• In the case of Keech v Sandford [1726] Sel Cas King 61, a key principle was that when a lease is renewed by a trustee, it shall be for the benefit of cestui que use
  • Cestui que is a principle, whereby a person is entitled to the equitable trust in the estate and not the legal trust

Facts of the Case

  • A lease of a market was given to a trustee for the benefit of an infant
  • The lease was about to expire, so the trustee applied to the lessor for a renewal of the lease, again for the benefit of the infant
  • Clear proof of the refusal to renew for the infant’s benefit, on which the trustee got a lease made to him

Issues in Keech v Sandford [1726] Sel Cas King 61

  • The lessor renewed the lease, but for the benefit of the trustee and not the infant (refused the renewal for the benefit of the infant for various reasons)

Held by the Lord Chancellor’s Court

  • The trustee should assign the lease to the infant and account for the profits if a trustee may have a list to themselves, provided that they refused to renew the lease
  • The trustee should have never let the lease run out and ought to have renewed it
  • There was no fraud in the instant case

Lord King LC

The records of this case are not extensive and this is the full recorded judgement of Lord King:

  • ‘I must consider this as a trust for the infant, for I very well see that if a trustee, on the refusal to renew, might have a lease to himself, few trust estates would be renewed to cestui que use. Although I do not say there is a fraud in this case, yet the trustee should rather have let the lease run out, than to have had it to himself. It may seem hard that the trustee is the only person of all mankind who might not have the lease, but it is very proper that rules should be strictly pursued, and not in the least relaxed; for it is very obvious what would be the consequence of letting trustees have the lease on refusal to renew to cestui que use. Decreed that the lease should be assigned to the infant, and that the trustee should be indemnified from any covenants comprised in the lease, and an account of the profits made since the renewal.’ [paragraph 62]