Stranger who takes it upon himself to Act as a Trustee

A trustee de son tort

A person who has not been appointed a trustee but intermeddles in the administration of a trust by taking it upon himself to act as if he were a trustee will be held liable as if he were in fact a properly appointed trustee. He is known as a trustee de son tort. The principle was explained by Smith LJ in Mara v Browne:

‘…if one, not being a trustee and not having authority from a trustee, takes upon himself to intermeddle with trust matters or to do acts characteristic of the office of trustee, he may thereby make himself what is called in law a trustee of his own wrong-i.e. a trustee de son tort, or, as it is also termed a constructive trust.’

The principle that an intermeddling stranger may become a trustee de son tort is an application to the law of trusts of the principle that anyone who takes it upon himself to act in a fiduciary position he assumed.

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