Tobias Barkley

  • Tobias Barkley

    PhD candidate

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Tobias Barkley is a PhD Candidate at Melbourne Law School, Victoria.  Influenced by previous employment in estate planning and asset protection in New Zealand, Tobias’s primary research interest is contemporary discretionary trusts.  Currently his particular research focus is the conceptual and doctrinal distinctions between types of intentional trusts.  His thesis argues that fixed trusts, discretionary trust powers and fixed trusts subject to mere powers are not unified by a shared core obligation but are conceptually distinct types of legal institutions.

Since 2013 Tobias has worked as an Associate Lecturer at La Trobe University where he has taught equity, trusts, personal property and real property.  Tobias holds an LLM by research from the University of Otago, also on the topic of discretionary trusts.  After completing an LLB at Otago in 2007 he worked at a specialised private trust and estate firm in Auckland.

Thesis Title

Proprietary Fixed Trusts and Administrative Discretionary Trusts: A Pluralist Account

Thesis Summary

In private law intentional trusts are understood as a unified category.  This monist categorisation is unstable because the range of phenomena it includes is too diverse to support a unifying principle or working definition.  The idea of express trusts needs to be dismantled and replaced with a pluralist categorisation of conceptually discrete institutions.  This mirrors recent scholarship dismantling the category of constructive trusts.   This thesis proposes a new categorisation of four model institutions founded on distinct organising principles.  A normative argument is made to adopt these categories because they expose critical policy questions about the future of trust law.


  • Property Law
  • Trust Law
  • Doctrinal Legal Theory