Concept of Breach of Trust

Enactments, laws and acts that are passed by legislative bodies, deal with specific domains of laws, for example, the Contract act deals with legally enforceable contracts, or the Bill of Rights deals with fundamental rights of the citizens of the United States. Unlike the contract law or the Bill of Rights, there is no specific enactment that deals with the breach of trust.

Breach of trust is an intentional or unintentional negligence of duty, abuse of position or fraud of legally bestowed trust, by a person or persons or a body corporate. There are three likely parties who can come into the picture. A trustee, a testator and beneficiary who are all tied to each other by a relationship that is known as a ‘fiduciary’ relationship.

In such a scenario, the trustee is a guardian, regent, consultant or any person who is authorized by law to be a trustee. A beneficiary is a person whose interest is safeguarded by the trustee. A testator is a person who requests the trustee to perform a selected function. The term testator is usually used in cases where a person appoints some other person, in his/her will, as a trustee for his/her beneficiary (legal heir).

If you look around, you will notice that there are several different fiduciary relations that come into existence every second. For example, when you go to a physician to get examined, a fiduciary relation is established, and if the physician finds that you are suffering from any symptoms, then he/she is obliged to disclose the facts immediately. In case of non disclosure, a breach of trust is said to have occurred.

Unintentional Breach of Trust

The hurdle that any court of law might face is that whether the breach was intentional or unintentional, and whether the fiduciary relationship was of a legally enforceable nature or not. In most cases, where the breach occurs, as a result of carelessness and innocent mistakes, the court of law does not declare harsh punishments.

A legal guardian forgetting to pick his beneficiary from school is an unintentional breach. A credit card advertisement not disclosing some essential facts can also be an unintentional breach which may invite a compensation suit. In common parlance, a breach that involves monetary interest invites a lawsuit settlement.

Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent

A breach with fraudulent intent is immediately recognized by the court, as it is characterized by intentional non-disclosure. According to the penal code, such an abuse of position for fraudulent and criminal purposes, is dealt with harsh punishments. Non-disclosure by a company’s promoter, insider trading, forgery, personal and non-permitted use of given trust, and corruption in governmental or non-governmental organizations is termed to be a breach with fraudulent intent. Such breach is dealt in accordance with criminal proceedings doctrine.

Breach of trust in itself is quite a generic and larger study, and will have to consider many legal codes and enactments to have an in-depth and accurate insight of the concept.

Probation Rules

In legal terminology, probation is the sentence imposed by the court of law on a person found guilty of certain charges. It is basically a sentence whereby the convict is put ‘on probation’ immediately, instead of serving time in jail, or after spending a brief time in jail. Thus the convict gets to spend a brief period of his term outside the jail, but under the supervision of the law enforcing authority. It is mandatory for the convict to abide by the rules of probation constituted by the authorities of the said jurisdiction.

Probation Rules and Regulations

Though the rules of probation may differ from one jurisdiction to another, most of these rules stress on the fact that the said person is under probation/parole, and hence, he will be under the supervision of the authorities for a certain period. These rules and regulations may also state that the person should restrain from doing certain activities during this period. Violation of these rules may call for further legal action, so anyone on probation should avail legal advice to make this period easy for himself. Some of the basic conditions of probation are discussed below.

– The convict should report to his/her probation officer or court as stipulated in the probation rules.
– He shouldn’t leave the area of jurisdiction without taking permission, in writing, from the probation officer or the person in charge.
– He should promptly notify the concerned authorities if his address, contact number, or any other personal information has changed.
– He shouldn’t get involved with other individuals accused of felony or any other misdemeanor.
– He should not possess or purchase any weapon which can be harmful for him or other people around.
– He should not possess any contraband items, including drugs and alcohol, which may eventually land him up in jail.
– He should pay all the fees regularly as stipulated in the rules. These may include fees such as probation supervision fees, home arrest fees, court fees, etc.
– He should be present when required for any sort of drug or alcohol testing. Only those substances that are recommended by the doctor will be allowed.
– He should consult the authorities when using any medication or opting for any medical procedure on the behest of the doctor.
– Other than drug and alcohol testing, the convict should also make himself available whenever summoned for a routine health check up.
– He shouldn’t choose to become an informer for the law enforcing authorities without getting a written permission from the court probation officer.
– A person on probation shouldn’t take up any job, wherein he is required to look after children or elderly people.

Other than this, certain rights provided by the Constitution may be waived for a person serving probation period. For instance, waiving off the Fourth Amendment rights to search and seizure would mean that the probation officer may search you in person or any of your assets, including your home and vehicle, and seize them if required.

One should also take a note of the fact that not all these rules are applicable for all the crimes. Some of these rules may differ based on what charges the convict is facing. For instance, a person charged with any sex-related offense may not be allowed to take up a job wherein he comes in contact with members of opposite sex and children, or he may not even be allowed to possess any pornographic material.

Other than the rules and regulations mentioned above, one more stipulation which will be added to the conditions―irrespective of the area of jurisdiction―is the stipulation stating that the conditions mentioned in the document would be subject to modification, if required, upon the approval of department of probation and/or court of law.