Lord President Reid Chair of Law

Director of Research


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  • Email: Alexandra.Braun@ed.ac.uk
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Biography

Alexandra Braun holds the Lord President Reid Chair in Law at the University of Edinburgh.

Professor Braun completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Genoa and received a PhD in Comparative Private Law from the University of Trento. Prior to coming to Edinburgh, Professor Braun was Professor of Comparative Private Law at the University of Oxford, as well as a Fellow and Tutor in Law at Lady Margaret Hall. Professor Braun is an elected Associate Member of the International Academy of Comparative Law as well as a Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of European and Comparative Law in Oxford and an Honorary Research Fellow at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.

Professor Braun is the Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange at Edinburgh Law School, and Programme Director of the LLM in Comparative and European Private Law. Professor Braun is also a Member of the Steering Committee of the Edinburgh Centre for Private Law and the new Series Editor of the Edinburgh Studies in Law  series published by Edinburgh University Press.

Professor Braun has broad research interests in comparative law and legal history. Her current research focuses primarily on the fields of succession law and the law of trusts. Professor Braun is also interested in the impact of the transfer of wealth on questions of intergenerational equality and the cultural history of inheritance. Other interests include legal education, the study of the intellectual history of the law, and the development of various forms of legal scholarship and its interaction with, and impact upon, judicial decision-making.

Ph.D. supervision interests
Professor Braun welcomes proposals for supervision in the fields of comparative law, trust law, succession law and the intergenerational transfer of wealth more generally, as well as the cultural history of inheritance.

Biography

Alexandra Braun holds the Lord President Reid Chair in Law at the University of Edinburgh.

Professor Braun completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Genoa and received a PhD in Comparative Private Law from the University of Trento. Prior to coming to Edinburgh, Professor Braun was Professor of Comparative Private Law at the University of Oxford, as well as a Fellow and Tutor in Law at Lady Margaret Hall. Professor Braun is an elected Associate Member of the International Academy of Comparative Law as well as a Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of European and Comparative Law in Oxford and an Honorary Research Fellow at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.

Professor Braun is the Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange at Edinburgh Law School, and Programme Director of the LLM in Comparative and European Private Law. Professor Braun is also a Member of the Steering Committee of the Edinburgh Centre for Private Law and the new Series Editor of the Edinburgh Studies in Law  series published by Edinburgh University Press.

Professor Braun has broad research interests in comparative law and legal history. Her current research focuses primarily on the fields of succession law and the law of trusts. Professor Braun is also interested in the impact of the transfer of wealth on questions of intergenerational equality and the cultural history of inheritance. Other interests include legal education, the study of the intellectual history of the law, and the development of various forms of legal scholarship and its interaction with, and impact upon, judicial decision-making.

Courses Taught

Comparative and International Trust law (LLM)

Fundamentals of Comparative Private Law ()

Succession and Trust Law (Ordinary)

PhD Supervisees

Federico Russo  'The Enforcer of Trusts'

Books and Reports

Alexandra Braun, Anne Röthel, Passing Wealth on Death: Will-Substitutes in Comparative Perspective, (Hart Publishing, 2016)
Abstract: Wealth can be transferred on death in a number of different ways, most commonly by will. Yet a person can also use a variety of other means to benefit someone on death. Examples include donationes mortis causa, joint tenancies, trusts, life-insurance contracts and nominations in pension and retirement plans. In the US, these modes of transfer are grouped under the category of 'will-substitutes' and are generally treated as testamentary dispositions. Much has been written about the effect of the use of will-substitutes in the US, but little is generally known about developments in other jurisdictions. For the first time, this collection of contributions looks at will-substitutes from a comparative perspective. It examines mechanisms that pass wealth on death across a number of common law, civil law and mixed legal jurisdictions, and explores the rationale behind their use. It analyses them from different viewpoints, including those of owners of businesses, investors, as well as creditors, family members and dependants. The aims of the volume are to show the complexity and dynamics of wealth transfers on death across jurisdictions, to identify patterns between jurisdictions, and to report the attitudes towards the different modes of transfer in light of their utility and the potential frictions they give rise to with policies and principles underpinning current laws.The book was reviewed in:(2018) 134 Law Quarterly Review 156 (Professor John Mee)(2017) 76 Cambridge Law Journal 674 (Professor Robert H Sitkoff)(2017) 6 European Property Law Journal (Professor Tina Huber-Purtschert)(2017) 130 Harvard Law Review 2278

Alexandra Braun, Giudici e Accademia nell’esperienza inglese: Storia di un dialogo, (Il Mulino, 2006)

Massimo Dogliotti, Alexandra Braun, Il trust nel diritto delle persone e della famiglia, (Giuffre Editore Milano, 2003)

Alexandra Braun, Dalla disgrazia al danno, (Giuffre Editore Milano, 2002)

Articles

Alexandra Braun, 'The risk of ‘Misusing’ trusts: Some lessons from the Italian experience', (2016), European Review of Private Law, Vol 24, pp 1119-1139
Abstract: In the course of the past decade, several European legislatures have introduced devices into their legal systems that are functionally similar to trusts, including the Czech Republic, which has inserted a new set of provisions into its new Civil Code. Such developments are sometimes accompanied by fears that trusts might be misused or abused. Some of the concerns commonly raised about trusts are that trustees could misappropriate trust property to the detriment of beneficiaries, or that trusts could be used to shield assets from creditors, spouses or forced heirs of the settlor. Other fears are that trusts can be used for money-laundering purposes or to hide assets from tax authorities, and that third parties dealing with trustees may be unaware of the trust’s existence.This article discusses Italy’s experience with trusts, where they have become a popular instrument used in a variety of contexts, often to make up for shortcomings of domestic laws. Its aim is to provide a brief overview of the nature of the trusts employed in Italy, and their purposes, and to discuss whether and to what extent some of the concerns mentioned above have materialized in legal practice, and how they have been addressed. The Italian experience demonstrates that not all concerns that are generally voiced against trusts necessarily arise in practice. It further shows that where issues have arisen concerning, for instance, creditor protection, the legal system is well equipped to tackle or mediate risks of misusing and abusing trusts.Italian courts have reacted effectively even though there is no national legislation providing Italian courts with special powers.

Alexandra Braun, 'Towards a greater autonomy for testators and heirs: Some reflections on recent reforms in France, Belgium and Italy', (2012), Zeitschrift für Europäisches Privatrecht, pp 461-483

Alexandra Braun, 'Formal and informal testamentary promises: A historical and comparative perspective', (2012), Rabels Zeitschrift fur Auslandisches und Internationales Privatrecht, pp 994-1021

Alexandra Braun, 'Trusts in the draft common frame of reference: The ‘best solution’ for Europe?', (2011), Cambridge Law Journal, Vol 70, pp 327-352

Alexandra Braun, 'Burying the living? The citation of legal writings in English ', (2010), American Journal of Comparative Law, Vol 58, pp 27-52
Abstract: Until recently English judgments were characterized by a dearth of references to academic legal writing. This is often ascribed to the existence of a professional convention preventing judges and counsel from citing living authors. While there is generally no doubt that such a convention did exist, it is not certain whether and to what extent it actually involved and affected legal academics and their role within the English legal system. This Article examines the claims that have been made about the genesis and the nature of the convention and attempts to shed light on the true reasons for its emergence, as well as its impact on the status of legal writing in England and the relationship between judges and legal academics.

Alexandra Braun, 'Professors and judges in Italy: It takes two to tango', (2006), Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Vol 26, pp 665-681
Abstract: The interplay of academics and judges is highly relevant for the law-making process in civil law countries. The intention of this article is to provide a brief account of the present-day relationship between academics and judges in Italy, while also taking account of the continental historical experience. In addressing this theme, the article will take its cue from developments in England—during the past three decades—where the monologue of academics and judges has been slowly developing into an ever more intensive and transparent dialogue. It is from these events that the analysis departs in an attempt to question the current situation in Italy.

Alexandra Braun, 'Caught in the crossfire: Is the Liechtenstein Treuhänderschaft a trust or a Treuhand?', (2004), Trust Law International, Vol 18, pp 26-43

Chapters

Alexandra Braun, 'Exploring the boundaries of succession law ' in AJM Steven, RG Anderson, J MacLeod (ed.) Nothing so Practical as a Good Theory (Avizandum Publishing Ltd 2017) 294-307

Alexandra Braun, 'The state of the art of comparative research in the area of trusts ' in Michele Graziadei, Lionel Smith (ed.) Comparative Property Law (Edward Elgar Publishing 2017) 121-149

Alexandra Braun, 'Testamentary promises between selflessness and self-interest ' in A-S Hulin, R Lecky (ed.) L'abnégation en Droit Civil (Yvon Blais 2017) 21-49

Alexandra Braun, 'Will-substitutes in England and Wales ' in A Braun, A Röthel (ed.) Passing Wealth on Death (Hart Publishing 2016) 51-77

Alexandra Braun, 'Pension death benefits Opportunities and pitfalls' in B Häcker, C Mitchell (ed.) Current Issues in Succession Law (Hart Publishing 2016) 231-149

Alexandra Braun, Anne Röthel, 'Exploring means of transferring wealth on death A comparative perspective' in A Röthel, A Braun (ed.) Passing Wealth on Death (Hart Publishing 2016) 323-367

Alexandra Braun, 'Intestate succession in Italy ' in Kenneth Reid, Marius De Waal, Reinhard Zimmermann (ed.) Comparative Succession Law (Oxford University Press 2015)

Alexandra Braun, 'The framing of a European law of trusts ' in LD Smith (ed.) The Worlds of the Trust (Cambridge University Press 2013) 277-304

Alexandra Braun, 'The English codification debate and the role of jurists in the development of lLegal doctrines ' in M Lobban, J Moses (ed.) The Impact of Ideas on Legal Development (Cambridge University Press 2012) 204–225

Alexandra Braun, 'Testamentary freedom and its restrictions in French and Italian law Trends and shifts' in R Zimmermann (ed.) Testierfreiheit/Freedom of Testation (Mohr Siebeck 2012) 58-84

Alexandra Braun, 'Italy: The trust interno' in D Hayton (ed.) The International Trust (Jordans 2011) 787-817

Alexandra Braun, 'Testamentary formalities in Italy ' in KGC Reid, MJ De Waal, R Zimmermann (ed.) Comparative Succession Law (Oxford University Press 2011) 120-141

Alexandra Braun, 'Judges and academics Features of a partnership' in J Lee (ed.) From House of Lords to Supreme Court. Judges, Jurists and the Process of Judging (Hart Publishing 2011) 227-253

Alexandra Braun, 'Revocability of mutual wills ' in KGC Reid, MJ De Waal, R Zimmermann (ed.) Exploring the Law of Succession (Edinburgh University Press 2007) 208-225

Alexandra Braun, 'El trust en Italia Aplicaciones en el ámbito del derecho de la persona y de la familia' in E Arroyo i Amayuelas (ed.) El trust en los países de Derecho Civil (Bosch 2007) 133-155