William Swadling, MA (Oxon), LLM (Lond) is Reader in the Law of Property and the Senior Law Fellow at Brasenose College. He chairs the faculty's teaching groups in Restitution and Personal Property. Before coming to Oxford, he held posts at a number of other universities, including University College London and Trinity College, Cambridge. He is the editor of a number of books, including The Quistclose Trust: Critical Essays. He is particularly interested in the intersection between trusts/property and restitution, and a number of his articles on this topic have been cited in the English courts, most notably in Westdeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale v Islington LBC [1996] AC 669. He is a contributor to Halsbury's Laws of England (4th ed, reissue), and wrote the section entitled 'Property' in Burrows (ed), English Private Law (3rd ed, 2013). He is a founding editor of the Restitution Law Review and has held visiting professorships at the University of Hamburg, Seoul National University, the National University of Singapore, University of Paris II (Panthéon-Assas), and the University of Leuven. He is an academic associate at One Essex Court (chambers of Lord Grabiner QC), a Senior Fellow at the University of Melbourne, an elected member of the American Law Institute, and an academic member of the Chancery Bar Association.


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  • W J Swadling, 'Constructive Trusts and Breach of Fiduciary Duty' (2012) 18 OUP/Trusts and Trustees 985
    DOI: 10.1093/tandt/tts125
    It is a contentious question whether a profit made by a fiduciary in breach of duty is held by him on trust for his principal from the moment of its receipt, or whether the false fiduciary is only liable to be ordered by a court to pay over to the principal the amount of his gain. The argument made in this article is that the reasons for the finding by some courts of an immediate trust are unconvincing, and that the recent refusal of the English courts to do so is to be applauded.
    ISBN: 1752-2110
  • W J Swadling, 'The Fiction of the Constructive Trust' (2011) 64 Current Legal Problems 399
    ISBN: 2044-8422
  • W J Swadling, 'Restitutionary Damages: The Property Puzzle' in Degeling, Edelman and Goudkamp (eds), Torts in Commercial Law (2011)
  • W J Swadling, 'The Nature of the Trust in Rochefoucauld v Boustead' in Mitchell, C (ed), Constructive and Resulting Trusts (Hart Publishing 2010)
    ISBN: 978-1-84113-927-2
  • W J Swadling, 'Ignorance and Unjust Enrichment: The Problem of Title' (2008) 28 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 627
    ISBN: 0143-6503
  • W J Swadling, 'Policy Arguments for Proprietary Restitution' (2008) 28 Legal Studies 506
    ISBN: 1748-121X
  • W J Swadling, 'Explaining Resulting Trusts' (2008) 124 Law Quarterly Review 72
    ISBN: 0023-933X
  • W J Swadling, Property (2nd edition Oxford University Press 2007)
    ISBN: 978-019-922794-5
  • W J Swadling, 'Land Burdens - An English Perspective' in S van Erp & B Akkermans (ed), Towards a Unified System of Land Burdens? (Intersentia 2006)
    ISBN: 9050955851
  • W J Swadling, 'Unjust Delivery' in A S Burrows & Lord Rodger of Earlsferry (ed), Mapping the Law: Essays in Memory of Peter Birks (OUP 2006)
    ISBN: 0199206554
  • W J Swadling, 'The Vendor-Purchaser Constructive Trust' in S Degeling and J Edelman (eds), Equity in Commercial Law (Lawbook Co, 2005)
    ISBN: 455222088
  • W J Swadling, 'Rescission, Property, and the Common Law' (2005) 121(Jan) Law Quarterly Review 123
    ISBN: 0023-933X
  • W J Swadling, The Quistclose Trust: Critical Essays ((Hart, 2004) (editor) 2004)
    ISBN: 1-841113-412-0
  • W J Swadling, 'Orthodoxy' in Swadling (ed), The Quistclose Trust: Critical Essays (Hart Publishing 2004)
    ISBN: 1-84113-412-0
  • W J Swadling, 'Limitation' in Birks & Pretto (ed), Breach of Trust (Hart Publishing 2002)
    ISBN: 1-84113-174-1
  • W J Swadling, 'The Role of Illegality in the English Law of Unjust Enrichment' in D Johnson & R Zimmermann (ed), Unjustified Enrichment - Key Issues in Comparative Perspective (CUP 2002)
    ISBN: 0-521-80820-0
  • W J Swadling, 'Property' in Birks (ed), English Private Law (OUP 2000)
    ISBN: 0-19-876500-2

Research projects

Research Interests

Property (real and personal); Restitution; Trusts

Options taught

Land Law, Trusts, Personal Property, Restitution of Unjust Enrichment

Research projects