This collection is a fitting tribute to Tony Lee’s many years of scholarship and encouragement to students of equity and succession law.  Practitioners in the areas of trusts and succession law can derive much from reflecting on the themes that are examined in these lectures.

Richard Williams


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