INTRODUCING THE TRANSLATION
We were honoured when Remus Valsan invited us to translate into English this important text by Pierre Lepaulle, for inclusion in the present volume. The Crépeau Centre has a tradition of translating foundational texts of the French civilian tradition. The goal is to make these texts available to an English readership, while preserving the civilian character of the original. But working in civil law English, for a common law and civil law audience, is not an easy enterprise; both readerships might feel a little uneasy with certain choices made. Translators, like trustees, exercise judgment on behalf of another; they do not have the luxury of being faced with only one correct course of action.
In translating Lepaulle and his vision of the common law trust as an affected patrimony, we chose simply to appropriate Lepaulle. The exercise involves translation, but is first and foremost a legal enterprise. Common law, civil law, civil law in English, and comparative law are all at play in this text, involving both our vision of the trust today and Lepaulle's understanding of both the common law and the civil law of his time. What is fascinating and essential to underline, however, is how this kind of work has a reflexive impact not only on the notions of trust and patrimony but also on civil law in French, and on private law more generally, including the common law.
An obituary in the Bulletin de la société de législation comparée provides some information about Lepaulle's life. He was born in 1893 and studied philosophy and law before being called into military service in 1913. He applied for a scholarship to study in the US near the end of the war, and learned of his success a year later. He departed in 1919, a week after being released from service. He spent most of his time at Harvard, where he earned the SJD, and returned to France in 1923, where he completed his French doctorate in Paris. He must have made a strong impression at Harvard; decades later, he contributed to collections of essays published in honour of Austin Scott and Roscoe Pound. In Paris, he practised as an advocate over a lengthy career, during which he also taught foreign and comparative law.