Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

2019 Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello

Fiduciary Duties

  • Remus ValsanEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7753-2_698


Fiduciary duties arise in legal relations where one party, the fiduciary, acquires decision-making authority over the interests of another party, the beneficiary. The fist party becomes bound by a set of duties aimed at ensuring that he exercises his discretion in the best interests of the beneficiary, to the exclusion of his own interests or the interests of third parties. Fiduciary duties are strictly enforced by the courts, in order to ensure a proper exercise of discretion by the fiduciary and to preserve the utility of fiduciary relations.

Fiduciary Relations

Fiduciary duties arise in fiduciary relations. Fiduciary relations exist in multiple forms in different legal areas, such as private law, commercial and corporate law, family law, and, in some cases, public law. The concept of fiduciary duties is sometimes regarded as a purely common law concept, historically intertwined with the institution of trust and with the equitable jurisdiction of the English Court of...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Alces K (2015) The fiduciary gap. J Corp Law 40:351Google Scholar
  2. Conaglen M (2010) Fiduciary loyalty: protecting the due performance of non-fiduciary duties. Hart Publishing, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  3. Cooter R, Freedman B (1991) The fiduciary relationship: its economic character and legal consequences. N Y Univ Law Rev 66:1045Google Scholar
  4. Davis M (2012) Empirical research on conflict of interest: a critical look. In: Peters A, Handschin L (eds) Conflict of interest in global, public and corporate governance. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p 54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Duggan A (2010) Contracts, fiduciaries and the primacy of the deal. In: Bant E, Harding M (eds) Exploring private law. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p 275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Easterbrook FH, Fischel DR (1996) The economic structure of corporate law. Harvard University Press, HarvardGoogle Scholar
  7. Finn PD (1977) Fiduciary obligations. Law Book Co, SydneyGoogle Scholar
  8. Finn PD (1989) The fiduciary principle. In: Youdan TG (ed) Equity, fiduciaries and trust. Carswell, TorontoGoogle Scholar
  9. Flannigan R (1989) The fiduciary obligation. Oxf J Leg Stud 9:285CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Frankel T (1995) Fiduciary duties as default rules. Oregon Law Rev 74:1209Google Scholar
  11. Graziadei M (2014) Virtue and utility: fiduciary law in civil law and common law jurisdictions. In: Gold A, Miller P (eds) Philosophical foundations of fiduciary law. Oxford University Press, Oxford, p 287CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jensen M, Meckling W (1976) Theory of the firm: managerial behaviour, agency costs and ownership structure. J Financ Econ 3:305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kershaw D (2012) The path of corporate fiduciary law. NYU J Law Bus 8:395Google Scholar
  14. McGhee J et al (eds) (2015) Snell’s equity, 33rd edn. Sweet & Maxwell, LondonGoogle Scholar
  15. Millett P (1998) Equity’s place in the law of commerce. Law Q Rev 114:214Google Scholar
  16. Norman W, MacDonald C (2010) Conflicts of interest. In: Brenkert G, Beauchamp T (eds) The Oxford handbook of business ethics. Oxford University Press, Oxford, p 441Google Scholar
  17. Sealy LS (1962) Fiduciary relationships. Camb Law J 20:1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Shepherd JC (1981) The law of fiduciaries. Carswell, TorontoGoogle Scholar
  19. Smith L (2003) The motive not the deed. In: Getzler J (ed) Rationalizing property, equity, and trusts: essays in honour of Edward burn. LexisNexis UK, London, p 53Google Scholar
  20. Thomas GW (2013) Thomas on powers, 2nd edn. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  21. Thomas G, Hudson A (2010) The Law of Trusts, 2nd ed. Oxford, Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  22. Valsan R (2016) Fiduciary duties, conflict of interest and proper exercise of judgment. McGill Law J 62:1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Valsan, Yahya (2007) Shareholders, creditors, and directors’ fiduciary duties: a law and finance approach. Virginia Law Bus Rev 2:1Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Edinburgh Law SchoolUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK