R v District Auditor ex p West Yorks MCC [1986] RVR 24

Key point

  • A trust with a class that is so hopelessly wide as to be administratively unworkable is void


  • A local authority resolved to create a trust under which trustee were ‘to apply and expend the Trust Fund for the benefit of any or all or some of the inhabitants of the County of West Yorkshire’

Held (Court of Appeal)

  • The trust is void for being administratively unworkable

Lloyd LJ

  • There is no conceptual uncertainty
  • However, a trust with 2.5 million potential beneficiaries is unworkable as the class is far too large (citing Lord Wilberforce in McPhail v Doulton)
  • Re Manisty distinguished on the ground that it was concerned with a power, where the function of a court is more restricted
  • In the case of a trust, the court may have to execute the trust, not so in the case of a power


  • The ruling is difficult to understand as there is nothing preventing the trust from actually being carried out