The Origins of the Statute of Uses

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The Statute of Uses enacted radical reform which can still be felt across the common law world. It was from exceptions to the statute’s execution of uses to perform last wills that the modern trust emerged. Our understanding of the passage of the statute has been shaped by the survival of several draft bills and ancillary documents. It has been argued that a draft bill introduced in 1529 was rejected by the Commons in March 1532. This in turn inspired the landmark litigation in Dacre’s Case (1533-35) which paved the way for the subsequent enactment of the Statute of Uses. This essay will challenge this orthodox position by demonstrating that there were in fact three early drafts which were considered. It will then consider what this tells us about the role of the crown, parliament, and the courts during this pivotal period in our legal history.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLaw and Constitutional Change:
Subtitle of host publication Essays in Legal History
EditorsNorma Dawson, David Capper, Conor McCormick
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages20
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024
EventBritish Legal History Conference - Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 6 Jul 20229 Jul 2022
Conference number: 25


ConferenceBritish Legal History Conference
Abbreviated titleBLHC
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Trusts
  • Uses
  • Statute
  • Legislation
  • Reformation
  • Parliament


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